Learn how to make a plant based version of one of Japans most loved dishes, Unadon (grilled 'eel' rice bowl) with eggplants! Seasoned and caramelized with homemade unagi sauce, this vegan eggplant unagi don (eggplant kabayaki) tastes and looks just like to the real deal!
Unagi Don / Unadon (Grilled Eel Rice Bowl) was a dish I looked forward to eating every year when visiting Japan. I think I'd go as far as to say it was one of my favourite Japanese food. I always get a little weary when I make a grand statement like that because I might have said that about another recipe I've previously shared but hey, enthusiasm right?! It was still definitely was a top favourite! 😂
What is Unadon?
For those unfamiliar, unadon (short for unagi (eel) donburi (rice bowl)) is a classic Japanese dish consisting of grilled eel fillets, glazed with a sweet tare (soy-based sauce) over a bed of steamed rice. In Japan, it is also known as Unagi no Kabayaki (蒲焼), which refers to a style of preparation: split, butterflied, glazed with a sweet soy tare sauce and then grilled over charcoal to caramelized perfection.
As eels are more endangered than ever before, they've gotten extremely expensive and are becoming more difficult to purchase regularly. So over the years, fish cakes, tofu and eggplant kabayaki has become increasingly popular due to the shortages of eels and to protect them from extinction. The tofu and eggplant version is also popular in Shojin ryori (Japanese buddhist cuisine) served as vegan unagi don. Today, I'll be sharing the eggplant variation since we are heading into the summer season and the preparation is by far the easiest. Eggplants already have that elongated look with a similar soft, fluffy and moist texture on the inside which is very similar to eel. Glazed with unagi sauce and then torched or grilled, the result is shockingly close to the real thing!
Homemade Unagi Sauce
The sweet soy-based tare sauce is made up of just 4 ingredients: sake, mirin, sugar and soy sauce. The golden ratio for kabayaki is 1:1:1:1, however feel free to adjust the ratios to your liking. If you prefer the sauce to be less sweet, scale back the sugar. I also added a little bit of kombu dashi powder for an extra boost of flavour.
How to Make Vegan Eggplant Unagi
Just like how the eel is split and butterlied, the same tehqniue is used for the eggplant. Here's the run down:
- Cook the eggplant: Peel the skin with a peeler and then place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, flip and microwave for another minute. If you do not have a bowl or plate large enough to fit the eggplant, wrap it with cling wrap first. Alternatively, you can poke holes and then roast the eggplant at 350 F for 15 minutes and then peel away the outer skin.
- Split the eggplant: Gently run a knife down the middle without cutting all the way through and split it open. Then further split it like a butterfly. To make it look more eel-like, gently run a dull knife horizontally (refer to video or photos). Dust some potato starch on both sides– this helps crisp up the outside just a bit so it's not just mushy
- Grill: Over medium to medium high heat, add enough oil to lightly coat the entire pan and then grill each side until you get desired amount of charring (about 2 minutes per side).
- Sauce: Scoot the eggplant to the side of the pan and then add in sake, dashi powder, mirin and sugar. Once the sugar looks mostly dissolved, add the soy sauce. It's important to add the soy sauce at the very end to maintain it's flavour and to prevent burning. Swirl the pan around to coat the bottom of the eggplant. Once the sauce looks thickened up, carefully flip the eggplant and cook on the other side for about 30-45 seconds– enough for the sauce to glaze the entire eggplant.
- Torch/grill: Torch the eggplant to achieve that delicious charred flavour similar to what you would get with a charcoal grill.
- Assemble: Add rice to a bowl and then rip some nori on top. Lay the kabayaki eggplant on top and then brush leftover sauce on top. If you like more flavour to the rice, feel free to drizzle the remaining sauce over the rice before the nori. The nori will stick onto the backside of the eggplant, giving it an additional textural element and sea-scented flavour.
How to Serve Eggplant Unagi
When serving it in a round rice bowl, the dish is referred to as Unadon (鰻丼). When served in a square or rectangular bento-like box, the dish is called Unaju (鰻重) because the boxes are called jubako (重箱). However, you don't need a fancy donburi or jubako to enjoy unadon. While it does add to that fancy Japanese-style-like experience, this dish is just as delicious in any serving bowl.
Recipe Notes & Tips
- Japanese eggplants are the best for this recipe because they're softer, milder and have much less seeds. However, they can be difficult to find in North America so the next best option are Chinese eggplants (which is what I used).
- If you don't mind the skin of the eggplant, no need to peel!
- When making the sauce, please add the ingredients in the order listed. Sake, mirin, dashi granules and sugar is always added first. Soy sauce is added at the very end to maintain its flavour and because its easily burnt.
- You can make this one day ahead of time or pack it for lunch. It's great for bentos and can be served at room temperature.
More Vegan Seafood Recipes to Try
- Vegan Poke Bowl with Crispy Tofu
- Vegan Kaki Fry (Japanese Fried Oysters)
- Vegan Teriyaki Salmon – coming soon!
- Vegetarian Oyster Sauce – coming soon!
- Spicy Vegan Stir Fried Chili Shrimp (Ebi Chili) – coming soon!
- Spicy Korean Stir Fried Squid – coming soon!
- Vegan Dashi – coming soon!
If you recreate this Vegan Unagi Don recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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Vegan Unagi Don (Eggplant Unagi Kabayaki) うなぎ丼
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
Learn how to make a plant based version of one of Japans most loved dishes, Unadon (grilled 'eel' rice bowl) with eggplants! Seasoned and caramelized with homemade unagi sauce, this vegan unagi don (eggplant unagi kabayaki) tastes and looks just like to the real deal!
Eggplant Unagi 'Eel'
- 3 Japanese eggplants OR 2 Chinese eggplant
- potato starch, for dusting
Kabayaki Sauce (1:1:1:1 ratio)
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) sake
- 3 tbsp 45 mL) mirin
- ½ tsp (2.5 g) kombu dashi powder, optional
- 3 tbsp (36 g) cane sugar
- 3 tbsp 45 mL) Japanese soy sauce
- nori (seaweed)
- 2 cups (450 g) cooked Japanese short grain rice
- sesame seeds, optional
- PREPARE EGGPLANT: Cut off the top of the eggplant. Keep the skin on or peel and remove the outer skin. If keeping the skin on, be sure to poke holes into it so it does not explode when cooking.
- TO STEAM: Place eggplants into a steamer and let it steam for 4-5 minutes (rotate it at 2.5 minutes).
- TO MICROWAVE: Place in a microwave safe dish with a lid and microwave at 600 W for 1 ½ minutes. Turn the eggplant to the other side and microwave for another 1.5 minutes. If you do not have a microwave safe dish with a lid large enough to fold the eggplant, wrap the eggplant with cling wrap and microwave with the same amount of time on a plate.
- TO ROAST: Bake eggplants at 350 F for 30 minutes, rotating half way.
- 'BUTTERFLY': Slice the eggplant vertically down the middle without slicing all the way through. Open the eggplant with your fingers and to open it up. Gently slice horizontally to make eel-like marks on both sides, ensuring not to cut too deep (this step is optional but makes it look more like eel).
- SAUCE OPTION: If you prefer a one-pan method, skip this step. Add sake, mirin, kombu dashi powder and cane sugar to a sauce pan over medium heat and whisk together. Once it comes to a boil, add soy sauce and then reduce heat to low. Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened up. Making the sauce on the side can help with over-cooking the eggplant.
- PAN FRY EGGPLANT: Lightly dust with potato starch. Over medium heat, add 2 tablespoon of cooking oil and place the eggplant flat on the frying pan. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until you get some nice charring.
