Yaki Nasu – Japanese Aubergines (Eggplant) 🇯🇵


What is Yaki Nasu?
– grilled or roasted aubergines (eggplant), marinated in a sweet Japanese sauce.

Recipe Intro

Yaki Nasu (焼きなす), meaning grilled aubergines, is a tasty and light dish that melts in the mouth.
It is refreshing when served cold, making it great for warmer days. Its gentle taste adds elegance to any meal, showcasing the essence of Japanese cuisine: simple, healthy, and perfectly balanced flavours.
There are many variations of this recipe, ranging from how the aubergines are prepared – grilled or roasted – to the sauce used. It can be served with grated ginger and bonito flakes and a simple dipping sauce like soy sauce. Marinating it in a sweet sauce-broth, as in this recipe, represents a more traditional and flavourful approach from Niigata Prefecture. It is delicious!

Essential Ingredients

  • aubergines (eggplants) – It is best to select semi-hard ones that are not overly ripe. This ensures a firmer texture and prevents the dish from becoming too mushy when cooked.
  • ginger – Buy fresh root ginger rather than powdered or paste forms. This ensures the freshest flavour and aroma for your dish.
  • soya sauce – Choose light soya sauce to achieve a more delicate flavour profile in your dish.
  • mirin – Japanese rice wine, it’s essential not to skip this ingredient as it is a key component in adding sweetness and depth to the dish.
  • miso soup – Purchase miso paste and follow the instructions on the packaging to prepare the soup.
  • sugar – prepare the sauce with brown sugar to add a rich and slightly caramelized flavour to your dish
  • bonito flakes – Thin shavings of dried bonito fish, commonly used in Japanese cuisine to add a savoury, umami-rich flavour to dishes
  • spring onion – Use fresh and mainly green parts for colour, flavour and texture

How to make Japanese Aubergines (eggplant)?

Start by prepping your aubergines—give them a few gentle stabs with a knife to help them cook evenly. Then, pop them in the oven at 200°C for roughly 20 minutes until tender.
Note: You can also slice the aubergines in half and roast them with just a light brushing of oil for a simpler preparation.

While the aubergines are roasting, prepare the sauce. First, mix sugar into soy sauce, ensuring it fully dissolves to avoid any granular texture. Then, add the remaining sauce ingredients, excluding the sesame seeds and spring onion. Mix well until thoroughly combined.

Once the aubergines are done, allow them to cool down a little bit, until you can handle them comfortably and peel off the skin. The skin should practically slide off, revealing the soft, roasted insides. Slice them up and arrange them on a plate.

Now, pour the sauce over the sliced aubergine while they are still warm for the best absorption. This allows the warm aubergines to better soak up the flavours of the sauce, enhancing the overall taste experience. Sprinkle sesame seeds and add chopped spring onion.

Yaki nasu - Japanese aubergines (eggplant) marinated in sweet sauce

Serving Japanese Aubergines

  • Traditionally served chilled or at room temperature, allowing the flavours to meld together. It can be enjoyed as a starter, side dish, or a light main course in a Japanese meal.
  • Arrange the grilled or roasted eggplant slices neatly on a serving plate, ensuring they are evenly spaced for an appealing visual presentation.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds generously over the aubergine slices to add a nutty flavour and enhance the dish’s visual appeal. Additionally, finely chopped spring onions can be scattered on top to provide a fresh and vibrant touch.
  • Yaki nasu pairs well with a variety of dishes. Consider serving it alongside steamed rice or with Miso soup and a simple green salad. Great with sushi or fish dishes in general.

Recipe Card

Yaki Nasu – Japanese style aubergines (eggplant)

Roasted aubergines (eggplant), marinated in a sweet Japanese sauce
Servings 2 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
refrigerate 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 2 aubergines - medium size


  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp mirin - rice vine
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp bonito flakes
  • 1 tbsp spring onion
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds



  • In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the spring onion. Mix well.


  • Pierce the aubergines a few times with the tip of a knife. Place them in the oven at 200°C and roast for approximately 20 minutes
  • Allow them to cool, then peel off the skin.
  • Slice them and arrange them on a serving plate.
  • Pour the mixture over the aubergines and refrigerate before serving.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add chopped spring onions and bonito flakes.


The total calorie count for the entire dish, using 2 medium-sized aubergines, is estimated to be around 420 calories. Serving two people, each portion contains approximately 210 calories. However, please note that these calorie counts are approximate and may vary depending on factors such as the specific products used and individual serving sizes.
Author: spicetraveller
Calories: 210kcal
Course: Salad, Side Dish, starter
Cuisine: Japanese
Diet: Low Calorie, Low Fat, Vegetarian

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