Nasu No Dengaku
Grilled eggplant with sweet red and white miso sauce
Traditionally, we make this dish by deep-frying. In my version, you can use the oven—it requires much less oil and much less hassle. Enjoy two kinds of sugar-reduced versions of miso sauce and this sauce can be used in other dengaku dishes, such as tofu and konnyaku.
2 medium egg plants oil for brushing
Red miso sauce (Aka dengaku miso)
- 1 tablespoon haccyo or red miso
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 3 teaspoons unrefined sugar
Shiro (White) dengaku miso
- 60g (2oz) white miso
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
- Preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F). Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- To prepare the eggplants, work quickly to prevent the flesh from discolouring. Cut eggplant in half lengthways.
- On the skin side of the eggplant, cut a 2.5–5mm (1/8in) thick slice off the rounded apex to form a stable base for the eggplant when preparing and cooking.
- Cut a 1cm (1/2in) border around the inside edge of each half. Score the eggplant flesh horizontally and vertically to form a pattern of small but deep squares into the flesh, being careful not to cut the skin. Repeat for each half.
- Brush the flesh of the eggplants liberally with oil and place on an oven tray in the centre of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven.
- Meanwhile, to make the aka (red) dengaku miso sauce, combine the haccyo miso, mirin and sake in a small saucepan, mixing well to remove any lumps before cooking. While stirring continiously, bring slowly to the boil over a low heat.Cook gently for a further 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken, and is smooth and glossy in appearance.
- To make the shiro (white) dengaku miso sauce, place the miso, mirin, sake and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat as per the red miso sauce instructions.
- When the eggplant is cooked, spoon the shiro (white) sauce lengthwise over one half of the patterned squares using the centre incision as a guide. Spoon the aka (red) sauce over the remaining half of the pattern. Repeat for each eggplant portion.
Tip: Grill the eggplants for 5 minutes on a medium heat keeping the top of the eggplant away from the grilling element to prevent the sauce burning.
Try to find white miso with a light yellow colour. If you are not sure which white miso to buy, get saikyo miso. It is a bit sweeter than white miso and will work very well here.
Gluten-free option: Make sure to use rice miso, not barley miso.