First things first, Agebitashi means “deep fried” in Japanese. So this is actually a Yakimashita Nasu (Baked eggplant) but soaked into the traditional Agebitashi eggplant sauce. I wanted to make a healthier alternative to one of my favorite Japanese dishes by changing the process from deep fried to baked. The baking option stops the oil from soaking in, keeps the eggplant intact yet retaining the original taste by using the same sauce. By baking we keep the structure of the eggplant, as braising the eggplant would only make it water logged and overly soft; and grilling or roasting would cause the eggplant to dry out and become tough.
Therefore this healthy alternative, baked Japanese eggplant recipe, takes planning, as it takes an hour or more to bake the eggplant, then an hour to soak the eggplant into a dashi sauce.
This baked eggplant dish is really flavorful and on the salty side, and goes well with a traditional Japanese meal, but I use it as a side for Japanese inspired dishes such as Miso Black Cod or Miso Salmon and the always versatile ramen noodles and rice.
For the marinade
3 cup of water. (720 ml)
1 pack of Dashi. (Follow the directions of each packet though of the proportions. They vary.)
1 1/2 table spoon of sugar
4 tbs Mirin (60 ml)
4 tbs sake (60 ml)
The Main Dish
Chives for garnish.
8 Japanese eggplants, the are the dark purple long thin ones. (Left bottom in photo)
Can be substituted with the light purple Chinese eggplants (on the right), or the thick Italian eggplants (right back). If you use the thick round Italian ones, buy 4 and expect the cook time might be up to two hours.
Of course I post this recipe because it’s fall/autumn in Californian and eggplants are in season!
Baking the Eggplant.
Set over to 375F (175c)
1) Cover a baking dish with Tin Foil.
2) Wash and dry eggplant. DO NOT PRICK or SCORE. Place it in on the pan middle rack.
3) Mix marinade ingredients together and set it aside.
4) Turn the eggplants over every 20 minutes.
5) Cook for 1 hour to 1 hour 20s minutes, until it’s soft in the middle and the outside is crispy like a shell of an egg. (Cook time varies depending on thickness of eggplant)
6) Cut off top and crack the skin of the eggplant exposing the flesh,
7) Cover the eggplant completely with dashi sauce in a bowl or a dish.
8) Soak for an hour. (If you like really salty leave for longer)
9) If you put it on a plate as a side, soak the eggplant on a paper towel so the sauce doesn’t mix with everything. Alternatively just serve in in a separate bowl.
10) Garnish with chopped chives.
Can eat with: Nobu’s Black Cod Recipe