- ONE PAN METHOD (skip if sauce is made on the side): Add sake, mirin and dashi stock powder. Swirl the the pan and then add the sugar and soy sauce. Soy sauce is always added at the end to prevent loss of flavour and burning. Swirl the pan once more and let it cook and simmer for 30-45 seconds. Flip the eggplant and swirl the pan once more and cook until sauce is mostly absorbed and reduced. Turn off the heat and then spoon the sauce over the eggplant.
- PREPARED SAUCE METHOD: Brush the unagi sauce on one side and then flip and coat the other side. Repeat until you get enough glaze on the eggplant (I do it about 2-3 times).
- TORCH OR BROIL: Torch the eggplant. If you do not have a torch, broil for 2-3 minutes or until 'smoky'. Sprinkle with Japanese pepper and sesame seeds if desired.
- ASSEMBLE: Layer nori on the bottom and then one layer of unagi. Then add a portion (about 1 ½ cups cooked) of rice to a donburi or bowl. Drizzle remaining sauce over the rice and then add a generous layer of seaweed. Place the eggplant directly over the seaweed (the seaweed will stick to the eggplant giving it flavour and almost a 'skin' like look and texture). Serve and enjoy!
- Sake/mirin substitute: Replace sake with water and mirin with alcohol free mirin.
- Helpful Equipment: blow torch, turner, non-stick frying pan, donburi bento box
- Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer).
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: entree
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, japanese
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 576
- Sugar: 25g
- Sodium: 897mg
- Fat: 14.6g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 11.8g
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 96.4g
- Fiber: 6.9g
- Protein: 9.4g
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: unagi don, japanese eel, vegan unagi don, eggplant kabayaki, eggplant unagi
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
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I saw this recipe posted and knew I had to try it!
It was so simple and I was able to make it in less than 10 minutes. I personally don't like unagi but love the sauce so this recipe was a perfect recreation of all the flavor of the dish but without the actual eel.
I didn't have a torch on hand but felt like it was still an amazing dish without it.
Definitely give it a try!
This is the best recipe for eggplant I have ever seen!😍😍😍😍😍
Love it and already - tasted.
I was wondering if you could sub potato starch for cornstarch ? Can’t wait to try this recipe out!!!
Lisa Kitahara says
I think for this recipe, rice flour or regular flour will work better as a binder 🙂 I hope you enjoy!
I’ve been vegetarian for 5 years and vegan for 2 months now and I have been craving this dish for years. So glad I tried it , so easy and so quick to make. I used corn starch as a starch substitute and white wine instead of sake and it turn out great. I’ve already made it 2 days in a row ! New go to meal. Thanks for the great recipe!
Made this on a cast iron and the charring came out perfect! I even got my husband, who is not the biggest fan of eggplant (but he loves eel). He really liked this one too. I'll def be making this again, this was such a fast and easy weeknight dinner!
I had some eggplant in the fridge that needed to be used up, and came across this recipe. It’s so good! A new (to me) way to use eggplant that isn’t just roasting it. It was my first time cooking eggplant in the microwave—why haven’t I done it before!? So easy and quick! Used a cast iron skillet after, for the grilling, and it turned out so well. Paired the rice dish with some ramps kimchi. Yum.
This was an amazing recipe! It really tastes what i remember eel taste like, I guess only thing is the texture is better!!
I didn't use a cast iron but will next time to get more char. And I used less sugar which turned out great. I used a regular eggplant, not a japanese one but this was amazing!
The minute I saw this recipe I quickly added eggplant to the shopping list! Super easy and quick to prepare! Cooking the eggplant in the microwave helped soften the eggplant and evaporated some of liquid which helped the eggplant char and brown nicely in the pan. The browning also helped create a thin crust around the edges which was super flavourful. Overall, this recipe is a must try! Definitely will be making this again! 😃👍🏻
Was so easy and delicious over rice. Like all her recipes I would recommend 10/10 for taste and simplicity.
Melissa Vidal says
I’ve just made and you guys should definitely try this gourgeous recipe! I’m in totally in love 🍆💜 the texture and flavor are just magical!!
I’ve tried this recipe for the first time yesterday. After a big shopping spree at my favorite asian supermarket I got to work immediately. I have to admit I’ve never used eggplant before so this was my first time. It is a super easy recipe and I was done quite fast. I also made the spinach salad and the fried lotus roots recipe to incorporate into my dinner. The result was amazing! The eggplant was similair to fish and the lotus roots were super crunchy and tasty. You should definitely try it!! 💜🍆
It's so simple yet super delicious
Rachel P. says
I haven't had unagi since going vegan six years ago, so I was VERY excited to see this simple recipe and video tutorial on Instagram. I tried it last night, and it is SO easy and delicious. I can't believe how simple eel sauce is. I look forward to trying it again when I can find smaller Japanese or Chinese eggplant. I had to use a regular eggplant, and the texture wasn't my favorite. But the flavor and look of this dish are SPOT ON. Thank you!
I wanted to try this recipe as soon as I saw it. Having family in Japan I used to go to visit them quite often. One of my favorite things of course while being there was to enjoy the food. I love fish but I never really enjoyed eating unagi (my brother would always end up happily eating my serving of unagi don) so seeing this alternative, I HAD to try it. It was perfect, you still get the deliciousness from the sauce while enjoying the eggplant. Put it to the test with my Japanese mum and she loved it as well. Super simple, 100% recommend.
It’s such a quick, simple and delicious dish! And the sauce is AMAZING 😍
Love This! Because of my Lack of Microwave I had to Steam it, still turned out great <3
Cecilia López says
I have never try eel but was surprised at how "fishy" this tasted... It really has a "sea" taste in the eggplant and I loved it. It was easy to make and actually really quickly, the sauce is so rich, everything was on point. Thank you!
Ben John Osborn says
This was the first recipe I made from Lisa. OMG.
Took me back to the side streets of Tokyo ❤❤❤
Simply amazing. I am making so much food by her now... everything is so well thought out.
Lisa is gift 🙏
Gabs Gibbs says
This is one of the best, and easiest dishes to make! One of the tastiest too. Filling and delicious. Will definitely make this again! So good!
Have been dying to make this recipe since I first saw it and it did not disappoint! I’m an omnivore and could easily turn vegan if every dish was as easy and delicious to make as this!
I love unagi & eggplants. So this recipe is perfect!! Easy to make. Even my son who does not like eggplants liked that😊
Must try this recipe!!!!
C.K. Takehara says
As easy as advertised! The recipe was definitely fluid enough for what I had available in my kitchen and the results were undeniably tasty. Appreciated the kabayaki sauce tip about adding the shoyu last, will remember that for future cooking adventures. Thank you for another recipe in the repertoire! 🙏🏽
This recipe was so easy to make and it’s REALLY tasty !
I never thought that eggs plants could turn into such an amazing dish like this and I’ll definitely make again not only to my self but friends and family as well😊
I changed the recipe since I do not have mirin and sake on my shelf. So I used Shaoxing wine, agava juice, Stirfrysauce and a splash of rice vinegar instead and still turned on so great!!
This is now my fave way to get my Eggplant/unagi fix.
Thank you very much 😊
Super delicious - just the right balance of salty and sweet with a pleasant smokiness from the charred bits. Takes no time at all to make and it looks so much like actual unagi. Will definitely be remaking this!
This recipe is honestly a godsend and something that will be in my regular rotation, one of the best and surprisingly simple vegan recipes I’ve tried!
Easy and yummy!
I subbed a couple ingredients since I didn't have them on hand for my first try but I will definitely be making this again so I will look for the Mirin and Dashi at my local Asian markets. The substitution I made was, for Mirin I used rice vinegar and for Dashi I used 'chicken' flavoured bouillon. Came out great! Even my non vegan friend asked for the recipe!
I am not a very good cook and was so nervous to make this but it looked so good I had to try it.
