Aubergine with Ponzu, Miso and Sesame Sauce

This is another lovely recipe I have found on Nami’s extraordinary blog (Just One Cookbook) and another one which confirms my fondness of the aubergine. If, like me a couple of years ago, you associate the aubergine with fat-soaked tasteless slices, you should try this simple and healthy dish, which makes me regret the aubergine season is almost over. I think it’s an excellent introduction to the sophisticated and simple way the Japanese cook their vegetables, bringing the best out of their subtle taste.

I hope Nami will not be angry to learn I have slightly changed her recipe, skipping konbucha/kombucha (昆布茶, “seaweed tea”), one of the sauce ingredients I kept on forgetting to buy. According to Nami its presence guaranteed umami taste, so for me miso (fermented soy bean paste), as the quintessence of umami, was the obvious substitute to experiment with. The experiment was so successful that now, having tried both versions I couldn’t say which one I prefer. Both create a perfect, complex flavours’ combination of flavours and both are ideal with the grilled aubergine. The sauce with konbucha is lighter and more delicate, while the one with miso is creamier and has a stronger taste. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t advice any substitute for ponzu (ポン酢), a mixture of soy sauce and yuzu juice. I tried once to combine soy sauce with lemon, then with lime juice, but the results were not satisfactory.)

After much hesitation I have decided to post the miso version in case some of you don’t have konbucha (it’s a bit more difficult to get than miso), but I strongly encourage you to follow Nami’s original recipe and try both of them.

I have accidentally discovered this grilled aubergine is ideal served with Garlic Miso Chicken Breast Skewers, also adapted from Nami’s Garlic Miso Chicken Wings recipe). Nami, I am so grateful for the sophisticated simplicity and delight your Japanese meals bring to my table!

Preparation: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

1 medium eggplant, in 1/2 cm thick slices

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 flat tablespoons chopped chives or green onions

3 tablespoons chopped shiso leaves


2 tablespoons ponzu

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon miso (or 1/4 teaspoon konbucha, click here to see the details on Nami’s blog)

Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with sesame oil and grill them or pan-fry them on both sides. (Or heat some oil in the pan instead of brushing the slices).

In the meantime combine the ingredients of the sauce (I close them in a small container with a lid and shake like a cocktail; it helps to dissolve the cold miso).

Arrange the aubergine on a plate, sprinkle with chives and shiso and pour the sauce.

Serve warm or cold (I prefer it warm).

32 Replies to “Aubergine with Ponzu, Miso and Sesame Sauce”

    1. Thank you, Martyna. I know about eggplant, but since I write courgette, crisps, coriander, flavour with o etc. I thought I’d better stick to one linguistic zone 😉 (I am already lost as a non-native speaker with all the regional differences in English-speaking countries…).

  1. I love eggplant and the recipe looks really simple. Those Japanese ingredients – I really need to acquire. I used to make eggplant with a mixture of oyster sauce and soy sauce – it was awesome.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. Yes, definitely buy a couple of basic ingredients. I am very curious to see your Japanese cuisine adventures. Thanks for the recipe idea. It sounds delicious!

  2. Nami’s site is pretty wonderful, isn’t it. I learn so much from her. I think miso is a perfect stand-in here Sissi and a creamy result always works for me :). I don’t seem to tolerate eggplant well (it gives me and strange tingling sensation in my mouth – a type of oral allergy) but I could easily substitute another vegetable like zucchini or okra. I have to get myself down to the Japanese market!

    1. Thank you, Kelly. I adore creamy especially when there is no cream, but healthy miso instead 😉 It’s such a pity you don’t tolerate aubergine. I was going to suggest courgette (I mean zuccchini). I think it would work great too.

  3. Oh what yumminess! In my parents household we actually never had those large eggplants, the ones I grew up with are long and skinny. I’ve tasted the large aubergine in an Italian restaurant, very fond of them also! Now if I can just get my husband and little girl to open up and eat this wonderful vegi!

