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


Yakinasu no akadashi / red miso soup with grilled eggplant

The concentrated taste of grilled eggplant goes great with the strong flavor of red miso soup. Sliced myoga Japanese ginger buds are packed with aroma and flavor, and instantly turn the spotlight on this simple combination.


2 nasu Japanese eggplant or 1 Chinese eggplant
300 cc dashi
1 tbsp aka red miso
1 small knob ginger
2-3 myoga Japanese ginger buds


Grill eggplant.
Remove calyx (fluffy part around head), and poke all over with a skewer (save the skewer for peeling skin later).

Gill over a burner on medium heat for 7-8 minutes until some parts of skin become slightly charred and flesh becomes soft, about 7-8 minutes.
When you can press down eggplant effortlessly with chopsticks, it is ready.


Meanwhile, heat dashi in a small pot.

Take some dashi and loosen miso.

When dashi boils, add miso, and turn off heat.


Grate ginger, and thinly slice myoga diagonally.


When eggplant is ready, place on a plate or cutting board, cool somewhat as necessary (to prevent burning yourself), and peel off skin.

First insert the skewer underneath skin right below the tough part around the head, and tear skin by lifting the skewer.
As you tear, using the skewer for support, peel off skin toward the bottom. 
Remove head ends and cut into 2 or 3 sections.

Place in individual bowls.


Heat miso soup while skinning and cutting eggplant, and pour into bowls.

Garnish with myoga and ginger, and serve immediately.

  • Chinese eggplant has a soft skin just like Japanese eggplant. Those commonly available in the Seattle area have paler purple skin and are 2-3 times larger than average Japanese eggplant.
  • Sometimes soaking grilled eggplant in ice water is recommended before peeling skin, but this should be avoided. Besides cooling eggplant more than necessary for a hot soup, it tends to make eggplant soggy. When you use a skewer, you can avoid touching the hottest, plump part of eggplant at the beginning of the skinning process, and you will still have pretty hot eggplant at the end.
  • In order to enjoy the soup hot, make sure everything (miso soup and garnish) is ready by the time peeled eggplant is placed in each bowl.
  • Eggplant can be torn lengthwise instead of cut crosswise.


Sissi said...

I love the idea so much, I can almost taste this soup! I will try it when colder days come (without moyoga alas :-( ).

neco said...

Hi Sissi,
Yes, please try it and let me know. Bonito flakes make a nice topping too.

Anonymous said...

I made this today and it was excellent. Eggplant and myoga came from my own harvest, sadly, the myoga is probably done for this year and the leaves start turning yellow. I grilled the eggplant in the oven and really enjoyed it (succulent and nice texture), so I'll probably make this again soon and substitute with katsuobushi and/or shiso.
I appreciate the fact that your recipes are mostly for 2 servings - so many sites, blogs, books mostly give directions for much larger amounts which can be tricky or unpractical to convert to smaller servings.
Regards, Philip

neco said...

Hi Philip,
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the dish. As a variation, you can add some tahini (or ground toasted white sesame seeds) to the miso soup. As you know, eggplant works great with oil, and oil content of tahini adds a nice, deep note to the soup.
Two servings are what we usually cook at a time, so that’s what it is, but it is nice to know it provides some advantages for other people.
Enjoy late summer/early fall! Eggplant is supposed to be tastier in fall …