And it was AMAZING! OH MY GOD! It’s my new favorite dish! The only disappointment was that I only made one eggplant and ate it all! Please make this dish and be prepared to want to make it all the time because it’s sooooooo darn good !!!! And from a non cook-its also not even difficult to make but makes you feel like you jus made a masterpiece of a meal!
this recipe was super easy to make and so so good!! 100% looking forward to making more from okonomi kitchen 🙂
Unagi is one of my fav seafood dishes ever and this recipe is so good I could barely tell the difference!!! The flavor is spot on and super beginner friendly as well! Def going to be stocking up on eggplants to make more because this is going in my regular meal prep rotation!
I must say this deserve a 11/10!!! Not only it is easy to follow but it’s also SO DAMN GOOD! I topped them with some wasabi Furikake with rice and served then to my non vegan family as well they loved it so so much!
Amelia Huang says
so super good and simple!!! i love eggplant in any way and this just hits all the right spots for a yummy bowl. we made extra sauce for the rice too, so good, definitely a worthy weeknight meal 🙂
I made this tonight to break my fast after seeing her Tiktok and oh my god. It was so easy AND delicious! You guys have to try it, Lisa is a genius!
Lucy hong says
Excellent recipe. So easy to make! Made it for lunch and my picky eater kids finished the entire bowl! This is a must try! We are not vegans or vegetarians but looking for ways in incorporate more conscious foods and this was an easy way to do so.
I cook mostly plant-based dishes at home and when I saw her tiktok on this recipe during Ramadhan, I just had to try it and oh. my. god. Lisa is a genius!!! Please try it you guys!
This was amazing did not expect it 🤤🤤
Love this recipe! It was legit so easy to make and so good. Sauce and texture reminded me so much of unagi…. I need to say that torching MADE the dish! The crispy, slightly burnt and smoky smell was crazy accurate to unagi. Please go make this and make your tummy happy!
Ava Stuller says
LOVE this dish!!! I saw your video on Monday, and have made it twice this week since then. This recipe is so quick and easy, and everything but the eggplant I already had in my pantry!
Tiff Loves Tofu says
Quite possibly the best eggplant recipe ever! 😭 Everything about this was perfection. It even fooled my boyfriend (not vegan) and we just loved it. Will be making this more in the future.
This dish is THE TRUTH. I absolutely love eggplant, especially the Japanese variety, so I went in with high hopes for this recipe and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint! I just recently found Lisa’s Instagram and have spent the past week using her page as a reference for Asian grocery shopping and practicing Japanese flavor profile-building techniques. I’ve already made four of her dishes, but this one has been my favorite thus far!
This was so dang tasty!! I used the broiler for a couple minutes since I'm not hardcore enough to own a blowtorch (...yet) and it was perfect! I followed the same method with zucchini too, just cause I had lots in my fridge that I needed to use- also yielded delicious results! Will definitely be making again, thank you Lisa!
Christina Pinto says
I made this recipe twice this week — it's so yummy!! I used cornstarch instead of potato starch because that's what I had. It worked totally fine! Also I put it under the broiler until it got a little extra char, since I don't own a blow torch. It worked great! Such a great quick meal with tons of flavour!
Ok so im not vegan but like trying alternatives per curiosity and this is the closest thing to texture and taste tobwing close to eel and its bow def one of my top dishes! I did substitute cornstarch for the potato starch and i think i added a biiit of fish sauce since i didnt have dashi but it came out perfect and i cant wait to try the other recipes!
Made this yesterday and it was absolutely delicious! I've been waiting for a day off to try the recipe because I thought it'd be time-consuming, but this was really not the case - got the eggplant done in about 30 minutes (baking time included!) along with some rice, fried tofu and a salad. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
So im not vegan but like to find alternatives for fun and this was SO good! It tasted and had the texture of eel and I never thought I’d like eggplant so much now! Cant wait to try thr other recipes
Amazing recipe that is so easy to make! It came together so quickly and I feel like this can be a staple recipe in my repetoire from now. I didn't have a blow torch so I finished mine on the top shelf of my grill (with eagle eyes). Have already recommended this recipe to my Japanese students who were amazed to know that there was an alternative to eel.
There was a little sauce leftover so I threw it together with some stir fried cabbage, carrots, green pepper.
Tried this for dinner tonight! Whoa was it good - the addition of the seaweed makes it taste like the real thing! Thank you for sharing this - will be one of our dinner go to!
Amaaaahzing!!! 😋Made it two days in a row ! So quick so full of flavor! Can’t wait to try the salmon next ! You’ve inspired me to eat less meat ! 🥰
YES YES YES! this recipe is so good, directions are so clear and the taste point is legit. didn't have sake so used some chinese cooking wine (slightly reduced amount) and it still turned out good! this is definitely going to be sticking around - thank you! gonna try your teriyaki fish recipe soon!
Chenelle P. says
I absolutely LOVED this dish. Super quick,easy and YUMMY! Eggplant is not something I frequently eat,but after trying this out I can genuinely say it will definitely be a more common vegetable in my diet. I couldn’t help but recommend this to all of my friends! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!10/10!
Absolutely loved this recipe! Made it twice last week and my entire family happily finished each batch I made! So happy I found this recipe. My mom, who grew up in Japan, eating this style of food (though unsurprisingly, not vegan) really enjoyed it too! It was just so comforting, and reminded me of all of the amazing food's she'd make us when I was younger. And of course, the (possibly) best part, was having sauce drip off of the 'unagi' onto the rice 😀
So I definitely made this more than once today, and I absolutely am not ashamed of it! I never realized how good eggplant could possibly be and found myself loving this dish. It’s perfect, and the searing on both sides required less heat than I thought it would! This was one I immediately shared with friends, and my partner loved it too!
So easy and delicious! And only take few minutes to make - my new go-to for a quick lunch. Very excited to try other recipes too!
This is such an amazing recipe. So simple but absolutely delicious.
I love this blog so much.
And Lisa pretty much thought about everything in this recipe, leaving no questions about the instructions or the cultural aspect of this dish. It's just amazing and I wish more blogs like this one would exist.
This is probably the only way I will cook eggplant from now on. I've already made this recipe 3 times! It's so quick and delicious, I'm obsessed. Just a note, if you don't have dashi you can honestly just sub with a splash of broth you have on hand, that's what I did. I don't know why this is the first time I'm seeing someone cut an eggplant like this but somehow it tastes better this way!
This was amazing! I made this but nigiri sushi style! So good!
Jordan Garbutt says
I literally don't have the words to describe how satisfying this vega version of the traditional Unagi don is...The Eggplant is the perfect alternative and absorbs all the flavours so well. My new favourite way to eat Eggplant!
So inventive- this one is a winner for vegans.
TO DIE FOR! I’m not vegan/vegetarian but I try to make a conscience effort a few times a week dedicated for vegan/vegetarian recipes. When she first posted this I KNEW I had to try…and it did NOT disappoint. SO good. I didn’t have Japanese eggplant at home but I had super small ones so there wasn’t a lot of seeds. I skipped microwaving them bc I sliced them thin on the mandolin. They were SO good. The torched flavor in my opinion, makes the dish 10/10. Will for sure make again! Thanks Lisa:)
This recipe is quick, easy and absolutely delicious! Tonight wasn’t my first time trying this recipe and it definitely will not be my last! Super great staple weeknight dinner. Thanks for this recipe, Lisa!
Super easy and tasty alternative to Unagi don! I'm not always able to get access to asian dishes but thank you for helping me satisfy my cravings. This will be a staple in my food making 🙂
The recipe was amazing, and so easy 🙂 thank you girl! 🙂
I rate it 5 stars because I real l’y loved thé perfection balance of flavours and textures. I’m not a huge fan of eel’s texture, although I love the taste, so this alternative works perfection for me. Plus it’s super easy and Quick to make and oh so satisfying!!!
