Delicious tender eggplant served with a spicy and umami-packed homemade garlic sauce. This recipe provides all the flavors from the classic Chinese Eggplant "Fish Fragrant Eggplant or Yu Xiang Qiezi" that you can get in most Chinese Restaurants but in a healthier way and using products that you will be easily able to find.
What makes our Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce so good?
Our recipe is a healthier version of your regular Restaurant Chinese Eggplant or most recipes you can find online. We avoid deep-frying or pan-frying the eggplant or aubergine and instead, we steam it. Deep-frying the eggplant means using a lot of oil. Steaming the eggplants works absolutely amazing in terms of texture and of course, your dish will be much much healthier and easier to digest.
It's vegan. Some recipes include oyster sauce, fish sauce, and ground pork or ground chicken. Our version of Chinese Eggplant is vegan, using vegan oyster sauce.
Our recipe is really easy to prepare and make. Eggplant lovers! This recipe will become a favorite in your recipe lists. Because we are not deep-frying the eggplant, there is no need to soak or coat the vegetable. This will make the whole cooking process easier and faster. All you need to do to cook your eggplant is cut it and steam it for about 10 minutes.
We use easy-to-find ingredients. Some recipes call for Chinese products that most of us don't have at home such as Shaoxing Wine, bean paste, chili paste, or Sichuan peppercorns. To make our homemade garlic sauce you need ingredients such as dark and light soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, vegetable stock, and optionally, vegetable oyster sauce.
Our recipe provides amazing flavors. Steaming the eggplant and using simple ingredients to make this dish won't impact the flavor of your classic Eggplant with garlic sauce. We love Asian flavors and this recipe is simply delicious and one of our favorite ways to enjoy aubergines or eggplants.
It's spicy. If you love spicy food as much as we do, you will love our Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce recipe. We use fresh chili and that provides a lovely spice touch. If you like your dish milder, simply reduce the amount of chili or skip this ingredient.
Our Chinese Eggplant is:
- Can be made gluten-free
- Healthier than the classic recipe
- Made with steamed eggplant (instead of deep-fried)
- Chinese-style recipe
How to make our Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chinese eggplant. This Asian Eggplant recipe is made using Chinese eggplants, which are less bitter and contain fewer seeds than regular eggplants. These are thinner and longer than the regular eggplants. You can find them in most Asian supermarkets. Alternatively, you can use Japanese eggplants, or regular eggplant as we do for our Miso Aubergine recipe. You may need to adapt the steaming time. You can find many different types of eggplants and they will all work for this recipe.
Fresh chili peppers. For our Chinese Aubergine recipe, we use fresh red chilis. You can use bird's eye chilis or chili flakes. If you are using dried chilis, make sure you hydrate them in water before using them.
Garlic and ginger paste. Fresh garlic and fresh ginger are the perfect ingredients to add flavor to your garlic sauce. We like making a paste as the flavors blend into the sauce better but you can finely chop them or slice them.
Red bell pepper. We like adding some bell pepper to our Eggplant with Garlic Sauce. Roughly chopped, it adds color, texture, and a sweet touch to the dish. You can use small sweet peppers, green bell pepper, or Italian peppers too.
Green onions or scallions. We use the green part to garnish the dish, and the white part of the scallions to make the sauce. You can use shallots or white onion to add to the sauce if you prefer.
Sesame oil. We drizzle some sesame oil before serving to add umami.
Homemade garlic sauce.
Homemade garlic sauce Ingredients.
Vegetarian Oyster Sauce. We always have this at home. We use it for dishes such as Chop Suey and other Chinese recipes we make often. You can find Vegan or Vegetarian Oyster Sauce in your local Asian Supermarket. It is called mushroom sauce as well. If you want to skip this ingredient, you can add some mushroom powder or simply skip this ingredient.
Sweetener. Adding a little sweetness makes a huge difference in the taste of your garlic sauce. We use brown sugar but you can use maple syrup, agave, palm sugar, monk fruit, pomegranate molasses, or another type of sweetener you like.
Corn starch. This ingredient will make the sauce thicker. You can substitute this potato starch or all-purpose flour.
Water or vegetable stock. You can use water or vegetable stock if you want to add more flavor to the sauce.
