Growing up, I never liked eggplant (nasu). I’m not sure why. I think children aren’t supposed to like eggplant, cabbage, spinach, and all those other delicious vegetables I can’t seem to get enough of now.
Nasu, a small, purple Japanese eggplant, is abundant in the spring and summer. With a delicious and chewy texture, healthy interior, and a variety of ways to cook it, nasu is my go-to summer vegetable. For those of you who also love nasu, here is a fun way to cook Miso Nasu (or eggplant glazed in a miso sauce).
1. Get your ingredients
If you live in Japan, you can get these ingredients at any convenience store or grocery store. If you live outside of Japan, they might be a bit more difficult to find. All you really need is the eggplant, the miso, and the soy sauce. Everything else certainly makes it taste better, but it’s necessary.
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) of sake or gin
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) of mirin
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) of shoyu Japanese soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) of sesame oil (if not available, you can use vegetable oil)
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) of miso (either white or red miso)
- Two eggplants
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) of sugar (optional)
- 1 dried chili (optional), soaked and drained
- 4 ounces of ground beef (or pork)
2. Cut the nasu eggplant into long strips
You’re going to want the eggplant to be about half the width of your thumb. Too thin and it will break apart (which is ok, I guess); too thick and the center won’t absorb the delicious miso.
3. Pour the sesame oil into the frying pan
As I said before, if you don’t have sesame oil, you can use vegetable oil. Turn the frying man in medium.
4. Once the sesame oil is hot, dump the nasu eggplant in
Watch out for oil splashes. Cook the eggplant on medium for about a minute, until it is starting to turn yellow.
5. Add ground pork/beef
If you’re making vegetarian nasu egpplant miso, skip this step. Stir the mixture for five to ten seconds.
6. Add the miso
While I recommended 3 tablespoons, you can put as much (or as little) as you want. I usually put too much miso in, but I love the taste of miso.
Stir the mixture for about a minute, letting the miso coat the meat and eggplant.
7. Add the rest of the ingredients (soy sauce, mirin, sake/gin, sugar, chili)
Stir the mixture.
8. Cook on high for ten minutes
Or until the nasu eggplant starts to burn or turn brown. By now, the nasu eggplant should be less springy and more squishy.
9. Serve over a bed of rice