I saw this recipe and immediately bought sake just so I could try it and boy, am I glad I did! Simple ingredients, easy technique, just a fabulous eggplant preparation I'd never considered. I finished mine with some kombu flakes for extra 'fishy' flavor and it was divine. Thanks!
Muriel Murden says
I loved it! This was a really clever use of eggplant! Dinner was ready in about 15 minutes too as an added bonus!
What an amazing recipe! I wish I come across this recipe sooner 😂 Super easy to make, it took me about 10mins. It’s defo going to be my new go to meal😋😆
Loved it! The eggplant tasted juicy and the marinate was so yummy! I swapped out the sake and mirin for vodka because that was what I had at home and it tasted great! I already tried out the marinate on other vegetables and it was amazing. A new go-to recipe for me!
The recipe is amazing! It took me about 10mins and it’s super simple to make but it tastes way more than awesome 😆 It’s defo going to be my new go to meal😋🤩
Amazing. My wife doesn’t like eggplant but she loved this recipe. Definitely making this again ~
This recipe is cheap, easy and delicious! Recommended!
Best vegan unagi recipe! I have used another recipe in the past and Lisa's is by far the quicker, easier, and tastier option. I've already made this twice since the recipe was published and is one of my go-to recipes! I used regular eggplant and rice flour (instead of potato starch) and it comes out great! I rarely leave reviews but this one earned my time to write one out.
Love this recipe! Im not vegan but this makes me want to try more vegan dishes for sure!! Mindblown!
This may be my very favorite eggplant recipe now. I LOVE eggplant, but I feel like I always run out of ideas for how to cook it in creative, tasty ways. This recipe is super easy, requires hardly any prep, and is just delicious. The eggplant comes out tender and flavorful. The nori on top of rice makes it absolutely perfect. I used cornstarch because I didn't have any potato starch - seemed to work great still!
This was SO GOOD! I left the skin on my egg plant. I also had to sub a couple ingredients but was still fantastic. I don’t have a torch so I used the broiler in my oven. It was delish!
Super easy to make and so delicious ✨😄 can only recommend
SopheAnn Buzgan says
As someone who feels indifferent about eggplant this definitely gave me a new appreciation for the vegetable. 10/10 recipe and soooo easy.
This recipe is so good! Simple and easy to put together. The unagi sauce was spot on... Not vegan myself but love to try new things and who doesn’t love their vegetables? Definitely going to be doing this again. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe.
Had 2 eggplants that were going to lose their cool and this genius recipe appeared at the right time while scrolling Instagram, how quick and easy this was to whip up ?! I’m unable to even. This is a recipe I will be showing a lot of people ! 🧡
Mia Feng says
Amazing recipe!! I made this 3 nights in a row because it was so good! This is the perfect recipe for when you’re kind of lazy but I want something tasty!
Made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING.
Made a few other dishes to have with it and the unagi was the STANDOUT.
Sweet, savory and so yummy. Will be making this every week.
I think it will be amazing as a sushi filling as well.
Thank you so much for this recipe - can’t wait to try more of yours !
Super easy and delicious! Personally, I added less sugar and more soy sauce to achieve the flavor I wanted. I think the sauce itself is amazing and would be great on tofu too. 🙂
This is a really good trick. We couldn’t believe we are eating eggplant. Can’t wait to make it again. I will probably use a bit less sugar next time, hope it will work.
This recipe was so easy to make! The sauce is incredibly tasty considering it's so few ingredients just dropped into the pan. My aubergine took a bit longer to cook in the oven (I don't have a microwave!) than the recipe stated but they were quite big aubergines so I'd factor this into the timings if you were making this dish. When I make it again I'll slice a bit more deeply across as the aubergine was a bit hard to break up with chopsticks.
It was honestly the best eggplant I have ever made! Even my boyfriend said that it does taste like a fish because I put some furikake on it! I was seeing it on okonomikitchen’s story so much, because a lot of people have tried it and every time it was posted it makes me crave for it so bad! I finally did it and it was soooo good that I can’t wait to cook it again! Thank you so much!!! I might even turn vegan myself one day because of your delicious recipes! 😍😍😍
It was honestly the best eggplant I have ever made! Even my boyfriend said that it does taste like a fish because I put some furikake on it! I was seeing it on okonomikitchen’s story so much, because a lot of people have tried it and every time it was posted it makes me crave for it so bad! I finally did it and it was soooo good that I can’t wait to cook it again! Thank you so much!!! I might even turn vegan myself one day because of your delicious recipes! 😍😍😍😍😍
Quite straightforward recipe ready in a flash. I would make this again and again whenever I am craving for vegan unagidon!
Love this recipe! I used cornstarch instead of potato starch and it was just fine. I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, but I like to eat plant-based meals as often as I can. Super satisfying, it's my go-to eggplant recipe now!
Darlene Espiritu says
I made this the other and it was SO GOOD!! I loved how simple and fast it was to make! I definitely torched mine (it’s too much fun) and I think that was crucial coz it gave that char flavor that I love in Eel Unagi. If you don’t have a torch I’m sure it will still be really good, coz the sauce was so on point!
This is sooooo flavourful and so simple to make 😊😊
This is my new favorite way to cook eggplant! It's so simple and quick to make and absolutely delicious. Soothing, warm and addictive, can't believe this perfect meal only needed 6 ingredients and 10 mins to make. Can’t wait to try this sauce with other veggies and tofu too.
Made this today and it’s so easy and extremely tasty! love it!
Such an easy and delicious recipe. Of course it isn’t 100% like unagi but it is so good, especially for eggplant lovers. I wish I had a torch or a real grill to give more charred flavor like unagi, but regardless this comforting and tasty dish is definitely going into my weekly dinner rotation.
Katia Molka says
I love how little effort this is comparing to how much flavor you get in return! New go-to fast lunch idea, made a few times already <3
This recipe is incredibly delicious!
Even if you’re not into eggplant usually, I’d suggest you try this one. The eggplant haters among my friends are often bothered by its slightly fishy taste - but as an eel substitute, this works perfektly ✨
This astoundingly simple recipe transforms the eggplant into a soft, savory sweet dream, completely infused with the sugary soy sauce flavors, it’s just delightful!
I served it over some vegetables for a lighter dinner but honestly I think rice is the perfect companion to make this vegan unagi the star of the show. Try it, go buy an eggplant right now !
Absolutely loved this! Super tasty and easy to make!
Mimi V says
I had been wanting to try this recipe for months and I finally took it upon myself to do so for dinner a couple weeks ago and it was absolutely delicious! It really reminded me of unagi kabayaki except without the eel 🙂 My boyfriend, who hates eggplant, actually loved this dish because it replicated the eel taste and texture so well! I've been transitioning over to plant-based foods for the past half year and Lisa really helps make it easier. Looking forward to trying your other recipes I have saved on my list!! ^_^
This is a must try recipe!! Who’d have ever thought that eggplant can replicate unagi so well?! The nori just makes the dish. I replaced the sake with dry sherry (what I had on hand), and the flavor was still excellent. Don’t miss this!
Christina T says
This recipe came together so quickly and was delicious! I’ve been looking to add more plant based foods into my lifestyle and this was perfect.
The flavor was on point and texture was delicious with rice. The blow torch at the end gave it that nice char✨Thank you so much Lisa! I can’t wait to try other recipes😘
Super easy to make and so worth it! I matched my vegan unagidon with some homamade tsukemono and it was fantastic. Thank you Lisa for the inspo!
Best and easiest brinjal recipe for "unagi"
Super simple and delicious, really straightforward instructions
Tastes great with the skin left on too, and can be eaten hot or at room temp too!
