Miso eggplant is a smoky sweet with an irresistibly creamy texture Japanese dish.
It’s also called miso-glazed eggplant in English and nasu dengaku in Japanese.
The dish is popular in the country and with those who have tasted it.
Miso eggplant is delicious and complements a vast number of dishes.
Hence if you ever plan to serve nasu dengaku and struggle with side dish ideas, this write-up may help.
Here, we’ll list some popular side dishes to pair with miso eggplant such as teriyaki salmon, gyoza, pan-fried rice broccoli and Japanese egg drop soup.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Miso Eggplant?
Nasu dengaku is flavorful no doubt but it’s not interesting to eat only one dish.
It tastes better when you serve suitable side dishes.
Miso eggplant also contains only a few ingredients so it doesn’t make a complete meal.
It’s also light and won’t fill your belly.
While adding miso eggplant can enhance your menu, it’s impractical to serve only one dish at any function no matter how small.
You need side dishes to complement the main dish and suffice everyone present.
What to Serve with Miso Eggplant? 10 BEST Side Dishes
The following are the best items to serve with miso eggplant.
1 – Japanese Egg Drop Soup (Kakitamajiru)
When you have miso eggplant as the main dish, you must have a soup and Kakitamajiru or Japanese egg drop soup fits the bill nicely.
It’s hearty and delicious and the pair will satisfy your hunger.
Japanese egg drop soup is similar to the Chinese version in using eggs but differs in others.
For example, the soup base for the first one is dashi (Japanese soup stock), while it’s chicken stock for the latter.
The former also uses potato starch for thickening, while the latter uses cornstarch.
However, Kakitamajiru is equally delicious and easy to make.
It’s also popular with everyone so it’s an ideal dish to serve with miso eggplant.
2 – Teriyaki Salmon
When serving the nasu dengaku, you must have a fish dish and teriyaki salmon seems to be the ideal choice.
It’s a delicious dish that perfectly pairs with miso eggplant.
Salmon is naturally flavorful, but it tastes even better when you marinate it in teriyaki sauce and brush some of it on top after you cook the fish.
Be sure to make a large batch because all your guests will want to have a piece or two.
Salmon tastes excellent when fresh.
It offers a moist, flaky texture and tastes like the ocean.
Hence, when purchasing the fish, see that the flesh springs back and doesn’t smell fishy.
3 – Japanese Beef and Potato Stew (Nikujaga)
A lovely stew like nikujaga will also make an excellent pairing with miso eggplant.
It’s a beef and potato stew popular in Japanese cuisine and tastes superb.
The stew is a common home-cooked winter dish but since it started getting popular, restaurants started making it too.
So you’ll find nikujaga in many eateries in Japan and other places.
While beef is the typical meat in nikujaga, pork is also popular in some areas, especially in Eastern Japan.
However, other ingredients in both versions are the same more or less.
So you can use pork if you aren’t into beef that much.
4 – Pan-Fried Rice Broccoli
Rice is also a suitable food to serve with miso eggplant.
It enhances the nasu dengaku’s taste and fills you up too.
Plain rice is the common option, but you can make a more elegant dish.
Pan-fried rice broccoli is a delicious and perfect side dish for miso eggplant.
Making the dish is also easy and you won’t need a lot of ingredients.
You’ll require only vegetable oil for stir-frying, eggs, onion, soy sauce, salt pepper, rice and broccoli florets.
Any rice variety can work for the dish, but it’s best to stick with long-grain rice to get a fluffy texture.
Cold rice is best for the dish so it’ll be a good idea to cook it in advance.
5 – Vegan Ramen
If you want to add a quick dish to enjoy with miso eggplant, ramen makes the cut.
It’s delicious, simple and also a hearty dish.
It’s also popular so you and your guests will love the combo.
But instead of a regular one, make a vegan version with ramen noodles, shiitake mushrooms, veggies, firm tofu, vegetable broth, tamari or soy sauce and seasonings.
The mushrooms and tofu will make up for any meat if you think that’s what the dish lacks.
While they don’t taste the same, both items taste slightly like meat.
6 – Japanese Pork Cutlet (Tonkatsu)
Tonkatsu or Japanese pork cutlet is another item you can serve with miso eggplant.
It makes a lovely pairing with nasu dengaku and is also flavorsome.
It’s the most widely eaten katsu dish though you can also find variations made of ground meat, beef, chicken and ham.
Tonkatsu uses meat from two cuts of pork; the tenderloin or filet and loin.
The meat is breaded in panko and fried in oil.
If you want to compare it to any other dish, tonkatsu is similar to a German schnitzel.
A tonkatsu sauce made of soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, ginger and garlic makes the cutlet even tastier.
7 – Gyoza
It will also be a good idea to serve gyoza with miso eggplant.
Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling with roots in Chinese cuisine and is similar to “jiaozi,” the Chinese dumplings.
Gyoza typically has ground pork, veggies, and seasonings and is usually served with various items.
The dumplings first have to undergo a frying and then steaming process to be cooked through.
If you don’t want more meat on your menu, vegan gyoza tastes exceptional too.
Mushrooms, cabbages, carrots and tofu are some popular items used in vegan gyoza.
Meat and vegan dumplings are flavorful so you can make and serve both.
8 – Grilled Vegetables
Vegetables grilled in yakitori (Japanese grilled chicken skewers) style can also pair with miso eggplant.
The dish is delicious and provides a fresh element.
You can make the dish with multiple veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, shishito peppers, mushrooms and negi (Japanese long onion).
A tasty yakitori sauce will make the dish perfect.
Shiitake, king oyster and maitake varieties will be ideal for the dish.
The dish tastes best when you use fresh mushrooms.
You can find fresh ones at a farmer’s market or specialty grocer.
If you aren’t sure how to choose fresh mushrooms, you can ask the seller and check the labels.
9 – Green Bean Salad (Gomaae)
Salads are popular in Japanese cuisine and you’ll find them served with most dishes.
Green bean salad or gommae are delicious and healthy and pair well with miso eggplant.
The dish is one of the simplest to make and doesn’t take much time.
You’ll also need a few ingredients including beans, salt and a dressing made of toasted white sesame seeds, sugar and soy sauce.
Green beans grow in most places all-year round so they’re readily available.
There are several varieties of green beans and they look and taste similar in some ways.
But Haricots Verts are the best as they’re tender and cook fast.
10 – Katsu Curry (Japanese Curry with Chicken Cutlet)
We’ll finish the list with a curry that tastes terrific and also pair nicely with miso-glazed eggplant.
Katsu is a yummy Japanese curry with chicken cutlets that work with various items with nasu dengaku being one of them.
The curry usually contains curry, carrot, potato, cooked rice, onion and Japanese chicken cutlet.
If you don’t have enough time to make the curry, readymade stuff is also available so you can use that.
For more flavors, you can also use fukujinzuke, a common condiment used in Japanese curry.
It contains multiple veggies and tastes fantastic.
With as many as ten dishes to choose from, serving miso eggplant won’t be a problem anymore.
The side dishes will be useful because they all complement the eggplant dish.
But as always, you must keep two aspects in mind.
First, you should choose different dishes on any specific occasion and second, you mustn’t repeat a particular item in two consecutive events.
Otherwise, it can get tedious even if that dish is excellent in taste and elegant.