RECIPE: Nibitashi (Fried/Simmered Vegetables)

RECIPE: Nibitashi (Fried/Simmered Vegetables)


Easy, healthy, and vegan! Nibitashi vegetables are a great way to enjoy seasonal greens. Nibitashi is a cooking technique that requires braising vegetables in a sweet and savoury Japanese seasoning mixture. This umami-rich mixture consists of dashi broth, soy sauce, and mirin to give your dish extra savoury, sweet, and roasty flavour! This sauce will enhance the natural flavours of your vegetables to make them even more juicy and exciting!

For this recipe, simply combine the sauce ingredients. Then, chop your vegetables, deep fry them, and dip them in the seasoning sauce before serving! This cooking technique is both easy and makes your vegetables saucy and crispy!

Different ways to enjoy nibitashi vegetables:

You can use this nibitashi technique to enjoy your vegetables in many ways! This a popular method of preparing eggplants in Japan, but you can easily substitute in your favourite seasonal vegetables. Some examples are enoki mushrooms, pumpkin, and zucchini.

If you’d like, you can prepare the dish beforehand and let the vegetables rest in the sauce for a few hours and up to 3 days. This is great if you’re busy or want deeper flavour! Enjoy the vegetables on their own, as garnish, a side dish, or you can serve them on top of a bowl of rice to make a vegetable donburi! This method is also used to make agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu), by first covering the tofu in potato starch before deep-frying it. Check out our recipe here.

What is dashi?

Dashi is a Japanese broth made from natural ingredients that are full of umami flavour! You can use dashi to give soups and sauces savouriness and earthy, smoky depth. Dashi is typically made from katsuobushi or bonito flakes (dried skipjack tuna), shiitake mushrooms, and konbu (kelp). These umami-rich ingredients create the compounded sweet, savoury, roasty, and earthy flavours that are so important for Japanese cuisine!


Servings: 2-3


  • 1 Japanese eggplant (cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 4-6 pieces and soak in water. Pat dry before using)
  • 3-4 okra (remove the stems)
  • 2-3 asparagus (remove the hard root, peel off 3-4 cm of the skin from the root side with a peeler, and cut into 3-4 equal length pieces) 
  • 1 small zucchini (remove ends and cut into 1cm round pieces) 
  • 100g pumpkin (remove seeds and cut into 6-7mm wide slices)
  • 1 small red bell pepper (or 1/3 of a regular-sized bell pepper) (remove the stems and seeds and cut into 6-7mm pieces)
  • 2-3 sweet chili peppers (cut into 1cm strips)
  • Deep-frying oil as needed

For the sauce


  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce.
  2. Heat the oil to 170-180°C and deep-fry the vegetables for 2-3 mins for pumpkin and about 1 min for the other vegetables. (Be careful not to put too many vegetables in the oil at once, and to keep the oil temperature from dropping too low, it is best to fry the vegetables in three or four batches.)
  3. When all the vegetables are fried, dip them in the sauce from step 1 while they are still hot. You can also soak the vegetables in the sauce for 2-4 hours in the fridge if you prefer to eat them cold. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Note: The total amount of vegetables for the sauce is about 500-600g. In addition to the vegetables listed above, burdock, green beans, green peppers, and shishito peppers are also recommended.

Introduction courtesy of Tiffany Furukawa

Tiffany Furukawa

Tiffany spent her childhood exploring Japanese food in the suburbs of Tokyo and helping her Obaachan (grandmother) in the kitchen. These experiences nurtured her passion for food and she is now studying environmental sustainability and food sciences at university. In her free time, Tiffany loves discovering hidden restaurants in Japan, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and going on runs!

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