I did not have sake so I doubled up on the mirin but it turned out delicious, just like the unagi sauce that you get at the sushi restaurants. This recipe was super quick and suuuper delicious, will definitely be making this again. Next time I'll get a blow torch to take it to the next level
LOVED this! The flavor and texture mimicked eel eerily well. It was also SO quick to prepare! I can already tell this is going to be a new favorite meal in our home!
I really enjoyed this recipe. The flavours were great, even though I didn’t use sake as I don’t drink alcohol. Thank you so much!
Farah J says
I’ve made this a few times and honestly love it so much. So easy to make and so tasty. I love eggplants and this definitely going to be one of my go-to recipes!
Sunny sin says
So easy to make and oh soooo bloody delicious!! Will definitely repeat this recipe! I used two Aubergine and ate them all by myself haha.
I’ve tried this recipe several times and it’s REALLY GOOD. I kinda hate unagi so and eggplant is my favorite vegetable! so this is truly a win-win solution for me! Thanks a lot Lisa for making this recipe so easy to follow and recook!
I don't have any of these😭😭
It looks sooo yum
This recipe was soooo easy to follow, surprisingly quick and absolutely delicious, tasted just like I remember from being in Japan!
Absolutely delicious and very straight forward to make. We used Japanese eggplants and they came out perfectly. Love this recipe!
Tried this recipe for the first time today and thanks to the precise introductions it came out wonderfully! Savoury, sweet and with delicate sour notes! Just perfect combo! Easy to make and easy to finish in a few seconds 😂😋. Glad that I found this recipe and this blog, I will be doing more recipes!
Amazing recipe! So easy to make and so delicious. I love the recipes on this site as they offer classic Japanese cuisine that is veganised. Hard to find on the internet!
I saw the recipe on Insta and it looked so good, I checked my pantry and I had everything so I tried this for dinner, it was so LUSH and so simple!
Really looking forward to try more recipes of you xx
Hussle free and super easy recipe. Success rate 100%
Love the taste of the eggplant with the sauce. Will sure make it more in the future.
I tried this recipe today and it was super easy and the results were shocking (in a good way) especially how much it resembles meat! It kinda looks like Yakiniku too. Amazing discovery !
Best thing in the world!
When I tried this recipe, i didn't have mirin and kombu dashi and it didn't look as perfect as in this blog, but it was so delicious and easy to make and remember. Just got my hands on some mirin and kombu dashi, so I definitely would be making this again! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
Chaelie K says
I’ve been dying to give this recipe a try and I’m soooo glad I finally did !! It was pretty darn easy and really dammmmn tasty. My husband actually wanted to try it and he doesn’t usually even like eggplant, but it smelled so good he wanted to try it. He even finished my piece when I was full. I’ll definitely by making this again and probably pretty often.
This was amazing n super eazy recipe!!
Levi Axene says
Super amazing yummy ✨ try this recipe RIGHT NOW or Ross will hunt you down
SO freaking good!! I love eggplant but hardly make it myself… this has changed that. So easy and so delicious! My hubby (the main cook) loved it!
I've made this dish twice in a row, it was really good! I didn't peel off the skin and it still tastes amazing! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
I love eggplants, so when I saw Lisa’s video on Instagram of this recipe, I wanted to try it right away. Luckily, I have most of the ingredients in my pantry (my love for Asian food is too real lol), and all I needed was to grab eggplants. The recipe was easy to follow. It was delicious and I am in love!
love eggplants, so when I saw Lisa’s video on Instagram of this recipe, I wanted to try it right away. Luckily, I have most of the ingredients in my pantry (my love for Asian food is too real lol), and all I needed was to grab eggplants. The recipe was easy to follow. It was delicious 🤤 and I am in love!
This was SO. GOOD. I’m a huge fan of unagi-don with actual eels, but for the past year, I’ve been leaning more toward vegan food/recipes. When Lisa shared this recipe on IG, I immediately had to try it. Dare I say prefer the vegan version over the original? 👀
I’ve been recommending this recipe to my friends and family non-stop. Recipe is super easy to follow and it’s definitely one of those I’ll be repeating/
making constantly. 🤤
This was a hit at our house! The eggplant my was caramelized so perfectly and I think it’s because I stuck it under the broiler at the end. Also I would double the proportions for the sauce because everyone kept coming back for more! Also I ended it up using it also on the yaki onigiri and it was great! Sweet and a great way to recycle the sauce that was left over.
La mejor receta con berenjenas 😍😍
Wowowow, simple, quick but delicious. I'm in love with your recipes!
Karla Urias says
What a delicious recipe!! The flavors are pretty on par with unagi and the texture of thr eggplant as shown comes out perfect. Even without using a hand torch the flavor was pretty amazing. I am so excited to try out some more of your recipes!
Maggie Ng says
This was such a creative recipe, I knew I had to try it! It was so tasty. I'll be trying your other recipes soon.
This recipe is sooo good! One of the best I ever tried ! I am up to try watermelon pickles. Yam. Thank you so much !
Kalakanthi Mensah says
Make. This. Recipe! Oh may gawd it was so tasty. We used the Chinese eggplant variety, and for us, we just had to steam it for like, 10-12 minutes to get it to the right softness to split open. It is worth tracking down the specific ingredients for this. The nice thing is that you can order the harder to find ones online, or like us, scour our local Asian market until we found kombu dashi powder and victory. The flavor was out of this world, and the texture was amazing. All I can say is I did not like eggplant, and now I do. See for yourself.
Melissa Evans says
Tried this this other night and was a huge success! Very easy to make and even works with a normal eggplant if that is all you can find. My omnivore husband really enjoyed this dish and said it reminded him of actual eel! If you have leftovers, it also works pretty well in sushi. Sauce also tasted incredible, with a perfect blend of sweet/savory. Would definitely make again!
I tried this incredible recipe and I’ve been eating that for a whole week 🤍✨
Loved this amazing unagi recipe! I've known about eggplant unagi for.a while - and even had it several times at different Japanese/sushi restaurants - but never tried making it myself it until I saw Lucy's IG reel which made it look so so easy 😀
It's just as good as the restaurants and super easy to whip up for a comforting weeknight dinner.
Soooo good. Dont think I could go back to real unagi, there is no need to.
I just made the eggpalnt unagi and shared with my family
Seriously, they all loved it even they are not vegan◡̈
Hope everyone could try it asap
and always thank you Lisa for all the amazing recipes❤️
this one *killed* me. like, it's so accurate and so good. i added it to my onigiri this morning.
I’m not a vegan, but I love unagi so I had to try this 🙂 It’s exactly what I expected..IT’S SO DELICIOUS. Also, surprisingly easy to make. I didn’t have sake, so I used water and it still tasted great. I’ll definitely make it again! Thanks, Lisa! ♡
Ariel M says
Eggplants are one of the kitchen vegetable staples in this Asian household. So seeing this recipe was definitely something I wanted to try. Coming from a meat-loving/omnivorous family of cooks LOL, I always want them to try whatever I make, as I take their opinions seriously. I personally really liked it and when I had my grandma try, she LOVED it! She even urged my mom to cook the eggplants this way. I will be trying this again and this time will keep the skin on.
This was SO good!!! I tried to adapt the recipe to something I had access to, like using eel sauce from Whole Foods instead of making it from scratch, and it worked very well. The torching makes SUCH a difference on the smoky flavor and is a must. 10/10 will do this again!
Jennifer ZHENG says
Super good over a large bowl of rice. Perfect for a simple meal. I always make extra since the sweet savory taste is so addictive with rice. Growing extra eggplants this year due to this recipe
Casey Budd says
Yum! Just made it, so delicious.