    1. Thank you, Jeno! You mean like the aubergine from Nami’s post? i have never seen these here. I am very curious if they have a different taste too… I also know many people who hate aubergine. I don’t know why. It has such a subtle taste…

  4. You have such exotic tastes, Sissi. I learn a lot from reading your stuff. I do love eggplant and the most exotic thus far would be the Ajvar and in a Moussaka, both of which I’m a great fan of. All the Japanese condiments and sauces are very expensive here altho I always have a pack of miso in my fridge all the time… love that taste! I guess I’d probably add this to my list of eggplant exotica when I do make it.

    1. Thank you, Ping. I am just very curious. I am flattered you can learn something from my blog (especially about the Japanese cuisine which makes me feel like an eternal beginner). Your ajvar does look fantastic! I hope I can still find some nice red peppers here.
      Japanese ingredients are sometimes expensive here too, but food in Switzerland is very expensive in general, so their prices aren’t very different from the regular supermarkets.

  5. Sissi, you did a really nice job adapting the recipe with use of miso. Now it’s my turn to try your version! I’m glad you enjoyed this eggplant dish. So easy to make and it’s quite addicting. I’m always impressed by how well you explain each dish, and I do learn a lot by reading your intro every visit. Hey I’m not angry at all, haha. You are silly. I’m thankful and grateful for trying my recipes all the time and giving me feedback. How could I mad at you? It’s a very nice way to learn new way of eating. Thank you very much for mentioning my blog Sissi!

    1. Nami, thank you for these kind words. I am glad you are not mad at me. I thought I wouldn’t tell you I kept on forgetting to buy konbucha and used miso instead (I thought you might like the surprise or… hate it; I am happy you like it!). Are you serious about learning a lot from my posts? I am always afraid my posts are boring…

    1. Hi, Shuhan. I thought the photo and my presentation were not very nice, so thank you for these kind words.

  6. God I love Aubergine – such beautiful presentation too. Still didn’t get around to going to that Japanese shop in Paris but I think I will this weekend as my wife has a friend visiting from Sweden! “Serves two”? Haha, I don’t think so. More like just me thank you very much!

    Just made quince jelly by the way – so far it’s looking delicious… I hope it sets 🙁

    1. Thank you, Charles,. I am so happy you like the presentation (I wasn’t very happy about it, not to mention the photo…). You can go to the Korean shop too (rue St Anne). I think it is cheaper and maybe they carry also Japanese food? I will be frank with you: this portion is only for me, but I thoguht most people aren’t crazy enough for the aubergine, miso and shiso to consider it as one portion. I am happy I am not alone 🙂
      I cross my fingers for you quince jelly! I hope you will post it.

  7. Yummy! I love eggplant recipes! And I love how you use miso so much! I saw Nami’s post, too, and using miso sounds like a much easier to find substitution 🙂 Beautiful presentation!

  8. That looks wonderful. I never mind when people tweak recipes. You have to use what you have on hand. Nami’s and your versions are both wonderful.

    1. Thank you, Greg! I also don’t mind when people modify recipes, but I am very careful with Japanese cuisine modifications.

  9. Oh! how I love aubergine…from roasted to just finely chopped and stir-fried, it is amazing and your recipe sounds stunning…This is what I am doing with miso this weekend…thank you for the idea…have enjoyed miso in soup and now with aubergine…oh! thank you…What can I use instead of ponzu?

    Shilpa x

    1. Thank you so much, Shilpa. I think there is no substitute for ponzu. It’s soy sauce with yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit), but all my attempts with lemon or lime juice were too strong. Maybe put some light soy sauce and grate some lime zest?

  10. When I first saw the photo and the ingredients, it just reminded me of Nami’s blog and recipes and true enough it was adapted from her.

    You did a great job with this dish. Miso, eggplant and sesame seems to go so well and there are so many wonderful Japanese recipes that go with it. Well done!

    1. Thank you! I think I would love to make all the Nami’s dishes. She has a very similar taste to mine: every recipe I test becomes a staple.

  11. A very original and mouthwatering way of preparing eggplants! I really have to try shiso leaves.

    Cheers and happy Friday,


    1. Thank you, Rosa. If you have problems with shiso, I can tell you where to get them all year round 🙂

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