Yakinasu: Eggplant without Oil, Cheese & Tomato Sauce

Posted on Oct 14, 2017 in Hiroko's Blog

You may be surprised that, if you are given a chance to taste simply grilled eggplant prepared by the Japanese Yakinasu method, how delicious eggplant is. The texture is amazingly creamy; the flavor is a combination of smokiness, natural sweetness and hint of pleasant bitterness. Now we are in the midst of autumn. It is the very best time for you to discover the true flavor of eggplant!

I have posted three short videos related Yakinasu preparation techniques on Instagram (@hirokoshimbo). Please watch them before reading the below:

  • Making a knife scoring on the skin of the eggplant; doing this makes peeling the skin after cooking the eggplant a piece-of-cake


  • Grill the eggplant over an open gas fire on a wire mesh grill: a small American eggplant (about 8 ounces) takes only 6 to 8 minutes to cook; when the eggplant is fresher the cooking time is shorter. In addition to American eggplant I like to grill the ball-shaped round eggplant that is called Rosa Bianca; this is new discovery made a couple of years ago


  • Peeling the eggplant: you must do this while the eggplant is rather hot for easy peeling; if you have skin sensitive to heat, wear plastic gloves; the tool to use is a bamboo skewer as you can see in the video, the skewer is simply inserted under the skin and moved along the length of the scored eggplant to peel off the skin

After peeling the eggplant, cut it into bite sized pieces. You can enjoy Yakinasu (grilled eggplant) in many ways.

  • With grated ginger, drops of shoyu (soy sauce) and small flakes of katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes)
  • With grated ginger and drops of sesame sauce (sesame paste, dashi, shoyu, mirin)
  • Marinated in flavored dashi overnight (dashi, shoyu, mirin, pinch sea salt) and serve with ikura (cured salmon eggs)
  • Drizzle olive oil and shoyu (a new way!)
  • Drizzle your favorite dressing