Stephanie Wong says
As someone that grew up in an Asian food culture surrounded by meat, I find reducing my meat consumption hard. There's always specific dishes I miss making it hard to choose vegetarian options. Glad I was able to discover okonomikitchen. This dish had all the same elements I look for in regular unagi don - the sweet teriyaki sauce, tender texture of the "eel"/eggplant and I didn't miss eating eel at all. I topped it off with some spring onions and sesame seeds. The recipe was easy to follow - I wish there was a longer youtube tutorial instead of me replaying the IG Reel 20 times LOL and it was tasty. My parents thought it looked like eel too. The sauce took a bit longer than expected but I probably could've reduced the heating time as it got very thick after refrigeration.
This is one of my favorites lately! I love it 🥰 is so fast and easy to make and it tastes amazing! I adapted some ingredients but still turn out great. Your recipes never disappoint! Can’t wait to try the shrimp recipe next!
Hi, thanks for inspiration food, I cooked vegan unagi don
Really delicious 🤤
Loved it! Definitely gonna cook it again! 🥰
Tried this and turns out really good
This was my first recipe from you that I made and its amazing! The flavors are killer and it really does transform into the eel dish, I am addicted to making this eggplant now! Thank you Lisa!
I just became vegan this year, and the hardest part about it is curbing my cravings for seafood . This dish hit the spot on so many levels. It’s easy to make, not time consuming at all, and it is absolutely delicious…the marinade is 👌🏽👌🏽👌🏽. Highly recommend this dish
Stephanie Barnett says
10/10 would recommend!!
I used it on a white fish, taste like unagi don!!!
Thanks for the recipe! So easy to follow with great result!
On point, easy & simple to follow Happy to taste the Vegan Eel! Satisfaction Guaranteed!
So delicious and super easy to make! My friend was half Japanese and she liked it ❤️
Such a straightforward, easy to follow recipe that packs a punch! I was craving Japanese food and chanced upon this recipe. Took me less than 20min to prepare and was so pleased to have it done in just one pan (minimal washing, yay!) the eggplant was delicious and reminded me so much of the unagi I missed, but the addition of nori was the master stroke - mimicked the unagi “skin” texture, and also gave a lovely earthy balance to the otherwise really flavorful and umami dish! Would totally do this again (even weekly…!)
I used the purple eggplant so they were quite big, I had to slice them thinly before grilling otherwise they were too thick and won’t cook all the way through. I’d double the sauce next time because I really like the unagi to be soaked in the sauce as well as the rice.
Omitted the sake and replaced it with water and rice vinegar and it worked well.
I hadn’t eaten eels in over 20 years so I wouldn’t know the taste but I love this eggplant dish and will be making it often. 😊
This was really good! Coming from someone who doesn’t looove eggplant, it was actually great with the sauce! Super easy, and if you don’t have a blowtorch you can broil it in the oven!
I had to make a few adjustments due to the fact that I didn't have a few ingredients on hand, I replaced the sake with water but used mirin as the recipe calls for. I also (unfortunately) don't have potato starch on hand, I used corn starch instead.
I used the one pan method and cooked the eggplant in the microwave.
THIS. RECIPE. IS. INCREDIBLE.
It was so flavorful and delicious, made me feel like I was enjoying a savory fish dish. I didn't have nori on hand either but I did have furikake seasoning in my spice cabinet and after my first bite of this I was practically drooling wanting more!
Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes and proving that vegan does not mean "no flavor". I love that I can have my favorite asian dishes but cruelty free.
So good! I love that it’s so simple too, perfect for a quick and delicious meal <3
works with american (?) eggplants as well, as they were the only ones sold at my local convenience store.
Absolutely delicious! Even my husband who's really picky about eggplants loved it! And the best thing is that it is easy and quick. Dinner was served in less than 30mn!
I love Eggplant but always make the same dish with it. This was a revelation! So easy to make and so so satisfying and delicious to eat. My husband isn't a big eggplant lover but this has changed him. This will now be in my regular meal rotation 🥰
Great recipe and works great with substitutions as well! Used kelp powder and mushroom powder instead of kombu dashi powder. Used dry sherry and sake instead of mirin. I also added some extra spices to add smoky flavor.
I prefer my eggplant without skin but overall great easy recipe!
Awesome and easy
Loved this. I even had the leftovers cold the next day and they were so so good!
This was so easy and fun to make! It turned out delicious and will now be something I’d love to cook more often. Thank you so so much!
Katie Blackman says
Unagi don is one of my favourite foods and one I've been craving. When I saw this recipe I had to try it and I was so impressed l, it tasted so similar to what I remember and was just so good. Will definitely make again!!!
Omg this recipe is so beyond tasty and easy! Thank you for this dish!
I never had eel in my life bit this was super tasty! I loved the flavour and the consistency and It Is also super easy. I'll definitely remake It😋
Estephanie Sunga says
So easy and delicious!! As someone who loves unagi and is a meat eater, this is such a tasty alternative and I would definitely make this again. Thanks so much for inspiring me with your recipes.
Caroline Ngo says
It's scary and amazing how much this recipe is the real deal!!! Easy to follow and the final dish was chef's kiss
This is literally a super foolproof recipe, easy to make yet tastes very delish! Cannot believe the taste could be this superb and texture wise is almost mimicking the real fish! Happy to find out this recipe, for those who hasn't tried, you definitely should!
Absolutely delightful dinner. I made this exactly the way it was recommended minus the torch, but I put it in the broiler on high for 3 minutes. We made 2x the recipe and scarfed it up between the two of us cause it was that delicious. Added some toasted white sesame, scallions, along with the nori. Paired it with rice and pickles from the local Japanese market.
not a fan of eggplant or eel BUT this was AMAZING. i made unagi don and then nigirizushi 🍣 my boyfriend (a harsh sushi/fish critic) was very impressed!! and this was not complicated to make at all, i’ll definitely be eating this regularly ❤️
Have always found eggplant so-so but now I’m a huge fan thanks to this recipe! Truly the most delicious and creative recipe I’ve ever come across! Will be making again and again!
I've always loved eggplant and this is such a good way to prep that. I kept the skin on mine - no waste, more texture! I might even add a sheet of nori next time to imitate the skin. <3
I was so sad to find out unagi is classified as endangered. So I shall be using this recipe from now on!
One of the dishes i make regularly. Super quick, fuss free and so delicious 🤤
Sauce is incredible, the aubergine is delicious and very tender. Loved It.
I tried this last week. I don't know vegan cooks can taste this yummy!
OMG is this good. 🤩
Thank you for sharing
Same here I saw this recipy and knew I had to try it too! 😀
I did it, it was simple and totally doable and so tasty. I don’t like unagi but I do love the sauce and the flavour combination with rice so this recipy is a perfect recreation of all the flavor of the dish indeed!
I also didn’t use a torch but it was still an absolut amazing dish. On of my favorit dish now for sure!
@Everybody definitely give it a try! it is soooo tasty for real. 🤗
Amazing and simple recipe to cook eggplant ❤️❤️❤️🍆🍆🍆
Seriously an easy and tasty recipe that I am so glad I tried making!
I recently bought some eggplant but had no idea what I was going to make with them. I happened to come across the “unagi” recipe on @okonomikitchen’s IG page and knew I had to make it. Most of the ingredients (if not all) are staples in the household so I didn’t find myself having to go in search of anything. I didn’t have potato starch but had tapioca starch which worked out just fine.
