Recipes Dinners Side Dishes

Stir Fried Japanese Eggplant With Ginger and Miso

The BEST way to prepare Japanese eggplant! Gently stir-fried with chilies, ginger, and miso.

Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and Miso
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".

Japanese Eggplant for making eggplant stir fry
Skinny and long Japanese eggplant. Elise Bauer

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

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

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, or rice bran 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.

    stir miso and sake together to toss with the stir fry eggplant
    Elise Bauer
  2. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise:

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

    slice japanese eggplant to prepare for stir fry
    Elise Bauer
  3. Heat chilies in oil, add ginger and eggplant slices to stir fry:

    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.

    cook chilies in hot oil to make the base for stir frying japanese eggplant
    Elise Bauer
    stir fry japanese eggplant
    Elise Bauer
  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.

    add miso sake mixture to stir fried japanese eggplant
    Elise Bauer

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

Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and Miso
Elise Bauer