Stir Fried Japanese Eggplant with Ginger and Miso

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.

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


  • 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


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

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

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 stir fry japanese eggplant

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

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  • rick

    Okay, I just made this. I grew the eggplants, thai basil and cayenne peppers, and I happened to have miso, ginger, and sake in the fridge. I followed your directions pretty closely, and I have to say that I can eat this every day for the rest of my life!!!!

    • Elise Bauer

      Great Rick, I’m so glad you liked it! The recipe is from my friend Nancy Hachisu’s cookbook, Japanese Farm Food. She’s a terrific cookbook writer.

  • Linda

    Actually, red pepper flakes or whole dried red peppers are widely used in Japanese cooking as per Shizuo Tsuji’s “Japanese Cooking; A Simple Art”, the iconic cookbook from a master chef. This recipe is incredible and easy. Goes wonderfully with grilled fish and steamed rice. Thanks SR!


  • Susan

    Hey thanks for this recipe, I’m going to try it! I used eggplant in a Chinese style on my blog ( 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.


  • ash wang

    thank you for sharing this recipe! :) for an authentically japanese taste, I’d suggest doing without the red chili peppers and the shiso/basil/mint, and also stir frying the eggplant slices in a very lightly flavored oil like olive or canola. i followed the recipe closely minus the shiso/basil/mint and i personally found the spiciness of the red chilis and the extra aromatic spices, with the exception of ginger, to be at odds with the “umami” taste of the eggplant, as was the sesame oil ( a bit too pungent for me.)

  • Mimsey

    Made this recipe tonight using white miso. Absolutely delicious. The miso-sake sauce is wonderful, tho I think I will thin it out with a little more sake next time. The Japanese eggplant is so tender & mild. The chili pepper (I used a few shakes of flakes) and the ginger add just the right level of background zing, but it’s not spicy. The miso-sake is faintly sweet. Such a nice balance of flavors. The bonus is that this dish is so quick & easy to make!

  • Leah

    So I made this with regular eggplant and it was yummy. I peeled the eggplant (as suggested:) and cooked it a little longer, so that it had some nice brown bits but was still firm and juicy. I used white miso and regular mint. Will definitely make again, although I think the texture and finer flavor of the Asain eggplant would make this recipe really great.

    Thanks for reporting back and letting us know! ~Elise

  • awineguy

    Try adding some chilis and shelled prawns to this for a great earthy, spicy seafood dish.

  • Judith

    Once you have roasted your Italian eggplant you can use the pulp to make a delicious eggplant souffle. There’s a great recipe in Anna Thomas’ Vegetarian Epicure. It’s flavored with garlic and a little parmesan, but neither one overpowers the delicate eggplant flavor.

    Even avowed eggplant haters have loved this!

  • Teresa F.

    This looks great. I only have red miso right now. I suppose it would still work in the recipe and just give it a more robust flavor?

    I love the creamy texture of Asian eggplants. I just used some in a Turkish vegetable stew. It was so good hot or room temperature. I still have some eggplant and will give this a try.

    Sure, Nancy’s recipe calls for a good quality miso, she doesn’t specify beyond that. I used white miso because I like its taste. I’m sure you could use a red miso too. ~Elise

  • Faith Kramer

    Great recipe with some of my favorite flavors — I think I’ll serve it over rice noodles for a pan-Asian dinner.

  • Al in SoCal

    Hi Elise,

    About miso – is this something that can be subbed with something else? I don’t think I would use miso with anything else. Does it go bad?

    No, this particular recipe requires miso. It will last for many months in the fridge by the way. ~Elise

  • Jamie

    You can steam japanese eggplants for about 8-10 minutes and then dress them (with any type of sesame oil/soy sauce/black vinegar type mixture). There is a great recipe from Jean-Georges Vongerichten in his Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges that uses this technique. It is a great way to avoid the eggplant soaking up oil.

  • Angie

    Looks good! Where do you get your japanese eggplant seeds from? I want to grow some next year.

    I just bought starts from the nursery. ~Elise

  • Leah

    Would this work with regular eggplant?

    Maybe. If you try it, I would recommend peeling the eggplant first as the peels of a globe eggplant are much thicker than those of asian eggplants. ~Elise

  • 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.

    • Ben

      That sounds very good also, would you share your black bean sauce recipe? And how long do you sauté the Japanese eggplant slices?
      Thank you

  • Sues

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

  • 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?