Japanese Country-Style Eggplant (Nasu No Inaka-Ni)

Total Time
30mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins

Stewed eggplant doesn't sound exciting to you? Think that eggplant is only for vegetarians? Or just plain have no idea what to do with eggplant other than eggplant pamesean? Well, this delightful and simple Japanese eggplant dish will change your mind--and your palate-about eggplant. No one I have ever served this to has ever said anything but, "Delicious" or "Amazing" or "How on earth did you make this? I love it!" Asian eggplants are more tender and delicately falvored than the standard variety--but you can use either kind with excellent results. Katsuo-bushi--dried bonito flakes--are a common condiment in Japanese cooking. They come in packages of five packets. Next time you are at an Asian grocers, pick up a package. You can use katsuo-bushi in miso soup, and, together with grater gingerroot and soy sauce, as a lovely topping for cold tofu (this is way yummier than it sounds).

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 8 Japanese eggplants (or one large eggplant)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 14 teaspoon chili pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 packet dried bonito flakes (katsuo-bushi, found in Asian grocery stores)
  • 3 12 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine, or substitute vermouth with added sugar to taste)
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Score Asian eggplants lenthwise every half inch. (If using regular eggplant, cut off ends and then cut remainder into 1" cubes, but do no peel.).
  2. Put all ingredients in a sturdy pot and stir to coat.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so that eggplant cooks thoroughly (until it becomes tender).
  4. Serve hot or cold.
Most Helpful

Excellent recipe with all the right flavors so that it tastes authentic (tested on a real live Japanese person - easy enough to do since I'm living in Japan). I don't love a whole bunch of katsuobushi, but it's true that this cooks so nicely that there is the right hint of flavor without being overpowering. This is also SO easy. I am not sure that I cut the eggplant properly, so I will start paying more attention to how I see it when it's served, but this is an amazing recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Maggie, Cooking September 25, 2013

Loved this! I had it for lunch over udon noodles and it was wonderful.

Kitsune October 15, 2008

This was a very tasty use of japanese eggplant. I substituted 6 1/2 T of Memmi (Japanese soup base consisting of bonito, soy sauce and mirin) for the soy sauce, mirin and bonito, since that was what I had. The family gave their thumbs up. It was served as a side to some skewered ginger-soy chicken strips.

EyeGuy August 22, 2007