It’s Columbus Day in the US and I hope you are enjoying the long holiday weekend with your family and friends. Today I’m sharing a very easy Japanese eggplant dish called Yaki Nasu (it means Grilled Eggplant in Japanese). Part of the reason for sharing this recipe is because I received a lot of requests for eggplant recipes from readers. Grilled Eggplant is a simple and traditional Japanese eggplant recipe we enjoy at home.
If you are familiar with Japanese cuisine, you are probably aware already that we place more emphasis on the natural flavor of the food instead of adding spices or seasonings. Japanese Grilled Eggplant is definitely one of the dishes that we enjoy the full flavor of the ingredient with just a little bit of seasoning. This recipe is very easy, but pay attention to the preparation part as it’s the key to keeping the eggplant juicy.
Japanese Grilled Eggplant (Yaki Nasu)
- 3 Japanese/Chinese eggplant (or 1 Chinese long eggplants)
For the Toppings
- Soak the eggplants in water for 15 minutes.
- Make a thin incision around the top of the eggplant and along with the eggplant lengthwise at 3 locations so that it’s easier to peel off the skin later (think peeling a banana).
- Insert a chopstick or skewer to create a hole, which helps to evaporate moisture while cooking.
- Grill the eggplant on high heat over the wire rack. Do you see the steam coming off from eggplant? Grill until the skin gets completely burnt and the entire eggplant becomes wilted. Remove from the heat.
- Dip your fingers in iced water and start peeling the skin off. You can peel off the skin similar to a banana since there are several incisions already made. You have to peel it off quickly before the purple skin color transfers to the nice green eggplant color inside.
- Cut into small pieces and serve on a plate.
- Sprinkle katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and green onions. I also put some Korean chili thread. Serve with Ponzu and Yuzu Kosho, or soy sauce and grated ginger.
The Broil Method
- Set the oven broiler to high (550 ºF/288 ºC) for 3 minutes before cooking. After step 3 above, place the eggplant on a baking sheet and put in the middle rack of the oven, about 6" (15 cm) away from the heating element. Cook for 10-15 minutes, and then flip to cook the other side for 10 minutes, until the inside is tender and cooked through. Watch the eggplant carefully; if your oven is small/strong, try broiling at medium (500 ºF/260 ºC).
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.