Miso Dengaku (Tofu, Eggplant, Daikon & Konnyaku) 味噌田楽

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  • Slathered in sweet & savory miso glaze, Miso Dengaku with tofu, eggplant, daikon, or konnyaku has been enjoyed in Japan since 1500’s.

    Miso Dengaku with Tofu, Eggplants, Daikon & Konnyaku on plates.

    Miso, or Japanese soybean paste, is a condiment that’s frequently used in Japan.  If your miso is ignored and pushed to the back of your fridge, it’s time to take it out and try this easy miso recipe!

    Miso is a very versatile ingredient, and you can use it for soup (miso soup), a marinade base for your protein (fish/meat), or hearty dressing!  Today we’ll use miso to make a sauce, and this dish is called Miso Dengaku (味噌田楽).  

    Miso Dengaku with Tofu, Eggplants, Daikon & Konnyaku on plates.

    What is Miso Dengaku?

    Simply put, Miso Dengaku (味噌田楽) is a miso glazed dish, and popular ingredients for this recipe include tofu, eggplant, daikon, and konnyaku.  Most of the ingredients are all vegetarian/vegan, but sometimes white fish is used for miso dengaku, and it’s called Gyoden (魚田) or Fish Dengaku.

    Tofu and eggplant are usually skewered and grilled (over charcoal, in the frying pan, or the oven), but konnyaku and daikon are boiled before a thick coating of sweet miso is slathered on top.

    Miso Dengaku has been around since 1500’s.  The name dengaku comes from dengaku boshi (田楽法師), a stilt dancer who performed for the god of rice field during rice planting.  Since the skewered tofu resembles dengaku boshi, the dish started to be called Miso Dengaku.

    Miso in three different packages on the table.
    Red miso (top), saikyo miso (left) and hatcho miso (right)

    The Miso Glaze – Dengaku Miso

    This miso sauce is called dengaku miso (田楽味噌) and it’s sweet but it’s also savory.  For aromatics, the miso sauce can include sesame seeds, yuzu zest, shiso leaves, or kinome leaves (a Japanese herb from the Japanese Prickly Ash “aka Szechuan Peppercorn” tree.) sprinkle on top of the miso glaze.

    Each region uses slightly different types of miso.  Red miso, especially dark, pungent hatcho miso (from Nagoya region) is most commonly used for Miso Dengaku.  However, white miso, saikyo miso (a type of white miso used in Kyoto) or any type of miso can be used for this dish.

    As miso is very flavorful and more on salty side, we balance out the strong salty flavor with sugar and mirin.  An equal amount of miso and sugar are mixed together, but I think that’s a bit too sweet for those who never had this dish.  Therefore, I reduced the amount of sugar, but still sweeten the sauce with mirin and sake.  If you look at the ingredient list, the amount of sugar might put you off, but give this authentic flavor a try.  Remember miso has very bold and salty taste, so you’ll need to balance it out with sweetness.  Alternatively, you can start with half of sugar/mirin and taste the dengaku miso before you gradually increase the amount of sugar/mirin.

    If you feel the miso flavor is too strong (especially hatcho miso), you can add dashi to dilute a bit (in Japan egg yolk is also used, but I don’t recommend consuming raw egg here).

    Tofu, Eggplants, Daikon and Konnyaku in the bamboo basket.

    4 Ways Enjoy Miso Dengaku 

    Miso Dengaku on white plate.

    1. Tofu Dengaku 豆腐の田楽

    Tofu might often taste bland (especially if you get supermarket-quality tofu), but with Dengaku Miso slathered on top of tofu, this dish is a total game changer for those who get bored eating simple tofu!  Make this dish as a main dish and serve with soba noodles.  It’ll be one of your new favorite Meatless Monday dish!

    Miso Dengaku, Eggplant on the white plate.

    2. Nasu Dengaku ナスの田楽

    Among the four Miso Dengaku dishes I share today, this is my favorite.  Sweet miso glaze caramelized under the oven, the tender eggplant and flavorful miso is a match in heaven!  When eggplants are cooked, they absorb and trap all the delicious flavors!

    Miso Dengaku, Daikon in a small plate.

    3. Daikon Dengaku 大根の田楽

    Piping-hot daikon radish slathered in fragrant and flavorful miso sauce, this Japanese comfort dish is a perfect dish on a cold winter night.  You see daikon radish all year around, but the juicy and sweet daikon is in season during the winter months (November to February).  Grab a daikon from Japanese or Asian grocery store and enjoy this winter vegetable with nice big dollop of sweet and savory miso sauce.

    Miso Dengaku, Konnyaku on a plate.

