This vegan "unagi" don is made with eggplant! The eggplant is cooked until tender with melt-in-your mouth texture, glazed with a sweet and savory tare sauce, and served over a bowl of white rice. It's super easy to make and takes only 15 minutes!
Make the unagi sauce:In a small bowl, mix together sake, soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Set aside until needed.
Prepare the eggplant:Cut off the stem of the eggplant and peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut the eggplant in half widthwise, then slice each half evenly lengthwise. This will imitate the look of eel filets.*If you don't mind the texture of the skin, you can skip the peeling step.*
Cook the eggplant:In a 10 inch pan over medium high heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, place the eggplants flat side down and sear until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the eggplants and sear the other side for a minute or two until golden brown.
Give the prepared unagi sauce a stir and pour it into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium/medium low to keep the sauce at a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and cook the eggplants for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove the lid and flip the eggplants to their flat side. Add half of the sliced green onions to the sauce and continue simmering the eggplant for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the eggplants are tender and the sauce is reduced to a thick glaze. Remove the pan from heat.
Serve the eggplant unagi don:Serve two halves of the eggplant unagi over rice, per serving. Place the eggplants over the rice, seed side up (the flat side). Garnish the eggplant unagi with the remaining green onion and sesame seeds. Enjoy while hot!
Please refer to the post for step by step photos, tips, and FAQs!
Japanese/Chinese eggplant- We highly recommend using either Japanese or Chinese eggplants for this vegan unagi recipe. Regular/American eggplants are usually firmer and also quite thick. They won't imitate "unagi" as well.
Unagi sauce is usually a 1:1:1:1 ratio of sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. We reduced the amount of mirin used, but feel free to adjust the ratio depending on your preference.
If you don't mind the eggplant skin, feel free to skip the peeling step.
The green onion added to the unagi sauce is totally optional. We thought it added a nice depth of flavor to the whole dish. So feel free to omit.