These vegan Miso Sesame Eggplants are packed full of umami with a hint of sweetness and a kick of spice! These are so good and satisfying served over a bowl of steamed rice but also delicious as is or with some salad.
You can also check out the video below to see how these eggplants are prepared!
THE INSPIRATION: NASU DENGAKU
This recipe is inspired by nasu dengaku or Japanese miso glazed eggplant. It’s traditionally cooked over a grill with open fire but for my version I simply pan-fry my eggplants until slightly charred.
WHAT TYPE OF MISO PASTE SHOULD I USE?
For this eggplant recipe, I used white miso paste. I love the umami and the hint of sweetness from miso paste.
What’s the difference between miso paste and korean soybean paste?
- Unlike doenjang, Japanese miso paste uses rice or barley as a base so it’s not as strong as doenjang that’s made purely of soy beans
- There are also other types of miso that are stronger than white miso
- Miso paste is also smoother and white miso has sweet notes compared to doenjang
As for the sesame paste, I use Chinese sesame paste or roasted sesame paste, which is made with roasted white sesame seeds, giving it that nice brown colour and more robust flavour.
What’s the difference between Chinese/Asian Sesame Paste and Tahini?
Asian/Chinese Sesame Paste is different from tahini. Chinese sesame paste is made from roasted sesame seeds so it’s a rich brown in color (like peanut butter color), while tahini is made from raw sesame seeds so it’s a lot paler in color (almost white).
Can I use tahini instead?
I don’t recommend substituting Asian/Chinese sesame paste with tahini in this recipe since tahini will completely overpower the sauce.
PREPARE THE MISO SESAME SAUCE
I simply mixed all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl.
I really love to use sesame paste in sauces because of the distinct flavour it gives. Pair it with miso paste and you have an amazingly tasty and umami sauce.
PREPARE THE EGGPLANTS
I then prepared the the eggplants.
I used American eggplants, which are much thicker than Chinese eggplants, so take longer to cook.
If you’re using Chinese eggplants, you can adjust the cooking time.
I sliced a criss-cross pattern on the eggplant. This will help get all the flavours in from the sauce in later on.
COOKING THE EGGPLANTS
I cooked down the eggplant on a pan for a few minutes to half-cook them since they’re much thicker and meatier than Chinese eggplants.
This will help lessen cooking time in the oven.
I cooked them skin side first.
Basically I cooked them until lightly charred on the outside.
Afterwards, I then placed the eggplants on a lined baking tray and slathered the sauce on each eggplant.
I popped them in the oven (well, oven toaster in my case!) and as the eggplants cook down, the sauce slowly seeps in the cuts on the eggplant flesh.
Here are the finished baked eggplants!
ENJOY YOUR MISO SESAME EGGPLANTS
I enjoyed them served over some steamed short grain rice.
The Miso Sesame Eggplants were so flavourful and had that nice, creamy, and silky texture to them.
You can also of course cook them for a shorter time if you like your eggplant flesh firmer and with a bite, but I prefer them really silky.
Here’s a little close-up!
You’ll find the recipe for these down below. Enjoy!
You might enjoy these other vegan recipes:
- Crispy Eggplant Katsu
- Chili Garlic and Black Bean Eggplant Noodles
- Easy Sweet, Spicy, and Saucy Noodles
- Stir-Fried Tofu and Basil Noodles
- Pan-Fried Tofu Cakes
- Tofu ‘McNuggets’
- Tantanmen (Vegan Ramen)
- Yaki Udon
- Chinese-Style Bolognese
- Ginger and Scallion Noodles
Miso and Sesame Eggplants
- 600 g American eggplant , 2 pieces
Miso Sesame Paste
- 3 tbsp miso paste , I used white miso paste
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Chinese sesame paste see notes
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
- 1/2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce, adjust according to desired spice (optional)
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 to 2 tsp soy sauce adjust according to desired taste
- Halve the eggplants then carefully score the flesh diagonally until you achieve a criss-cross pattern. Make sure not to cut too deep as you might cut through the skin. You can check out my video below to see how I slice them!
- Heat a non-stick pan or skillet over medium high heat. Place the eggplants skin first and leave to cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the skin is brown. Flip the eggplants over and then leave to cook as well until the flesh has turned into a nice toasted brown colour. Flip it back, skin side again, and then lower the heat to medium. Cover the pan and then leave the eggplant to cook in its steam for 3 to 4 minutes.
- While the eggplant is cooking, mix all the paste ingredients together in a small bowl. Feel free to adjust the measurements depending on your design taste.
- Preheat your oven or oven toaster to 425 F/220 C.
- Transfer the half-cooked eggplants on a lined baking tray. Add in the sesame miso sesame on the eggplants. I like to do so by just spreading it with a spoon.
- Bake the eggplants for around 20 minutes and the eggplant is tender enough to your liking! I like my eggplants really silky in terms of texture.It'd be best to keep an eye out on your eggplants in case your oven heats up too quickly and can cause the eggplants to easily burn when they bake. The sauce contains sugar so this can easily cause it to burn. If this is the case, you can lower the heat of your oven to 180C/350F or place the eggplants farther away from the heat source.The sauce can bubble while baking and the sauce will seep through the cuts.
- Top your eggplants with sesame seeds, chopped scallions, and togarashi, if desired. Enjoy with some rice or as is!
- Chinese sesame paste or roasted sesame paste is made with roasted white sesame seeds giving it that nice light-brown colour and has a more robust flavour. Meanwhile, tahini is made with raw white sesame seeds, that have a nuttier flavour. I wouldn’t recommend using tahini for this recipe as it can completely overpower the sauce. See a simple substitute below!
- 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 tbsp plain peanut butter
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Grind the toasted sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle until crushed before mixing in the peanut butter and sesame oil until smooth.