A lot of my friends asked me how I made dengaku nasu in an air fryer after I posted it in my Facebook and Instagram stories. Since I aim to please, I thought I’d roughly write up my experience 🙂
Some of you might be asking – what is dengaku nasu? It’s a traditional Japanese dish made up of broiled eggplant slices brushed with a sweet miso glaze. As it’s broiled, you end up with a charry caramelised top with a sticky sweet and umami glaze, so goood!!!
After eating a few more times, I looked up the recipe online. It looked pretty easy.
Alas, looks are deceptive. I tried numerous times to reproduce it using my oven (the conventional way), yet the results never turned out quite right. Either I couldn’t get the right amount of char or nail the right balance of umami-sweet.
… until I tried it in my air fryer.
The MIGHTY air fryer.
Doesn’t the char and caramelisation look legit?
The flesh was creamy and tender, and the smoky caramelised bits the perfect cherry on top!
I would never say this is restaurant standard, but i’s definitely the best version of dengaku nasu that I’ve ever made!
Best of all, my dengaku nasu has only five ingredients, INCLUDING water and oil!
So who does the air fryer work so well for grilling? I’m no expert, so I can only make an educated guess.
Remember, the air fryer basically functions like an oven on steroids. In my slightly over one month of using it, I find that it reduces by at least half the cooking time in an oven. Sometimes even more.
The best part? You don’t have to preheat an air fryer, something I always find a chore. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
Saves time and hopefully electricity – we’ll know when the electricity bill comes, haha!
Airfried Dengaku Nasu (Miso Eggplant)
- air fryer, small bowl
- 1 brinjal
- 1/2-1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
- Olive oil to brush
- Hot water
- Make the miso paste: Scoop up about 1 tbs of miso, drop it into a small bowl and add 2 tbs of hot water. This is a very rough measurement, as I was eyeballing it. Basically the paste needs to be diluted enough to be smeared on the brinjal yet not too watery that it slips off easily. Grind the bottom of your spoon against the mixture until the miso dissolves in the water. If you’ve worked with miso before, you’ll now that miso is a bit granular and so takes a bit of time to dissolve. This step is crucial for a smooth paste.
- Add in honey or agave nectar, bit by bit. (I started with 1 tsp.) Taste until you achieve the desired sweet-umami balance.
- Slice your brinjal into half, and half again if necessary. Leave the skins on.
- Using a fork, make a few scores on the flesh of the brinjal.
- Brush olive oil on both the top and bottom (skin part) of the brinjal.
- Place your brinjal, FLESH side down in your air fryer basket and cook it at 200 C for 8 minutes.
- Pull out your basket. Using thongs, turn the brinjal pieces so that the skins are now facing down.
- Brush the top (flesh) of your brinjal with the miso paste you prepared earlier.
- Pop the basket back into your air fryer. Continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes or until your brinjal looks suitably charred.
- I need to state upfront that these are just approximate timings because I usually pull out the basket once or twice to check on the brinjal's doneness. It's perfectly ok to pull out the basket. Letting the air out 4-5 seconds won’t have long term consequences on your cooking, as long as you quickly pop the basket back in.
- Feel free to top the brinjal pieces with sesame seeds, sesame oil and scallions. I only had coriander leaves, so that’s what I sprinkled on top.