Misodengaku (skewed and roasted foodstuff with miso coating) (味噌田楽)

"Misodengaku" is a dish prepared by skewering foodstuffs such as tofu, konnyaku, egg plant and satoimo (taro), pasting them with Japanese-lemon (citron) or Japanese-pepper flavored miso (bean paste) and then roasting them.

Origin of Name
The name is said to have been derived from one of the Dengaku (style of dancing and music originally performed at agricultural festivals) pieces, "Takaashi-no-mai" (dance on high legs), since the shape of skewered foodstuffs looked like the dance performed on poles put up on the rice field.

Another theory is that at a place called "Dengakukubo" (in Kutsukake-cho, Toyoake City, Aichi Prefecture, and the name of the place "Dengakukubo" has survived to remain used in the address today), where one of Japanese classic popular performing arts, Dengaku, is said to have been played, the Imagawa side defeated by Oda side in the Battle of Okehazama were crucified, and the local residents around there began to call vegetables and freshwater fishes such as ayu (sweetfish, Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis) on skewers they used to eat "Dengaku," associating the crucification method conducted there with the cooking method.

Senryu (comic haiku)
The following old senryu poem has survived to tell us about the origin of Dengaku.

Dengaku wa Mukashi wa me de mite Ima wa kui (meaning 'Dengaku, in ancient days to look at,while today to eat')

"Nameshi dengaku"of Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture is a combination of tofu dengaku using haccho miso (bean paste produced at Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture) and a bowl of nameshi (rice to which some green vegetable are added). Nameshi dengaku' is said to have been one of the famous food at Yoshida-juku Station (Toyohashi City Aichi Prefecture), one of the Tokaido Gojusan-tsugi (the fifty-three stations of the Tokaido Road). Also, "Fudengaku," which is prepared by frying nama-fu (fresh gluten cake), a famous product of the mid-southern part of Owari region, and coating it with red miso, is included in the local cuisine of Tsushima City in Aichi Prefecture.

Today, most misodengaku dishes are actually prepared by using tofu, while in many mountainous areas, dengaku is prepared mainly by using satoimo or freshwater fish on skewers, similar to "kushiyaki" (grilled skewered foods).

"Oden" is a dish originating from "Nikomidengaku," in which ingredients used for dengaku are boiled instead of roasting.

[Original Japanese]