This page may contain affiliate links. So I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post is about Japanese Eggplant, one of the foods in my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project!
What is Japanese Eggplant?
Japanese eggplant is called "nasu" in Japan. This eggplant is quite different from our American eggplant. The nasu is slender, smaller, and not as bitter as our American eggplant.
The skin of this eggplant is thin, and the flavor is sweet. Additionally it also has way fewer seeds than our American version and is a member of the Nightshade family, which also includes potatoes and tomatoes.
This versatile eggplant is great baked, broiled, steamed, stir fried, and grilled!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
I am working my way through the foods that are listed in the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton. This is called my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project. Japanese eggplant is Food #34 in my project. 🙂
Japanese Eggplant From My Garden
This food was pretty easy for me to try. We have had a Japanese eggplant plant in our front garden for several years now. This year, we are having a bumper crop! So I look forward to trying many new ways to enjoy this delicious fruit! Yes, it's actually a fruit. 🙂 The picture you see at the beginning of this post is of one of our more beautiful specimens.
Would you like to try to grow these nasu yourself? Check out Bonnie Plants for more information and to find a retailer or buy online. We've had great success with our plant which keeps producing year after year!
Japanese Eggplant in Japan
We also recently returned from a ONCE IN A LIFETIME TRIP TO JAPAN! The word "incredible" doesn't even begin to describe it. While there, I was able to see these beautiful eggplants sold both in the markets and the grocery stores.
Most importantly, I had great fun actually cooking up a Japanese eggplant while we were in Japan. After slicing the eggplant, I stir fried it in some soy sauce and mirin and enjoyed a simple side dish one evening. 🙂
How Do The Japanese Use Nasu?
The Japanese eggplant, or nasu, is very versatile! Here are some ways that the Japanese serve nasu. For instance:
- Dengaku - the eggplant is cut in half and cooked with miso paste
- Miso itame - eggplant stir fried with miso, sugar, and onions
- Nasu zuke - pickled eggplant
More Info About Nasu and Some Recipes!
Here's a great article from We Love Japanese Food called "What Is Nasu" which I recommend you read for your enjoyment! This article also includes some recipes that include nasu!
You will notice that some of these recipes aren't Japanese! For example, point being that nasu is not relegated to Japanese cuisine only. As mentioned it is very versatile and can be used in such dishes as an eggplant bolognese!
Stir Fried Japanese Eggplant With Miso
So, I decided I would try out some of my eggplant stir fried with miso. I used 3 nasu from our garden, and stir fried them with chilis, garlic, and a paste made from miso and sake. It was quite good! You can get the recipe here.
Roasted Japanese Eggplant
I also tried roasting some of our eggplant in a 375F oven for around 45 minutes until tender. The eggplant was sliced in half lengthwise, and then I drizzled some olive oil before roasting, turning every 15 minutes. To season I added some Yurinchi Sauce and some sliced green onions. This was SOO easy and delicious!
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ⅛ cup sesame oil
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- chili oil a little to your liking
To conclude, I hope you will give nasu a try if you haven't already! It's such a delightful and versatile food you will love it!
Some Other Foods In The 1,000 Foods to Eat Project!
If you'd like to come along on this food journey with me, please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It's an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here. 🙂