And WOW! I was so happy with the flavor and texture of the eggplant. The eggplant was good with rice and without. I added some Shichi-mi tōgarashi to the cooked “unagi” since I like a little spice. Overall the recipe was a hit with everyone in family and will definitely be made again. 🙂
Basically, eggplant is one of my vegan favorite food, and when i saw this recipe, i cant hold my self from try to making this food. I actually like this recipe, but from my point of view as an indonesian, i like this recipe better with adding some of chili peppers. Bcs i really like cooking my eggplant that taste so spicy
My favourite recipe for eggplants! I literally ate this straight from the pan because it was that good!😍😍
Made this after seeing some Chinese eggplant on sale at the Asian grocer. It came together really quickly and is delicious! I'm not a strict vegan but always looking to eat more plant-based and this made for a very satisfying meal.
Ayrton Phua says
The dish is something that is super fast to whip up from scratch when you need a quick meal.
While waiting for the rice to cook you can start working on the eggplant so you end up with steaming hot rice and pan hot eggplant kabayaki!! You can cut the time even shorter by using store bought Unagi no Tare (Unagi Sauce) but that’s probably not recommended for full vegans or you can make the sauce beforehand and store them in sterilised containers until you need to use them.
The sauce is pretty great for pan fried / grilled mushrooms too!!
It is really soo good!! Must try recipe!
Brian Hendricks says
The ratio of ease to deliciousness with this recipe is miraculous. Eel sauce is one of my absolute favorite things and the eggplant replicates the texture of eel beautifully. This dish is bound to become one of my go-to weekly recipes.
Love this recipe! Couldn’t believe how much it reminded me of fish or eel, and I love eggplant so I’m excited to have learned another way to cook it. Will definitely be making again!
Quick and delicious! My husband is not a fan of eggplant but loved this recipe.
Tiki Subagus says
The first recipe I tried from Okonomi kitchen and this is what keeps me coming back to her ig page to try other recipes. The sauce is spot on! Since i love eggplant, there's nothing more to say unless just cook this and EAT! 🙂 Arigatooo
Beatrice Valencia says
Love love LOVE this recipe! cant believe it was so easy. I made 2 servings and ate a second serving the next day, the flavours are even more developed and the eggplant was totally marinated! It tasted even better than the first day :")
Sylvia Trieu Anh Thai says
Loved this recipe! It's super quick and easy to make and tastes so delicious on rice! Definitely making this again, and would share with friends!
I've recently been trying to incorporate a more plant-based diet into my daily lifestyle and being asian, my parent think, "what about all the good food you'd miss out on?". However, I've never been missing out because of so many vegan and vegetarian food creators online! One of my favourite blogs and IG pages are from here, so thank you Lisa and Okonomi Kitchen for making easier for me to create asian style cusine in my new diet!
I've recently been making this when I get home from work late after a long day and it's my absolute favourite! Such a great way to eat aubergine, I am obsessed!
This was one of the first recipes I tried from Okonomikitchen, and it is easily one of my favorites! At this point, I can pretty much prep and cook this meal by memory, but I am so very thankful for this easy to follow recipe. Everyone in my friends and family circle loves it as well! Served over a bowl of hot steaming rice really makes this a lovely cozy meal. It also holds really well so I was able to pack it for lunch and bring it to work. Yummy 😋
One of my fave recipes!
This was easy to follow and I’ve tried making it several ways, microwaved and pan fried. I think i will try steaming the eggplant next, since I like my eggplants more cooked down and softer. I find that microwaving it makes it a little rubbery.
I’ve tried this recipe and success. So delicious and easy to do. You guys should save this!!!
Taylor Sutthery says
Just made this last night and am kinda kicking myself for not making it sooner? This is hands down the best eggplant recipe I have ever tried, and it's DEFINITELY making its way into my regular rotation.
Do yourself a huge favour and give this recipe a go.
(It's also impossible to mess up - I didn't layer mine as fancy as Lisa, but it was still delicious.)
I've tried this recipe, I'm drooling over when your reels passed through my page. The ingredients are simple, just eggplant & sesame seeds and I also adjust the seasoning to what I have at home. The final result is it taste so gewwd
Jenn Balagot says
I've been trying to reduce the amount of meat I eat, and was eyeing this dish for a while now. I finally made it a few days ago and was blown away! It was SOO good- so flavorful and gave off unagi vibes in all the best ways- and I didn't miss the fish at all! This provided everything I wanted- something filling and flavorful. Definitely plan on making this a regular meal.
The eggplant taste amazing in this recipe I love it
This recipe is so easy and so good, I love it!
Thank you Lisa!
Stefanie Bartholomäus says
I LOVE unagi and when I became vegan this recipe kinda safed my life!!
Its soooo delicious!!! Could eat this every day
I love eggplant! so, when I saw this recipe, I added this to my menu for the week! It's so easy and quick to make. I didn't have sake so, I sub with water and still tasted so good! Great thing I have a blowtorch, of course I used it eventhough I am scared of it! lol Try try this! one of my faves!
Marie Lou says
So good and it didn't took too long to make, I loved it !
Wow this had easily become one of my favorite ways to eat and cook eggplant! Served it with nori and coconut jasmine rice and the whole family loved it!!
This recipe was so simple and delicious. I dream about it…making it again ASAP!
such an amazing recipe!! I cooked it for the first time on my boyfriend and I's third date. since then it's became a favorite for both of us :)) I've made it without mirin once, and without sake and kombu dashi every time, but it always turns out good! someday I wanna try it with all the proper ingredients 🖤🍚🍆
Kat Weiss says
As long as you have all the ingredients this is very simple to make, and it definitely reminded me of "eel" even though it was 100% eggplant!
SO SO GOOD!!! I've made it twice now and my brother who usually tries to avoid any sort of vegetables requested that I make this again. It's so easy, and so delicious.
I saw this recipe on instagram & try to recook it. The result was preety close to the recipe's picture but it still tasted like an eggplant, haha.. Maybe because I didn't use Jappanese eggplant as the suggestion.
But it is an easy & worth to try recipe indeed
Thank you 😊😊
Absolutely delicious! Made this for dinner the other night and my partner scarfed it down immediately — he’s a big meat eater and doesn’t really like eggplant. I braised the eggplant in the sauce a bit longer than what was specified, I wanted the sauce to really caramelize on the eggplant. Would definitely make again!
Was blessed with this recipe because I love to make anything with veggies that can be an alternative to meat. Super easy recipe and super quick to make when you're busy! I replaced sake for soju, because that's all I had and I know it changes the flavor slightly (not for anyone to notice). I added less sugar because mirin is already sweet enough for me usually.
Keeping the skin on is essential to keeping the whole thing in one piece when cooking, so I highly recommend it. Final product turned out so good!! Will be adding to my list of recipes to cook.
Maria Novella says
First time making this: i subbed the dashi powder for crushed dried porcini mushrooms and used wheat starch instead. Both worked wonderfully well. I cut down the sugar a bit, too. I also had leftover red rice, instead of white, so I used what I had. Needless to say, the dish turned out wonderful. The sauce is delicious and in my opinion would work well on lots of veggies! Definitely going to make it again 🙂
An amazing easy recipe full of flavor and texture!
Needed a quick last minute dinner last night and I was meaning to try this recipe for a while. So glad I did - the dish was absolutely amazing and on top of that really healthy and easy to make. I'm also happy I made enough for lunch the next day.
Thanks Lisa!! 😊😊
Quick to make and easy and super tasty!
Really good and very easy to make , a nice meal to prep when you need a quick dinner
As someone who loved fish, this recipe is amazing! It definitely satisfied my cravings. Even if fish substitutes are often tricky, Lisa’s one always exceed my expectations. 🙂
I love this recipe, one of my fav, it's perfect!
Fast, easy and delicious.
10/10 would recommend. Might just be my favourite recipe from the ones I’ve tried.
Ngl I was a little worried about it being too fishy for my taste. I’ve been lacto vegetarian since birth so I’m not used to fishy tasting things but this was pleasant and so so good!
