Japanese Roasted Eggplant Yakinasu

Experience the rich flavors of Japan with my delightful Japanese Roasted Eggplant Yakinasu recipe! This traditional method involves open-fire roasting Japanese eggplants on the stovetop, followed by an ice bath and gentle peeling of the skin, all topped off with a drizzle of flavorful yakinasu sauce. This recipe captures the essence of authentic Japanese cuisine in a simple and easy-to-follow manner, making it a perfect choice for anyone looking to savor the taste of Japan!

Japanese roasted eggplant yakinasu served on a white plate topped with bonito flakes, green onions, and dashi soy sauce.

Why I Love This Recipe

My Japanese Roasted Eggplant Yakinasu is a celebration of Japanese cuisine at its finest! My recipe features long and narrow authentic Japanese eggplants, known for their unique soft and spongy texture, which offers a sweeter, milder flavor and a tender skin. The handcrafted savory soy glaze sauce adds an umami-rich flavor that beautifully complements the roasted eggplants!

The term ‘yakinasu’ translates to ‘grilled eggplant’ in Japanese, and this dish captures the essence of authentic Japanese cuisine in a simple and easy-to-prepare manner. Just like other classic Japanese dishes enjoyed during colder months, such as my Hot Yudofu, Tonjiru Pork Miso Soup, and Japanese Nikujaga, this recipe promises a taste of Japan that’s both comforting and satisfying. It’s perfect for those who appreciate simplicity and deliciousness in their meals, offering a fantastic way to experience the authentic taste of Japan in your own kitchen!

Key Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Japanese Eggplants – long and narrow, and can be found in Japanese or Asian supermarkets.
  • Bonito Flakes – made from shaved Dried Bonito fish. Commonly used to make broth and responsible for giving Japanese cuisine that signature umami flavor. Can replace with Hondashi.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine. 
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener.
  • Green Onion – chopped green onion scallions and used for garnish.

Japanese roasted eggplant yakinasu served on a white plate topped with bonito flakes, green onions, and dashi soy sauce.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

  • Stove Top Open Fire

Directions

Step 1 Combine bonito flakes or hondashi, soy sauce, Japanese sake, and a sweetener, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Once it’s heated, remove it from the stove, allowing it to steep for a minimum of 5 minutes. If using bonito flakes, strain the glaze sauce.

Yakinasu sauce in a bowl.

🥢 Sauce Pro Tip

To simplify sauce preparation, opt for Hondashi instead of bonito flakes. Using hondashi eliminates the need for straining the sauce.

Step 2 Score the eggplants and grill over an open flame on your stovetop until they acquire a char and the skin appears wrinkly.

Japanese eggplant on a stovetop.

Step 3 Following the grilling, immerse the eggplants in an ice bath and effortlessly peel away their charred skin.

Roasted Japanese eggplant in a ice bath.

Step 4 Finally, slice the tender eggplant halves in half again, and generously drizzle them with the prepared soy glaze. Sprinkle chopped green onions and bonito flakes on top.

Roasted Japanese eggplant served on a plate.

🍛 Garnishing Pro Tip

Enhance your dish by adding a dash of Togarashi or Red Pepper for a subtle hint of spiciness, or consider adding some fresh Ginger for an extra layer of flavorful depth.

Paring Recommendations

Pair your roasted eggplant with the comforting addition of a warm bowl of soup, such as Japanese Mushroom Soup or Japanese Meatball Soup. For a complete and satisfying dining experience, complement your dish with a comforting ‘donburi’ like a Soboro Donburi Ground Chicken Bowl. You can also use any extra eggplants to make a Miso Eggplant Stir Fry.

Japanese roasted eggplant yakinasu served on a white plate topped with bonito flakes, green onions, and dashi soy sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Japanese eggplant and American eggplant?

Japanese eggplant differs from American eggplant in its characteristics. Japanese eggplants have a soft and spongy texture, being long, thin, and offering a sweeter, milder flavor with a softer skin. On the other hand, American eggplants, often referred to as globe eggplants, are larger, rounder, possess a tougher texture, and come with a slightly bitter taste and tougher outer skin.

What other ways is Japanese eggplant used in cooking?

Other ways to enjoy Japanese eggplant are BBQ, boiled in soups, or in stir fry.

Can I use a grill instead of the stovetop for roasting the eggplants?

Yes, you can use a grill for roasting the eggplants. Any form of open fire will work effectively for roasting.

Storage Tips

To keep your leftovers, simply transfer them into an airtight container before placing it in the fridge. With proper storage, they’ll remain delicious for up to 3-5 days. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, a quick reheating in the microwave.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese roasted eggplant yakinasu served on a white plate topped with bonito flakes, green onions, and dashi soy sauce.

Japanese Roasted Eggplant Yakinasu

Indulge in the flavors of Japan with my delectable recipe for Roasted Japanese Eggplant. Discover the art of roasting Japanese eggplants to perfection and drizzling them with a savory soy glaze sauce. A delightful side dish that celebrates the rich flavors of this Asian delicacy.
4.92 from 12 votes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: how to roast Japanese eggplant, Japanese eggplant roasted, Roasted Japanese eggplant, soy glazed eggplant
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 23kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Whole Japanese Eggplants
  • 2 tbsp Bonito Flakes can sub with 1/8 tsp of hondashi
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Japanese Sake can substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 1 tbsp Bonito Flakes topping
  • 1/2 Stalk Green Onions topping

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for Japanese yakinasu.
  • In a stove top pot, add 2 tbsp Bonito Flakes, Soy Sauce, Japanese sake and sweetener. Bring to boil on high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and let it steep for at least 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of steeping, strain Bonito Flakes making sure to push out all excess liquid from Bonito Flakes with a ladle or spoon. Set sauce aside.
    Yakinasu sauce in a bowl.
  • Make 3 vertical scores on the eggplant (top to bottom). This will help you peel the skin off the eggplants later.
    Japanese eggplant.
  • Finely slice green onions and set aside.
  • On a stove-top or BBQ, set heat to medium-low and place eggplants on the grill. Roast each side for about 1.5 - 2 minutes or until the eggplant skin looks wrinkly. Entire eggplant should take 7-8 minutes.
    Japanese eggplant on a stovetop.
  • In the meantime, prepare a bowl with cold water and set aside.
    Ice water.
  • After eggplants are done roasting, dip the entire eggplant in the cold water for a couple of seconds and set aside. Note - the eggplants will be hot, so handle with caution!
    Roasted Japanese eggplant in a ice bath.
  • Make sure eggplants are cool enough to touch and then cut off the top section of the eggplants. Gently peel off the skin using your hands (skin should peel off easily and transfer to a serving plate.
    Roasted Japanese eggplant peeled.
  • Top with a pinch of Bonito Flakes, green onions and drizzle of soy glaze. Enjoy warm!
    Roasted Japanese eggplant served on a plate.

Nutrition

Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1009mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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