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My Tahini Nasu Dengaku

April 15, 2016

eggplant tahini

One of my favourite dishes when we eat Japanese food is Nasu (eggplant) Dengaku (grilled). It’s a miso glazed eggplant dish popular in Japan in the middle of summer, when eggplants are at the peak of their season. Ironically, in a country that has dozens of varieties of eggplants, this dish is most often made with the common European eggplant. The thick meaty flesh of these bulbous aubergines provides the perfect creamy foil for the intensely flavoursome sauce. Normally deep-fried, I prefer to grill my eggplants in a very hot oven for this dish – I used my dry-fryer which worked perfectly! And here in Queensland, eggplants are fabulous at the moment.

Nasu Dengaku is often served in Izakaya as a tapas-style dish, but we love it so much that we would eat it as a main course with steamed greens and rice.

In this recipe, I experimented by substituting the miso for tahini as basically, I felt like Nasu Dengaku but didn’t have any miso! And sometimes things click and this happy experiment worked a treat. I also reduced the sugar as traditionally the dengaku sauce, like many other Japanese sauces, is very sweet.

Tahini is made from sesame seeds that are soaked in water and then crushed to separate the bran from the kernels. The crushed seeds are soaked in salt water, causing the bran to sink. The floating kernels are skimmed off the surface, toasted, and ground to produce an oily paste. You can also get unhulled tahini, which is made from the whole sesame seed, leaving its nutritional value intact. Hulled tahini is stripped of many of its nutrients and has a milder colour & flavour.

Tahini is one of the best sources of calcium out there and is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron. It’s also high in vitamin E and B vitamins and has 20% complete protein, making it a higher protein source than most nuts.

I was very pleased how it worked in this recipe – adding a little more nutrition that the traditional miso paste –  and giving it a nuttier dimension. You may have more sauce than you need and it keeps well for 2 weeks in the fridge. I also like to serve it on roasted pumpkin or sweet potato too. And I bet that the sauce would work well on grilled pork kebabs too….. now there’s an idea!

2 medium globe eggplants

1 tab olive oil

2 knobs fresh ginger

1 clove garlic

2 stalk spring onions, white part only – save the greens for garnish

30g tahini

30g tamari sauce

20g rice vinegar

1 – 2 teas honey (brown rice syrup if vegan)

10g sesame oil

1 tab toasted sesame seeds to garnish

stevia to taste (optional)

Halve the eggplants and score the cut surface lightly. Brush liberally with oil on all sides and bake in a very hot oven for 10 minutes.

Whilst the eggplant is cooking blend all of the sauce ingredients in your food processor or magic bullet until smooth. It should be a thick creamy sauce – add a dash of water if it is too thick.

Take the eggplant out of the oven and spread the cut surfaces liberally with the sauce and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions and serve with rice.





3 Comments leave one →
  1. crescentmoonramblings permalink
    April 16, 2016 9:30 am

    Sarah, thank you. I love both eggplant and tahini. In fact, I could smother everything with tahini at the moment. I must need the calcium and the magnesium. Fabulous recipie.

    • April 20, 2016 4:45 pm

      Thanks Shannyn, this tastes much better than it looks!! And the sauce is good on broccoli too!

      • crescentmoonramblings permalink
        April 20, 2016 7:26 pm

        Thanks for the tip about the broccoli.

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