I skipped the last step of the broil/torch because I was hungry and didn’t wanna deal but it was still good 👌🏼
I was having a serious craving for an eel and avocado sushi roll and came across this recipe, so decided to give it a go and make the eel for my roll. Wow! This really hit all the marks and it was way easier than I expected it to be. I have bought eel sauce previously, but would never do that again now. The sauce was exactly the way it is at the restaurant ants and so much tree than bottled. So good that I couldn’t stop thinking about it and made the rolls again the next week. 👍🏻
This must be the best recipes I’ve ever done! It taste amazing and it is so easy to make. Might be my new favorite meal 😋
Hang Le says
I recently tried this recipe out and it was absolutely delicious! I love Asian eggplants and love unagi sauce so it was the perfect combo. I sent a picture of it to my mom and she said “ OMG, looks like restaurant.” Lisa and her cooking has interested me in trying to consume less meat and try vegan recipes! Thank you Lisa 💕
Paul Nilrach says
This recipe popped up on my instagram feed and I immediately went out and bought some eggplants.
The texture is incredibly close to cooked eel. The sauce made it even closer. I love it. I’m gonna be making this very often.
Christina Prunesti says
This recipe is amazing. It made the perfect sushi rolls and appeased both carnivores and eggplant haters! I can't wait to try it again and pack it for lunch. Thank you!!
I’m a carnivore at heart, but I love to cook vegetarian and vegan meals. I’ve been following Okonomi Kitchen on Tiktok for a while and I’ve always been fascinated by this recipe. I would have never thought about a vegan version of unagi. It’s absolutely genius! I finally got around to trying it for myself and it turned out amazing! I didn’t have any potato starch, so I had to substitute with flour but otherwise it was super delicious. I’ve actually never cooked with eggplant before, but from now on it’s on my list of grocery essentials so I can make this all the time 🙂
Tried this out for Veganuary and it was delicious! Will be making it again with less sugar and maybe some additional chili flakes for an extra flavour profile.
Dimilia Prasyandhana says
Have been eyeing on this recipe for quite awhile and finally gave it a try. I am not a big fan of eggplant but this recipe makes eggplant much much much better and tastier. I LOVE IT ❤️ Even my grandma said that it’s taste so great she ask me to share the recipe 🤤 thanks for sharing!! And really hope to try your other recipe anytime soon! 💕💕
Maxence L. says
I really miss unagi, so I had to make this, and it surpassed my expectations! My (non-vegan) family tried it and loved it as well 🙂
The very first time trying Lisa’s recipe and hands down the best fauxnagi I’ve ever tasted. Her instructions are so thorough it makes it very easy to follow. Husband doesn’t usually enjoy Japanese food and he absolutely loved it! Can’t wait to try more recipes!
I’m SO glad I found Okonomikitchen on Instagram! I am Japanese/White and to see recipes related to my how my mom raised with is precious and nostalgic. I made this for breakfast and it was delicious! ありがとうリサさん！
SO GOOD!!! Ever since i saw this on instagram i’ve been going back for the past 6 months or so thinking i have to make this. i don’t know why i waited so long!! i’m currently eating this right now and i had to leave a review bc it is that good. it really does remind me of the real thing. i put 1 less tbsp of sugar and it was perfect for my taste. really easy to make too!! definitely making this again
Jessie sangrey says
This was delicious and not difficult to make! Such a creative recipe! Looking to try out more recipes from okonomikitchen
First time trying to make this and it came out amazing!!! Honestly the sauce is better than the premade ones or ones in restaurants. It's a good balance of sweet and salty! The eggplant is pretty convincingly eel looking as many people thought it was real eel. The only thing I didn't like is the texture of the eggplant, but that's just a personal thing. Highly recommend this recipe as it's easy ti make and super tasty!
Thuan Sinh says
Your Instagram reel on 'unagi chazuke' got me drooling and it led me here. I always like to read the words and story behind a recipe as it helps me appreciate and understand the dish better, and it gives me an idea on how much freedom there is for tweaking without taking away from the dish itself. The visuals of your reel and the written recipe here meant that I could recreate this dish without any issues (or deviations lol). The end result was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipes. I do love eating meat but also love discovering tasty vegan and vegetarian food to incorporate into my diet and be able offer more dishes to my friends and family who are vegetarian/vegan.
Jessie Sangrey says
So delicious and creative! Great substitute for vegans. Excited to try other recipes from OkonomiKitchen!
So tasty 😋 Thank you!! Can’t wait to try your other recipe!
Saskia Nandina says
This is my fav vegan recipe ever!!!😭😭
I was that upset when I needed to be vegan because I gotta say goodbye to some of my favorite japanese foods but Lisa told me to not be sad about it through this recipe.
Thaaaank you so much this recipe is one of my best founding in 2022 love love love please create more!!💛💛💛
I tried this recipe the other day and it came out so so delicious!
I found it really easy too. I was surprised that it wa so easy as it looks like it should be complicated.
Both me and my fiancé couldn’t get enough 🍽🍽😋😋
amy phan says
i love unagi but eggplant? not so much. this recipe was circulating around my tiktok for the longest time so i knew i had to try it! my parents used to prepare eggplant in a way that made me hate it so i chose to not include it in my diet but this recipe changed my mind 🙂 this recipe was so creative!! i love anything saucy, and this one made the eggplant taste so good paired with rice.
Fantastic recipe. I’ve tried this multiple times at this point and I’ve gotten better at it every time. I used corn starch instead of potato because that’s what I had, and soju instead of sake, bcuz that’s what I had. Excellent regardless.
Rachael Smith says
This recipe by @Okonomikitchen is amazing!!
I was looking for a really nice eggplant recipe and obviously most things came up as your basic roasted veggies 😒😒😒 sooo didn’t want that!! After numerous Google searches and Instagram reels, this amazing recipe came to me!!
I was super impressed!! Healthy, yummy and Japanese….what else to love??!! 😆😆😆
The recipe is super easy to follow, minimal prep needed, speedy to make and it tastes amazing!! I’ve made this so many times and I love it every single time!!
Highly highly recommend 💕💕💕
It was super easy and fast, yet very delicious! Didn't expect my meat-eater boyfriend to like it 😀 Thank you so much!
I love this recipe! Living in Hawaii we have so much Japanese eggplant - this recipe is so fun and fulfilling! I will say peeling the eggplant is a pain in the ass though! But so worth it to get that slippery eel texture. Love this with broccoli and rice and miso.
I did not like the eggplant so much but when i try this recipe, i change my mind I really loved it and also my family. They love i make the recipe 🙌🏻💛
Such an easy, quick, delicious and affordable recipe, its my favourite way to eat eggplant!
I'm a huge fan of non-vegan unagi, but I'm incorporating more plant-based and vegetarian food in my diet, and this looked delicious on Instagram, so I had to give it a try.
It did not disappoint.
I love that there were multiple cooking methods for what you have available. I decided to roast mine, skin on. It was still super tasty with the skin, but I think the texture would have been more spot on if I had taken it off. Something to consider for next time, because there WILL be a next time.
Shauna-Aine O'Brien says
Oh my goodness, Lisa, I love this! I've never had eel, but had an aubergine to use up, and this was perfect. The cooking in the microwave is genius. That would work for so many other recipes with aubergine! The sauce is perfect. I am in love. Thank you for another great recipe. Miss seeing you on Instagram and hope you are well
Katelynn A says
Have had this recipe bookmarked for the LONGEST time and finally got to try making it the other day! Super easy to make + the sauce was sososo tasty for how simple it was to make 🙂
thank you for the recipe !! 🏼
Made this today for lunch and wow yeah it is so close to actual unagi!! Thank you for such an easy and cheap recipe, as always <3