- Cut the eggplant. Wash the eggplants and remove the stem. Then cut the eggplant into two-inches pieces (around 5 cm) and quarter each piece.
- Steam the eggplant. To steam the eggplant, you can use a steamer basket. We use a small colander that we place inside a big pot with water. Then we cover the pot and let the eggplant steam for about 8-10 minutes or until fork-tender. Once the eggplant is ready, transfer it to a plate and reserve.
- To cook the stir-fry, you can use a large wok or a large skillet. Heat some vegetable oil to medium-high heat and add the red chilis. Stir for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and ginger paste, the white part of the scallions finely sliced, and the red pepper roughly chopped. Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add the steamed eggplant. Once the eggplant and sauce are in the wok, gently stir well making sure the eggplant pieces don't break.
- Add the sauce to the wok or skillet and garnish the Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by adding the green part of the scallions finely sliced and a drizzle of sesame oil. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Add protein. Some recipes call for ground pork. To keep this recipe vegan, you can add soy mince, tofu, or soy curls.
- Add more veggies. We add red bell peppers but there are plenty of other options that pair well with this recipe such as carrots, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, green beans, bok choy, baby corn, etc.
- Adjust the spice level. You can make this dish milder or spicier depending on your spice level preferences. Reduce or increase the amount of red chilis. Our recipe comes out medium spicy.
- Grill, roast, or air-fry the eggplant. Instead of steaming the eggplant, you can grill or roast it for a smoky flavor. Brush the eggplant with oil and cook it over high heat until charred and tender.
This recipe makes for an amazing main dish if you serve it on fried rice or steamed white or brown rice. That is our favorite way to have this delicious Eggplant with Garlic Sauce. Another great option is to serve the eggplant on noodles if you prefer noodles over rice.
Store and Reheat
Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. We don´t recommend freezing this meal.
To reheat this Chinese Eggplant, you can use a microwave or a pan.
FAQ & Tips
Where can I buy Chinese Eggplant?
You can find them fresh in most Asian supermarkets all year round.
Is the Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce recipe naturally vegan?
No, normally it contains oyster sauce and occasionally it can contain ground pork. This version is a vegan version that uses vegan oyster sauce and eggplant and red pepper as main ingredients.
Can I use regular eggplant for this recipe?
Yes! And the recipe will still be delicious. Omnivore's Cookbook has a lovely recipe using regular eggplant. If you want to make our recipe using this type of eggplant, simply adjust the steaming time until the eggplant is fork-tender. Try to get smaller eggplants as they will contain less seeds. Another great eggplant type to use for this recipe is Japanese eggplants. They are longer than regular eggplant but darker in color than Chinese eggplant.
What can I use if I don't have Vegan Oyster Sauce?
This may be a bit difficult to get but if you have an Asian supermarket nearby, they will most likely have a vegetarian oyster sauce made with mushrooms or you can find it online. You can use mushroom powder as well or simply skip this ingredient.
What else can I use the Garlic Sauce for?
You can find all the information about our homemade Chinese Garlic Sauce and some inspiration to make more dishes with it here.
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
- 3 chinese eggplants
- 2 fresh chilis
- ½ red bell pepper
- 2 scallions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece ginger
- Sesame oil for drizzling
Ingredients for Sauce
- 2 ½ tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup water or vegetable stock
- Wash the eggplants and remove the stem. Cut the eggplants into 2-inch pieces and quarter each piece.
- Steam the eggplants in a steamer basket or a colander placed in a pot with water for about 8-10 minutes or until fork-tender and set aside.
- Finely slice the red chillis and scallions. Finely mince or press the garlic cloves and ginger and roughly chop the red pepper.
- In a wok or a large skillet, heat some vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the red chilis and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste, the white part of the scallions, and the red pepper. Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix the sauce ingredients: light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetable oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water or vegetable stock.
- Add the sauce to the wok or skillet.
- Add the steamed eggplant to the wok or skillet, and gently stir well to combine. Make sure the eggplant pieces don't break.
- Garnish with the green part of the scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil. Turn off the heat and serve.
- Serve with steamed or fried rice, or noodles.
- Make the dish spicier by adding some chili sesame oil or chili flakes.
- Make this dish milder, by reducing the amount of chilis used.
If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram @Sixhungryfeet. We are always happy to see your creations!