Nasu Dengaku

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When we were little girls growing up in Ealing, our mother used to take us to this neighbourhood Japanese restaurant. The owner was a very smiley and extremely chatty Japanese man who always used to try to engage us (extremely quiet children) in conversation. He was also the one who first taught us how to eat with chopsticks and got us comfortable with different Japanese foods. (As an aside – isn’t it incredible to love a whole cuisine which comes from a country you haven’t been to?) This probably wasn’t an easy task as we were the fussiest children alive but the fact that we eat – and crave – Japanese food today, is a testament to his coaxing (and also, I guess, to the passage of time!).

And so today, not only do we enjoy going out to Japanese restaurants, we try to make it ourselves. It’s not easy – Japanese cuisine involves several ingredients that aren’t usually found in an Indian kitchen. One dish in particular – nasu dengaku, miso-glazed aubergine has wowed us everytime we’ve tried it at Luiz Hara’s supperclubs and Kurobuta. Each time we’ve eaten it, we look at each other and say, “We need to make this.”

Imagine our excitement when we realised that (i) we had all of the ingredients at home and (ii) it was really straightforward. I mean, we were so excited we just had to make it ASAP. And now we’re sharing it with you so you can make it too. Nasu dengaku is barbecued, sweet and crunchy aubergine and honestly you could eat it by itself, as a side dish, as a main meal, in a burger bun…endless choices.

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Makes 4 aubergine halves

Recipe adapted from the wonderful Azelia’s Kitchen. We substituted the sugar for maple syrup and went with her “all-mirin, no sake” option.

So what do you think? Feel free to share your questions and comments below! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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