I never liked eggplants.. until I had this dish! Now I’m obsessed. Make this sauce-y, savory, garlicky eggplant dish and prepare to be blown away.
Chinese Eggplants in Garlic Sauce
I’ve become obsessed with growing vegetables indoors.
When I found myself with a successful crop of Chinese and Thai eggplants, I wasn’t sure what to do with them at first. I never liked eggplants growing up, and the one time I tried making an American eggplant recipe, I wasn’t too thrilled with the soggy, mushy result.
But then I discovered Chinese eggplants in garlic sauce – and I’ve been eating this healthy, tasty side dish at least once a week.
It’s garlicky, sauce-y, salty and sweet – all the classic umami flavors that you get with a Chinese-style stir fry.
And best of all, it’s quick and easy!
The entire dish comes together in 20 minutes.
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Chinese Eggplant Recipe Video
What You’ll Need
All you need to make this healthy side dish is eggplants and some Chinese pantry staples – namely, soy sauce.
I like to use potato starch since it makes the eggplant extra crispy, but you can also substitute with corn starch or flour.
How to Make Chinese Eggplants with Garlic Sauce
What are Chinese Eggplants?
Chinese eggplants are longer and thinner than American eggplants.
While you can make this recipe with any eggplants you have on hand, I really recommend using Chinese or at least Asian eggplants – they taste SO much better!
Asian eggplants have thinner skins and less seeds, so they’re much sweeter and creamier. They don’t have the mushy or bitter taste that giant American eggplants have.
You can find Chinese eggplants at any Asian grocery store – or you can grow your own, which is what I did :)
Read more: How to Grow Chinese String Eggplants Indoors
How to Choose Chinese Eggplants
The key to a great tasting eggplant dish is good quality eggplants.
I know, it sounds obvious, but if you’re not used to eating eggplant you may not know what to look for at the grocery store.
Sweet, tender eggplants will have shiny, glossy skin. If you gently press on it, the flesh will be plump with a bit of give.
If the purple color is dull or matte, the eggplant is starting to get old.
When you cut open the eggplant, the flesh should be creamy white with very few seeds.
If there are lots of seeds or the flesh has turned yellow, then the eggplant is a bit old. Over mature eggplant tends to taste bitter.
Soaking Eggplants in a Salt Brine
If you have eggplants that are a little overripe, with lots of seeds, you can try to remove some of the bitterness by soaking the eggplants in a salt brine.
Cut up the eggplants into bite-sized pieces and then place them in a bowl of water with about 1 tablespoon of salt.
Place a bowl on top of the eggplants to act as a weight so that they stay submerged in the brine.
Leave the eggplants to soak for up to 30 minutes, then strain and pat dry.
I grew these Chinese eggplants indoors, but left them a little too long, so they started turning yellow and had lots of seeds inside. Soaking them in a salt brine helps remove some of the bitterness from over-mature eggplants.
The key to this simple, yet tasty dish is garlic and ginger!
The aromatics really enhance the flavor of the sauce and give the eggplant lots of umami. I use about 1 clove of garlic per eggplant.
I always have garlic on hand, but until I learned a trick for storing ginger, I never really had ginger.
To store ginger for months, place it in a jar of water. Make sure the knob of ginger is entirely submerged and leave in the fridge. It should keep for a very long time, so you’ll always have ginger available!
Chinese Eggplants in Garlic Sauce Recipe
I never liked eggplants.. until I had this dish! Now I'm obsessed. Make this saucey, savory, garlicky eggplant dish and prepare to be blown away.
- 2 Chinese eggplants, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon potato starch
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon potato starch
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1" knob of ginger, minced
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- Drizzle of sesame oil, for finishing
- De-stem the eggplant and cut into bite sized pieces.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce.
- Sprinkle the dry eggplant pieces with potato starch until all the pieces have an even, thin layer.
- In a large wok or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Stir fry the eggplant for 5 minutes, flipping until all the skins are golden brown and the flesh is soft and tender.
- Lower the heat to low, and add in the garlic and ginger. Stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Pour in the sauce. The soy sauce reduces quickly, so remove from heat if necessary and stir until all the eggplant pieces are coated and the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze. Top with scallions.
- Transfer to a plate and finish with a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with rice.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 989mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g
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