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Easy grilled miso eggplant recipe

Miso eggplant is a delicious grilled side dish. The flavors in the sauce are an obvious match made in heaven and the Japanese eggplant makes a perfect canvas to soak them up.

grilled miso eggplant on white platter with herbs

This side is perfect for entertaining, as it is easy to make a big platter in no time. It is a simple dish, but has amazing flavor.

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How to make grilled miso eggplant

Eggplant is a delicious vegetable, but it does need a little bit of prep work. The first step for this recipe is scoring the flesh and salting the eggplant.

cross-hatched japanese eggplant

I’ve cross-hatched the flesh (made diagonal cuts each way to make x’s) which will allow the glaze to soak into the eggplant even more when we are finishing the miso glazed eggplant.  

Salt the eggplant and let it drain on paper towel or a clean dish towel for about an hour. While the eggplant is draining, make the sauce and set aside.

After the eggplant has drained, wipe off the salt. Because miso and soy sauce add saltiness to the eggplant, removing all of the salt is imperative.

Then, pat it dry and grill it. Brush sauce on the eggplant in the final few minutes of grilling.

Do I need to salt eggplant before cooking?

I’ll be honest, most of the time, I do not salt my eggplant. Partly because I’m lazy, and frankly, it isn’t always necessary.

The reason to salt eggplant is to draw out moisture, which it has in spades. Normally, the goal isn’t to dry out our food, but in this case it is helpful. 

miso glazed eggplant

I want the glaze to stick to my eggplant and by stick to, I mean get nice and sticky in a good way. If the eggplant has a lot of water in it, we run the risk of it getting watery and soggy.

Meaning, the glaze will be runny and it won’t cling to the eggplant. In other words, the exact opposite of what we want.

Ginger Miso Eggplant

The first time I had this dish was about fifteen years ago in a tiny, nondescript Japanese restaurant in Brooklyn. It was so good, I was instantly hooked on my first bite.

Japanese eggplant with miso paste

I’ve made it at least a few dozen times since then and I hope you’ll make it too. 

The ingredients and technique are simple, but the flavor is absolutely amazing. If you can’t find the smaller, thinner Japanese eggplant, regular eggplant will do.

Normally, this dish is done in the oven, but I’ve put a summer spin on it by moving it to the grill.

Ginger miso eggplant on platter with sesame seeds

Grilling the eggplant gives it a smokiness that you don’t get in the oven. Which, by the way, works really well with this recipe. 

Eggplant lovers, this is a dish for you. It’s also great to serve up with some rice for a meatless meal.

Miso glazed eggplant is a great side for any day of the week. It’s quick, easy and so very tasty.

Make it a theme night

If I’m making an Asian-inspired side, odds are it is going with other Asian-inspired foods. That, to me, is a theme night. And I love a good theme dinner!

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USED IN THIS RECIPE:

Yield: 8

Grilled Ginger Miso Glazed Eggplant

Grilled Ginger Miso Glazed Eggplant

The flavors are an obvious match made in heaven and the japanese eggplant makes a perfect canvas to soak them up. 

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 8 - 10 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • small handful of cilantro or scallions for garnish

Instructions

  1. Score flesh of eggplant and sprinkle with kosher salt. Lay cut side down on paper towel lined sheet pan. Let them sit for 45 - 60 minutes.
  2. Flip over and using clean paper towels or kitchen towel, wipe off excess salt and excess liquid from eggplant. (If you do not remove the salt, the eggplant may taste too salty!)
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes (if using) and a tablespoon of water, if needed to loosen mixture. Set aside.
  4. Heat grill to medium high (450°F - 475°F). Place eggplant cut side down on grill (do not oil). Cook for 4 - 6 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 4 minutes. (Watch it carefully, as sugar can burn)
  5. Brush miso glaze onto eggplant and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from grill, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Notes

I've made this with brown miso paste when I ran out of white and it was just as tasty!

If your eggplant is still wet after draining, press between layers of paper towel to soak up excess liquid.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1376mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 19gSugar: 23gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂

cheryl

Originally published 5/14/18, most recent update 6/22/20

10 Comments

  1. We don’t have a grill. I couldn’t find Japanese eggplant. I got regular eggplant and sliced it thin. I put it on low broil, top shelf in the oven. First problem since there was no oil, the eggplant stuck to the aluminum foil. On the second tray I sprayed the foil with baking spray. I made the sauce as directed. Once the eggplant was tender, I brushed on the sauce and returned it to the oven. It certainly didn’t look like your picture. Perhaps, I sliced it too thin. The sauce was thick and difficult brush on the eggplant. I thought the sauce was a little tangy/salty. It wasn’t very difficult to prepare but, I was disappointed. Perhaps, I had too many substitutes.

    1. There are quite a few changes from the original recipe. If you have a grill pan, you could try that. Otherwise, I would recommend using parchment paper or spraying the foil with cooking spray or oil so the eggplant doesn’t stick. If the sauce was too thick for you, you can thin it out with a tablespoon of water, which will also dilute the flavor.

  2. I found this recipe to be very salty. Didn’t grill them, roasted them in the oven. So when you do that. You need to cook them a lot longer to get any caramelization. Also, I guess when I think of Asian Eggplant, I think of sweetness. So I had to had honey a few minutes before I took them out and then they were yummy. Rounded in taste. Thank you!

    1. I’m sorry you found it salty, Susan. Did you rinse off all of the salt before cooking? Also, when you roasted it in the oven instead of grilling, admittedly, you cooked it for a longer period of time. What happened by doing that was that you concentrated the flavors – i.e. the salt.
      I’m glad you were able to balance the flavors with honey. If you make it in the oven again, I would suggest cutting the amount of miso paste in half. You may also want to increase the brown sugar if you like it sweeter. Taste the mixture before brushing it on and adjust it to your palate.

  3. The instructions state 8-10 Japanese eggplants halved length wise. It doesn’t say to continue to slice in thin strips. In the photos it looks likes thin strips of eggplant. Nothing is mentioned about removing the skin from the eggplant. I don’t think the sauce will stick to the skin of the eggplant. Please advise.

    1. Hello, Phyllis, the eggplants are NOT sliced into thin strips – they are halved as the recipe states. I didn’t bother to peel them for the recipe, that’s why it isn’t mentioned. The choice is yours whether or not you want to peel the eggplants 🙂
      As long as you wipe away the moisture from salting them, the sauce will stick. The trick is to brush it on at the END of grilling time, as stated in the post. If you do it when you first put it on the grill, it may become watery.

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