Miso eggplant brownies

Miso eggplant brownies

Sticky Fingers Green Thumb
Tara Pearce, Tim Hillier

I love nasu dengaku – the Japanese side-dish of tender eggplants glazed in miso, mirin and sake. The more I eat it, the more I want those flavours in a brownie. So here it is. The miso brings a beautiful umami to the brownie’s chewy outer while the eggplants add to the silken fudge centre. It’s quite possibly the best brownie you’ll eat.


Quantity Ingredient
6 long, thin eggplants
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
65g white miso paste
4 teaspoons mirin
95g soft brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
150g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
4 eggs
200g good-quality dark chocolate (approx. 60% cocoa solids), broken into chunks
230g caster (superfine) sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 30 × 20 cm brownie tin with baking paper.
  2. Halve the eggplants lengthways and score the flesh with a sharp knife in a deep criss-cross pattern. Soak the eggplant halves in cold salted water for 15 minutes to remove any bitterness, then drain and pat dry. Generously brush the cut sides with the oil and place, skin side down, on a baking tray. Bake for 40 minutes, or until browned.
  3. Stir 4 teaspoons of the miso together with the honey and mirin to form a paste. Spread the paste in an even layer over the cut sides of the eggplant halves and top with a sprinkle of soft brown sugar, then return to the oven for 5–10 minutes, or until caramelised at the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before scooping out and reserving the flesh, discarding any seeds.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.
  5. Whisk the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs together with the remainder of the miso until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Gently melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then stir in the sugars. Gradually stir in the egg and miso mixture, then fold in the dry ingredients to form a batter. Swirl in 90 g of the eggplant flesh, then pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes (this will give you a nice, gooey centre). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before cutting into pieces.

Bitter goodbyes

  • Pick eggplants while they’re young and shiny for the best taste – the bigger eggplants are less enjoyable because they’re spongier, more bitter and have chunkier seed sections. Pay attention to the skin too; the thicker the skin, the less tender the flesh.
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