Nasu dengaku

Japanese miso grilled aubergine


Preparation info

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By Signe Johansen

Published 2018

  • About

The humble aubergine is a solo cook’s friend: I love how its texture transforms from spongy to meltingly tender when you apply heat. A dish I often turn to when I crave something vegetarian, nasu dengaku is also a fitting accompaniment to grilled fish, a crisp salad, sticky rice and some Japanese pickles.


  • 1 medium aubergine
  • vegetable or sunflower oil, for frying
  • toasted sesame seeds, to garnish


    Start by slicing the aubergine in half lengthways and carefully make shallow cuts in a criss-cross diamond pattern in the flesh of both halves. Brush the cut sides of the aubergine halves with a little oil.

    Place a skillet or frying pan over a medium heat, add the aubergine halves cut-side down and cook for a few minutes until the cut sides start to brown, then turn them over and cook for a few more minutes skin-side down until completely soft. Liquid will start to come out of the aubergine into the pan – that’s a good sign.

    Preheat the grill to medium.

    Mix together the ingredients for the miso marinade in a bowl and taste it. It should have a delicious savoury flavour – add more miso, brown sugar, vinegar and/or sesame oil as you see fit. Remember, the aubergine is quite bland so you want the marinade to have a really punchy flavour.

    Put the aubergine halves on a grill tray cut-side up. Brush half the marinade over each aubergine, on the cut side, and grill for a few minutes until the miso marinade sizzles and caramelises slightly. Remove from the grill and scatter sesame seeds on top. Eat while warm.