Marinated eggplant served on a plate and garnished with herbs and vegetables

Marinated Eggplant “Aemono” Style

This is an amazing and simple recipe using only three ingredients- eggplant, oil and somen tsuyu. In Japanese, this style of preparation is called aemono, which is used to refer to vegetables or fish that is mixed with Japanese-style sauces such as miso or tsuyu.

Marinated Eggplant “Aemono” Style is known as “Nasu Aemono” in Japanese.  I have been making this dish for over 20 years now, and it is simple to make and comes out absolutely perfect every time.  You can eat it warm or cold and the longer you let it marinate the more soft and flavorful it becomes.  You can refrigerate it for up to two weeks and pack it in a airtight container and bring it along to a picnic or barbecue.  The only you regret you may have is not bringing enough because you will run out as soon as people taste it.

I use Japanese eggplant, or Nasu, to make this dish. Japanese eggplants are light purple and the skin is a little thinner than other varieties of eggplant. Any eggplant can be used for this recipe – but it is important to slice each piece to around the same thickness so the eggplant cooks uniformly.

Aemono is a simple style of preparation that translates to dressed dishes.  In this case, the dressing is tsuyu, a sauce made with soy and dashi (kelp or Bonito broth).

In Japan, Nasu is a common ingredient used in many dishes.  Check out my Nasu Dengaku recipe for another delicious method of preparing eggplant.  So Nasu Aemono is simply eggplant marinated in tsuyu.  The eggplant is first sautéed in oil to soften.  Whole cooking the eggplant will soak up the oil which adds to the exquisite texture of this marinated delight.

Marinated Eggplant “Aemono” Style Is a simple and delicious side dish, appetizer, salad or snack that you can throw together in minutes.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

(Originally published in July 2021, Reposted in March 2023)

Marinated Eggplant “Aemono Style”

The eggplant is first sautéed and then steamed, soaking up the liquids and softening up. After the eggplant is cooked it is immediately submerged in the tsuyu where it is left to marinate for at least a half hour. The tsuyu gives the eggplant a wonderful flavor, very unique and instantly recognizable to Japanese food lovers.

45 Minutes N/A 2 Servings
PREP 45 Minutes
YIELD 2 Servings
Marinated eggplant served on a plate and garnished with herbs and vegetables


  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil (50 ml)
  • 1 cup somen sauce (tsuyu) (200 ml)
  • 3/4 cup of water (150 ml)


  • Slice: Peel the eggplant and remove the ends. Slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm) strips.
  • Mix: Mix the tsuyu with 1/4 cup water in a bowl.
  • Fry: Coat a 9 inch skillet with the cooking oil. Add the eggplant and fry over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Do not turn or stir other than to make sure that the eggplant is cooking evenly.

  • Turn: Turn the eggplant over, add 1/2 cup (100 ml) of water, cover and steam for two minutes. Lower heat to medium and continue to steam for three more minutes until eggplant is soft and the water is completely soaked up.

  • Marinate: While still hot, add the eggplant to the marinade. Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

  • Serve: Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold. This goes well on its own as a side dish or as a salad topper. Refrigerate leftovers in the marinade for up to two weeks.
Marinated eggplant arranged on a plate with herbs and flowers
Marinated Eggplant


  • The eggplant will absorb the cooking oil so don’t add too much or your dish will be greasy.  Just use enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • You can use any light cooking oil for this recipe.  Grape seed, Rice bran, and Olive oil all work well.


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