Nasu Dengaku

Nasu dengaku is a Japanese dish of eggplant coated with a savoury miso paste and roasted until spoon-tender. It’s one of the lowest-effort eggplant dishes: just score an eggplant half, throw on the seasoning and let it gently roast for the better part of an hour.


  • Eggplant
  • White miso paste (red is fine, too, but saltier)
  • Sesame seeds or oil
  • Mirin, shaoxing wine or white wine vinegar
  • Pepper
  • Spring onion tops for garnish


Take eggplant halves (cut lengthwise) and score diamonds a half-inch deep into the flesh. If you’re using enormous eggplants that won’t stay flat, cut a thin slice off the underside for a flat base. Drizzle plenty of oil (olive or neutral is fine) and roast for 20 minutes in a 180C oven. Smear on a paste of white miso, sesame seeds (or 1/2 tsp sesame oil), a little mirin (shaoxing wine, white wine vinegar also work) and roast a further 10-20 minutes or until the paste is nicely browned. Taste the paste and add sugar (1/4tsp per eggplant half) if desired. Garnish with black pepper and spring onion tops. You can slice this up to serve, but best to just use a spoon.

You can make this on a barbecue for a smoky flavour – but you’ll need to cook it entirely skin-side down so as not to burn the paste. Keep the lid closed while cooking, otherwise the flesh side won’t cook properly.

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