    4. Konnyaku Dengaku こんにゃくの田楽

    Konnyaku is a low-calorie and high-in-fiber ingredient made from yam powder.  It’s prized for its unique texture which can be described as firm, chewy jelly- (JELL-O-) like texture.  It doesn’t sound appetizing as a savory food?  Well, maybe not until your first bite.

    Combined with a mouth-watering sweet and savory miso glaze, konnyaku brings wonderful texture and flavors to enjoy.

    Miso Dengaku with Tofu, Eggplants, Daikon & Konnyaku on plates.

    I hope you enjoyed this Miso Dengaku recipe!  If you make this recipe, snap a picture and hashtag it #JustOneCookbook.  I love to see your creations on InstagramFacebook, & Twitter!  Thank you so much for reading and trying the recipes!

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    Miso Dengaku with Tofu, Eggplants, Daikon & Konnyaku (豆腐・ナス・大根・こんにゃくの味噌田楽) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Miso Dengaku (Tofu, Eggplan, Daikon & Konnyaku)
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    30 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr 10 mins
     
    Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
    Servings: 4
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    Miso Dengaku Sauce (enough for 1-2 types of ingredients below)
    • 2 Tbsp sake
    • 2 Tbsp mirin
    • 2 Tbsp sugar (use 3 Tbsp instead of 2 Tbsp if you use hatcho miso)
    • 4 Tbsp miso (traditionally the Japanese use red miso but any miso is ok)
    Tofu & Eggplant Dengaku
    Daikon Dengaku
    Konnyaku Dengaku
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Miso Dengaku Ingredients Step by Step
    Miso Dengaku Sauce
    1. Combine 2 Tbsp. sake, 2 Tbsp. mirin, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 4 Tbsp. miso in a saucepan. Mix well to combine and then bring to gentle simmer over the lowest heat. Stir constantly and cook for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the miso doesn’t burn. When the miso has thickened, it’s ready to use.
      Miso Dengaku 1
    2. Use the miso glaze to slather on the foods you prepare below.
    Tofu & Eggplant
    1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
    2. Wrap the tofu with 2 sheets of paper towel and press the tofu between two plates for 30 minutes.
      Miso Dengaku 2
    3. Once the tofu is dehydrated, cut it into small bite size (any shape is ok), and the thickness should be about 3/4 inch (1.5 cm).
    4. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score it in a crisscross pattern. This will help the eggplant absorb more flavors. Immediately soak in water to prevent the eggplants from changing colors, and to remove the bitter taste. Drain and dry with paper towel.
      Miso Dengaku 3
    5. Place the tofu and eggplants (skin side down) on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. With a brush, apply vegetable oil on top and bottom of tofu and eggplants.
      Miso Dengaku 4
    6. Bake at 400F (200C) for 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Transfer the baking sheet to the working surface. Adjust a rack 6-inches from the heat element and preheat broiler for 3 minutes.
    7. Meanwhile carefully spoon some of the miso glaze onto your tofu and eggplants and spread evenly. Broil for 3-4 minutes, or until the top has nice char and caramelization.
    8. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve immediately.
    Daikon Dengaku
    1. Peel the daikon and cut it into ¾ inch (1.5-2 cm) rounds (you can cut into half moon shape if daikon is too big). Make a crisscross incision in the center (just one side – this will be the bottom side when serving), which helps absorb the seasonings. We call this technique “Kakushi Bocho”.
      Miso Dengaku 5
    2. Place daikon in pan and cover with water. Ideally, instead of water, you want to use the rice-soaked water (the first white water that you throw away while washing rice). It’ll help daikon keep the pretty white color. Now bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook on low heat for 20 minutes.
      Miso Dengaku 6
    3. Drain the rice soaked water and put the daikon back in the pot. Cover with water, put kombu, and bring to boil. Right before boiling, remove and discard the kombu. Lower the heat to simmer and cook daikon for another 20 minutes, or until a skewer pierces through smoothly. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving dish. Pour generous amount of Dengaku Miso and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve warm.
      Miso Dengaku 7
    Konnyaku
    1. Cut the konnyaku into bite size pieces and gently score each piece with a crisscross pattern on the top.
      Miso Dengaku 8
    2. Bring water in a medium saucepan to boil and cook konnyaku for 3 minutes.
      Miso Dengaku 9
    3. Drain and allow to cool a little bit before stringing onto bamboo skewers. Slather generous amount of Dengaku Miso on top and serve immediately.
    Recipe Notes

    Prep Time: Time for dehydrating the tofu (30 minutes) is not included in prep time.

     

    Equipment you will need:

    • A brush for applying oil (optional)
    • Skewers

      Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

     

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