This oven-baked Miso Glazed Eggplant is easily the dream dish of any eggplant lover! The eggplant pieces are nicely caramelized on the edges yet so creamy in the middle. A satisfying vegan dish that can be done in 30 minutes.
Eggplant is easily one of those under-appreciated and misapprehend vegetables. Mainly because it can be tricky to cook. However, when it’s done right, this spongy vegetable has the ability to soak up flavors and offers the best silky, sumptuous texture.
To get anyone excited about eggplant, I have a wonderfully simple recipe – Miso Glazed Eggplant (茄子の味噌焼き). You don’t have to worry about oil and potential sogginess. Plus, it has a crispy exterior, super-creamy interior and an impressive flavor. Give it a try!
A Quick Note on Miso Glazed Eggplant
Today’s recipe is an adaption of the classic Nasu no Miso Dengaku (茄子の味噌田楽) where eggplant is grilled and coated with a sweet miso sauce. The eggplant is commonly served together with other grilled items such as tofu, eggplant, daikon, taro root, and konnyaku as part of a dish known as Miso Dengaku (味噌田楽). You can read more about the history and recipe of Miso Dengaku in this post.
While grill and pan fry are common treatments for eggplant in Japan, here we’ll use the oven (and broiler) instead. Baking softens and sweetens the eggplant into the best texture, and it allows you to cook a big batch at once with minimal effort.
How to Make Miso Glazed Eggplant
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Eggplant (I recommend using Japanese, Chinese, or Italian variety. The slender ones cook a lot faster)
- Condiments: Miso, mirin, sake, sugar, and sesame oil
- Garnish: Sesame seeds and green onion
Overview: Quick Steps
- Slice the eggplants in boat-like halves and then give them criss-cross scores so they cook faster and take on more flavor.
- Bake the eggplants until tender.
- Brush the eggplants with miso sauce and broil until they achieve a bubbly and caramelized exterior.
What Miso to Use
A classic Miso Dengaku uses red miso or hatcho miso (see my recipe). In this recipe, however, I used Organic White Miso from Hikari Miso. This versatile miso is mild, flavorful, and smooth, and it goes well with the majority of dishes, including miso soup, and miso cod.
You can find this miso at Japanese/Asian grocery stores and also on Amazon.
What if I have a different kind of miso?
If you already have a tub of miso in your refrigerator, go ahead and use it. Each variety of miso (whether brand or miso type) has a different salt level, so you do have to adjust the miso sauce by adding more mirin or sugar.
White miso is on the sweeter side and tends to be less salty, so if you have red miso (aka miso), you probably need to balance out the flavor by adding more mirin or sugar.
What to Serve with Miso Glazed Eggplant
This Miso Glazed Eggplant can be enjoyed as a tasty appetizer, side or as a main dish. I love serving it with:
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet)
- Yakitori-Style Grilled Vegetables
- Nikujaga (Japanese Beef and Potato Stew)
- Kakitamajiru (Japanese Egg Drop Soup)
Tableware from Musubi Kiln
I’ve partnered with a great ceramic online shop from Japan called Musubi Kiln. You will get 10% off with a coupon code JUSTONECOOKBOOK for your purchase. In this post, I’ve used:
For Sweet Miso Sauce (enough for 4-6 eggplants)
- Gather all the ingredients. Set the oven rack in the center of the oven, which is roughly 7 inches (18 cm) away from the heating element. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC).
To Make Sweet Miso Sauce
- In a small bowl, combine miso and sugar. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add mirin and gradually add sake to your preferred consistency (some miso might be chunkier than others). Mix well and set aside.
To Prepare Eggplant
- Cut off the stem and calyx of the eggplants and cut them in half lengthwise from the stem to the bottom creating boat-like halves. If your eggplants are long, you can cut them in half widthwise.
- With the knife, score the eggplant flesh diagonally, about ⅛ inch (3 mm) deep and ⅛ inch (3 mm) wide, into a criss-cross pattern on the open surface. This criss-cross scoring helps cook the eggplant faster and improve the presentation.
- Soak the eggplant in water for 10 minutes to remove the astringency of the eggplant. Blot the eggplants with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Brush the eggplant flesh with sesame oil. Place the eggplants, cut side down, on the baking sheet.
- Bake the eggplant at 425ºF (220ºC) for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the green onion into thin rounds.
- Roll up shiso leaves and cut them into julienned strips.
- At 15 minutes timer, check if the skin is beginning to shrivel and the flesh is soft and remove the baking sheet from the oven. Now change the oven setting and preheat the broiler. Keep the oven rack in the center of the oven, roughly 7 inches (18 cm) away from the heating element.
- Carefully turn the eggplants over, and brush them with the sweet miso glaze.
- Place the eggplant under the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the glaze begins to bubble, and remove from the broiler. Please note that the cooking time varies based on how far the baking sheet is placed from the heating element.
- Sprinkle the baked eggplants with sesame seeds, green onion, and shiso leaves. Serve immediately.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 30, 2013. The post has been updated with new blog content and images along with a revised recipe in October 2021.