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Fried Eggplant Served with Dashi

Fried Eggplant Served with Dashi

Learn how to make a delicious Japanese dish inspired by obanzai and enriched with umami flavor. This recipe teaches you how to prepare Japanese eggplant steeped in soba tsuyu, a richly flavored dashi, and garnished with grated ginger and scallions. The article also provides insights into Japanese cooking techniques and the use of quality ingredients.

Here's another dish Chef Honma taught me at En Japanese Brasserie. This dish relies on a strong umami kick from the soba tsuyu, which is basically a supercharged dashi. It's typically used for soba -- you need a richly-flavored dashi to complement the toothsome buckwheat noodles.

One thing to keep in mind about dashi: While imparts a deep savoriness to ingredients, dashi magnifies rather than masks -- so the natural taste of the eggplant is never overwhelmed. It also subtly infuses the dish with the smokiness from the katsuobushi, another layer of flavor and fragrance. Here's what you need:

Japanese Eggplant Soaked in Soba Tsuyu


  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cut langiri style
  • High smoke point cooking oil
  • Soba tsuyu
  • Grated ginger
  • Scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Prepare the Eggplant: Cut the eggplants langiri style by cutting on an angle, turning the eggplant, and repeating to create chunks with lots of surface area. Soak the cut eggplant in cold water for 20 minutes to remove bitterness.

  2. Fry the Eggplant: Heat cooking oil in a saucepan to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until tiny bubbles form around wooden chopsticks placed in the oil. Fry the eggplant, moving it constantly with chopsticks, for 1 to 2 minutes until softened but not burnt. Remove and immediately rinse in a strainer with boiling water to remove excess oil.

  3. Soak the Eggplant: Place the eggplant in a bowl with soba tsuyu and refrigerate for at least an hour, allowing the eggplant to absorb the flavors.

  4. Serve: Arrange the eggplant in a small bowl, spooning some tsuyu over and around it. Garnish with grated ginger and sliced scallions. Serve cold.