Nasu Nibitashi is braised eggplants cooked in Dashi with Soy Sauce and ginger. It is a very popular side dish but may be hard to find at restaurants outside Japan even though the ingredients for the dish are pretty simple. Nasu Nibitashi can be eaten either at room temperature or cold. It is great chilled during a hot summer.
Japanese eggplants are very dark, almost black, and much skinnier than American eggplants. (Chinese eggplants are also smaller than American eggplants, but they are a lighter color and a little bigger than Japanese eggplants.) The skin is thin and the meat is soft when cooked. The flavor has some bitterness, but you can easily remove the bitter taste by soaking the raw eggplant in water.
Nibitashi is a cooking method of braising vegetables with seasoned broth. Leaving and cooling ingredients in the seasoned broth is the key to absorbing flavor well. As it hardly uses any oil, it is a very healthy way of cooking. You could also use different vegetables to make Nibitashi such as green leafy vegetables (Komatsuna, Napa cabbage). Adding Aburaage to the dish is also good to deepen the flavor.
More local grocery stores carry Asian vegetables today. If you find Japanese eggplants, this is a good dish to start with. Try it. You’ll like it.
- 4 Japanese eggplants
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 Cup Dahsi
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Sake
- 2 Tbsp Mirin
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp ginger root, grated
- chopped green onions
- Cut off the stems of eggplants. Cut in half vertically, then make many shallow cuts on the surface of the skin, scoring it. Then cut the pieces in half horizontally.
- In a medium pot, add oil and heat at medium heat. Cook eggplants on the skin side down for a couple of minutes. Turn over and add Dashi, Soy Sauce, Sake, Mirin, sugar, and 1 1/2 Tbsp grated ginger. Cover and cook for 15- 20 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and let cool (do not remove the eggplant from the sauce while cooling).
- Serve with remaining grated ginger and chopped green onions on top.