Stir Fried Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and Miso

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Japanese eggplant slices, gently stir fried with red chilies, ginger, and miso.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Eggplant has always been a rather challenging vegetable for me. Usually I get these big whoppers that stare at me for a week before I finally roast them and make baba ganoush. Eggplant isn’t like green beans or broccoli that you can just steam and top with butter. You really need to do something with it.

Fortunately, Japanese eggplant is, in my opinion, a lot easier to work with than globe eggplant. These asian eggplants are long and narrow, are much more delicate on the inside and have more tender skin. They’re lovely.

This recipe for Japanese eggplant stir-fried with ginger in a miso sake sauce comes from my friend Nancy Hachisu’s stunning new cookbook, Japanese Farm Food (great book!), and according to Nancy, is her husband Tadaki’s “soul food”.

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This year I’m growing Japanese eggplant in my garden, and have been using this recipe every time a few more eggplants get long and ripe enough to pick. So good! And so easy to make.

The few ingredients are easy enough to come by, especially if you have access to an Asian market or Whole Foods. Here in Northern California you can find Japanese eggplant, miso, and sake at Safeways and Raley’s.

Nancy uses shiso, a Japanese mint-like herb in this dish, which can sometimes be a challenge to find. I’m growing Thai basil which worked great as a substitute, you can also sub regular fresh mint.

Stir Fried Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and Miso Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Nancy's recipe calls for shiso, a mint-like herb that you often find served with sushi in Japanese restaurants here in the states. I don't have shiso around but am growing Thai basil which was a lovely substitute. You could also use a little sliced fresh mint. If you don't have dried chili peppers, try using a generous pinch of red chili pepper flakes.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp good quality miso (we used white miso)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sake
  • 1 pound (450 g) Japanese eggplants (4 to 5 long, skinny eggplants)
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil, cold-pressed sesame oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, or other high smoke-point oil
  • 2 whole, dried red chili peppers, torn in half
  • 1 Tbsp peeled, slivered fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp finely sliced shiso leaves, Thai basil leaves, or fresh mint leaves

Method

1 Stir the miso and the sake together in a small bowl, set aside.

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2 Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Then slice them on a diagonal, crosswise, in a little less than 1/2-inch thick slices.

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3 Heat the chilies in the oil in a wok or large skillet on medium heat. Once the chilies start to sizzle, and you can smell the aroma of the chilies, add the ginger and eggplant slices, and toss to coat with the oil. Stir gently for several minutes until the eggplant pieces are shiny and soft.

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4 Add the miso-sake mixture to the eggplant pieces and gently stir to coat. Remove from heat. Stir in the chopped shiso, Thai basil, or mint leaves, and serve immediately.

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Recipe adapted from, and used with permission by, Nancy Hachisu, author of Japanese Farm Food.

Links:

Nasu no miso dengaku - slow roasted Japanese eggplant recipe from Maki of Just Hungry

Stuffed miso eggplant from Jaden of Steamy Kitchen

Yaki nasu - grilled Japanese eggplant by Tara of Tea and Cookies

Stir Fried Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and Miso

Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • Susan

    Hey thanks for this recipe, I’m going to try it! I used eggplant in a Chinese style on my blog (http://flavor-scout.com/2013/09/03/kung-pao-eggplant/) but hadn’t thought to do a Japanese inspired dish. I LOVE miso, and love Japanese and my family loves eggplant so I’m definitely doing this one soon.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Caroline

    Made this yesterday with red miso and thai basil. DELICIOUS! And so easy to make! Thank you for another winning recipe. I actually have Nancy Hachisu’s cookbook, but missed the recipe. Your blog is one of my go-to recipe sources. Thank you, Elise.

  • Kathleen

    Tried three of these at the farmers market. Their beautiful jewel like color were irresistible although the shape was daunting which was dumb because they are so much more tender and tasty than their big butt sisters. I only pan fried slices and ate them straight. Now I’m ready to step it up. Why did I wait all my life to stray from the familiar?

  • Sues

    I don’t make eggplant dishes enough and I love the Asian-y kick to this!

  • Tri

    This is great. My mom buys me these eggplants all the time (we’re Vietnamese) and I only know one way to cook them. I sautee them in oil and garlic until soft then make a sauce with black bean sauce, hoisin, soy and siracha. It’s quick and easy. This sounds like a nice alternative to my usual fare.

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Stir Fried Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and MisoStir Fried Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and Miso