Japanese Eggplant in Miso Sauce

A totally awesome eggplant and zucchini dish that is flavorful and elegant? This is exactly what we expect from Japanese cuisine – sophisticated dishes that are healthy and delicious.


About the recipe

My kids were craving Japanese food one evening and asked me to make something at home. It just so happens that I had returned from a farmer’s market trip and picked up gorgeous purple Japanese eggplant. And I even have a book on Japanese cooking that i bought in the bargain section at Barnes & Noble over a decade ago. Check & check. The recipe we picked were based on what ingredients we had such as eggplant, zucchini, and tofu. The dish turned out so good folks, that the kids wished I had made more!


Substitute ingredients for a no fuss meal

When we started looking in the pantry for the sauces and flavorings we barely had any of the ingredients asked for in the recipe. But we were craving Japanese food! Internet to the rescue!  My daughter Anjali looked up a bunch of substitutes and we improvised.  You know what? No matter. because this eggplant dish still turned out outstanding!  So here I have given you the original ingredient list from cookbook author Lulu Grimes from her book Japanese. I’ve also included my ingredients list with my substitutes and additions. 

Original sauce recipe ingredients list
1 fresh red chili thinly sliced
2 tbsp sake
4 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp shoyu
3 tbsp miso
2 tbsp water

My variation, ingredients list for sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar or honey
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp miso

For a delicious eggplant dish with Japanese miso flavor, this really is an awesome recipe. Serve it along with a bowl of rice or a stir fry noodle dish and you get a fabulous Japanese style meal at home.

Here are a few noodle recipes that will go great with the eggplant dish.

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Japanese Zucchini Eggplant with Miso Sauce
from the cookbook Japanese by Lulu Grimes
with a few modifications


2 Japanese eggplant cut into chunks
2 zucchini cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves minced
2 scallion stalks finely cut
Extra firm tofu (optional)
2 dried red chilies

For sauce:

4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar or honey
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp miso


In a large pan warm 2 tbsp oil. Add the garlic and dried chilies and shallow fry for a few seconds. Next add the eggplant and zucchini and stir fry until the veggies are tender. Turn the stove off.

If using tofu, shallow fry tofu until they are golden and add to the cooked veggies.

Combine the sauce ingredients and warm on the stovetop until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste and adjust if its too sour add more honey, if it needs more acidity add a splash of vinegar.

Pour the sauce over the veggies a little at a time until the veggies are coated in the sauce. You will have extra sauce leftover, save it to use next time. Garnish with scallions and serve warm with rice.


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