Pungent and Smoky Grilled Japanese Eggplant ‘Yakinasu’

Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant ‘Yakinasu’

Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant 'Yakinasu'

Miwa’s Kyoto Kitchen Recipe This recipe is a staple of late summer and early autumn home cooking in Japan. Eggplants are grilled under direct flame, peeled, chilled and served with bonito shavings, grated ginger and soy sauce. The taste is pungent and smoky. This dish is very quick and easy to make.

Don’t let your daughter-in-law eat autumn eggplant!
While in season in summer too, autumn eggplant is said to taste best. This is due to the difference in temperature between day and night which make the eggplant tastier and more pleasing in texture. Autumn eggplant is considered so good that there is even an old saying; don’t let your daughter-in-law eat autumn eggplant! (秋なすは、嫁に食わすな)

This saying has two interpretations. One is that autumn eggplant is too good for the daughter-in-law — she can have porridge or something. Another meaning is more interesting and relevant. According to Japanese folk wisdom, eggplant cools the body and a woman wanting or expecting a baby will want to keep her body warm, not cool. So, eating eggplant keeps you cool!

My version of this dish is to chill the eggplant in the refrigerator or freezer before eating. This obviously makes it even more cooling on the body. Perfect for summer or early autumn!

Japanese Eggplant
Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant 'Yakinasu'

Hitting Eggplants Together
Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant 'Yakinasu'

Score Eggplant
Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant 'Yakinasu'
Scoring the skin of the eggplant makes it easier to peel the skin away after charring.

Grilled Eggplant ‘Yakinasu’ Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6-10 Japanese ‘nasu’ eggplants
  • shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
  • hana katsuo (shaved bonito)
  • ginger

Preparation
Wash eggplants well. Bang the eggplants together gently about 50 times each to facilitate removal of the skin after grilling. Trim the points off the stem ‘cap’ of the eggplants. Score the skin on opposite sides from end to end, lengthwise, as seen in photo above.

Preheat grill at full flame. Reduce heat and add eggplants and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Increase heat if needed to sufficiently char the skin of the eggplant.

Remove and allow to cool enough to handle. Pull charred skin away from flesh, from top to bottom. It should come off cleanly in two sheets.

Chill peeled grilled eggplant in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Scatter shaved fish and grate ginger on top add Japanese soy sauce to taste.

point: You want the eggplant to be cooked thoroughly but not well-done. The charring imparts flavor and fragrance to the dish, so you don’t want them underdone either.

Grilling Eggplant
Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant 'Yakinasu'

Peeling Eggplant
Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant 'Yakinasu'

Autumn Grilled Eggplant Served 秋なすの焼きなす
Home Cooking: Grilled and Chilled Eggplant 'Yakinasu'

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2 Responses to “Pungent and Smoky Grilled Japanese Eggplant ‘Yakinasu’”

  1. MMmmmm this is probably my favourite way of eating eggplant. I looove the sweet flesh and the smokey flavor the charred skin imparts.

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hi Marc, You ARE in the know!

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