Summer vegetable agebitashi

Agebitashi is a Japanese technique where something is fried and then placed into seasoned dashi to absorb the seasoning. Here I’ve used eggplant, capsicum and butternut pumpkin, but this same steeping stock can be used for any vegetables in season throughout the year. Asparagus and fresh shiitake mushrooms are very good.

If you don’t want to deep fry you can grill the vegetables on a barbecue or frying pan instead, or even lightly blanch them in water (common for leafy greens like spinach, mushrooms or bean sprouts). That is known as 'yakibitashi' or 'ohitashi' respectively.

For fully vegetarian or vegan version you can use vegetable stock and omit the bonito flakes.

  • Cooking time



  • 2 Japanese eggplants, or ½ a globe eggplant
  • 6 slices butternut pumpkin, ½ cm thick 
  • 1 red capsicum, seeds removed and cut into large pieces
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • Steeping stock
  • 1 cup bonito stock
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • (Alternatively you can use packaged tsuyu and dilute it according to the bottle directions)
  • To serve
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp bonito flakes, to serve
  • ½ tsp grated ginger


  1. Mix the ingredients for the steeping stock together in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, then pour the stock into a tray large enough to accommodate the vegetables.
  2. Cut the eggplant into wedges and score the skin in a small cross-hatch pattern.
  3. Heat the oil in a small saucepan to 175C, fry the vegetables in batches until each are cooked through and tender. As the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the oil and place them straight into the tray of seasoned stock. Allow to sit in the stock for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Arrange the vegetables on a serving plate and spoon over a few tablespoons of the stock. Place a small mound of bonito flakes on top, add the spring onions and ginger and serve either warm or at room temperature.


  • Bonito stock can be made by adding a handful of bonito flakes to about 2 cups of simmering water. Stand for 10 minutes, then strain.
  • It’s important to transfer the vegetables straight from the oil to the stock while they are still hot. As they cool they will start to absorb the flavourful liquid.

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