All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Nasu no itameni / saute-simmered eggplant in broth

For me, creamy eggplant has a nostalgic flavor that brings back memories of the table at my grandmother's big old farmhouse. This is a lighter version of what my grandmother used to make.


3-4 Japanese or 1-2 Chinese eggplant
100cc dashi
1 tsp sake
2 tsp mirin
1 & 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp oil
Toasted white sesame seeds (optional)


Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Cut skin surface (about 1cm deep) and soak in cold water for 5-10 minutes (optional, see Notes).


In a pot or frying pan, heat oil.
Wipe off water from eggplant (especially after soaking), and saute, beginning with the skin side.
Flip, and saute other side until surface color changes slightly.


Pour dashi, brown sugar, sake, mirin and soy sauce, place a drop cover, and simmer on medium to medium low heat until liquid is almost gone, about 15 minutes.

  • Soaking eggplant in water is said to reduce bitterness and prevent discoloration, which was very true in the old days. Today’s Japanese eggplant is less prone to these tendencies and the process is optional especially when cooking involves with oil (satuteing, deep-frying). If your eggplant tends to discolor after cutting or slicing, this process is recommended.
  • Cutting the skin is to help eggplant absorb flavor.
  • The eggplant skin can be cut lengthwise or in a crisscross pattern.
  • Eggplant absorbs oil like a sponge. For this reason, saute the skin side first. If you saute flesh side first, the oil will disappear in a heartbeat.
  • This dish tastes great hot or cold and is also good the next day.

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