Japanese-Style Broiled Eggplant With Bonito, Scallions, and Ginger Recipe

A white plate with Japanese-style broiled eggplant and shaved bonito flakes.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Scoring the skin of the eggplant before broiling makes it easier to peel when cooked.
  • Using a rack set in a quarter-sheet pan situates the eggplant closer to the broiler element, which chars the skin more quickly without overcooking the flesh.

Sometimes seen as an in-season special at yakitori places, this eggplant dish is almost as good when made using the broiler as it is hot off a grill, since the charred skin will impart a little smokiness even if you aren't using charcoal. That quality in the eggplant is accentuated by the slightly smoky katsuobushi, or flakes of cured, smoked, and dried bonito, and offset by the sliced scallions and spicy grated ginger.

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 2 servings

Rate & Comment

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Japanese eggplants or other slender eggplants (about 10 ounces total); see note

  • 2 scallions, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced

  • Small handful (about 5g) katsuobushi (Japanese dried bonito flakes), preferably the larger, feathery flakes called hanakatsuobushi; see note

  • One 1/2-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated

  • Soy sauce, for serving

Directions

  1. To Prepare the Eggplant: Place oven rack in top position and preheat broiler. With the tip of a sharp knife, score the eggplants around their circumference at both the stem end and the globe end. Score the eggplants along their length 3 times. If you're using an eggplant that is slightly thicker than an inch (see note), score it 4 times along its length.

  2. Place eggplants on a wire rack set in a sheet pan. Broil until eggplant skin darkens and begins to char a bit, about 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Rotate eggplants and cook the other side until skin has darkened and charred a bit all around and the flesh is giving but not mushy when you push on it with your finger, about 3 to 4 minutes longer.

  4. Remove eggplants from oven and set aside until still warm but cool enough to handle (see note).

  5. Peel eggplants, leaving stems attached, and cut each crosswise into 1/2-inch sections. Arrange on serving plates in a way that preserves the eggplants' natural shape, with the stem end at one end of the plate. Top with thinly sliced scallions and katsuobushi and place a small mound of grated ginger alongside. Serve with soy sauce on the side for each diner to pour over the eggplant, to taste.

Notes

Japanese eggplants are typically more slender than other varieties, usually no more than an inch in width. As a result, they're well suited for quick cooking. If you can't find Japanese eggplants, look for other thin varieties of eggplant, such as Chinese eggplant; the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the variety you're using. Just be sure to cook the eggplant until it's giving but not totally collapsing—you want a little structural integrity, so that each chunk is easy to pick up with a pair of chopsticks.

Serving the eggplant hot is preferable, but it can be served at room temperature, too. While it's easier to peel the eggplant when it's hot, you can also peel it while just warm, and save yourself some burnt fingertips.

You can purchase katsuobushi at Japanese specialty stores, at some Asian supermarkets, and online. While it is atypical, I suggest using hanakatsuobushi, the larger, feathery flakes of katsuobushi, although any type will do.

Special Equipment

Quarter-sheet tray, wire rack for quarter-sheet tray

This dish can easily be made on a grill instead of under the broiler.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
64 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 64
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 180mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 5mg 25%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 267mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)