Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce – Pieces of melt-in-your-mouth eggplant are stir-fried in a rich, glossy, sweet, and savory sauce made with loads of garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and Serrano peppers. This dish is bursting with flavor and is so easy to make. Serve it on its own or as a vegetable side dish!
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If you’ve got a large eggplant you’re not sure what to do with, this simple and flavorful Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce recipe is a must-try!
It’s made with pieces of tender eggplant coated in a garlicky sweet and savory sauce that has just the right amount of kick. It’s even better than what you’d get from takeout and making it at home means you can skip the buffet lines at your favorite restaurant!
It’s a quick and easy recipe that comes together quickly as long as you’ve got everything prepped and ready to go. Like any stir-fry dish, preparation is key!
This vegetarian eggplant recipe can be made gluten-free with a simple switch from Soy sauce to tamari and using a gluten-free oyster sauce. So, there’s a way to adjust the ingredients to make it enjoyable for everyone!
Serve it as a main dish all on its own, trust me, the sauce makes the dish. On its own eggplant can be quite bitter but the irresistible sauce takes it to new levels. Or you can serve it over rice. Either way, keep this recipe on hand, you’ll start buying eggplants just to make this over and over again!
Ingredients for Eggplant with Garlic Sauce Recipe
- Large Eggplant: You’ll need 1 large eggplant for this recipe. American eggplants are usually larger with more seeds than Asian eggplants, which causes them to be a bit stronger and more bitter in flavor. If you can find the smaller, milder eggplant (also referred to as aubergine), by all means, use a couple of those instead.
- Garlic Cloves: Loads of garlic flavor in this sauce! We’re using 6 cloves. You can adjust the amount if you prefer a little less of the garlicky flavor.
- Sugar: A little sweet and salty balance is one of the signature flavor combinations in Chinese-inspired sauces.
- Salt: There are a few salty ingredients, namely the oyster sauce and soy sauce, so the sauce is mainly to draw out the water in the eggplant. You may want to season to taste afterwards as well.
- Oyster Sauce & Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Both sauces have similarities, however, oyster sauce is thicker and sweeter, so using them both gives it great flavor as well as a richer consistency.
- Water: We add water to the sauce to thin it out a bit.
- Serrano Pepper: Not a very hot pepper to begin with, and even less when we take out the seeds. It’s got a great flavor with a mild kick. Of course, if you want more heat you can add red pepper flakes.
- Cornstarch: This coats the eggplant helping to absorb the moisture, brown the outsides, and eventually, helps to thicken the sauce.
- Avocado Oil: I love using avocado oil to sauté veggies, but you can also use olive oil if that’s what you have on hand.
- Green Onion & Sesame Seeds: The finishing touch to the entire dish. Giving it the nutty sesame and mild onion flavor that is so popular in Asian-inspired recipes.
How to Cook Eggplant on the Stove
Step 1: Cut the eggplant into 1-inch pieces and place them onto a paper towel. Make sure they’re all similar in size so that they cook evenly. Season with salt and massage them a bit so that they are evenly coated with salt. Set them aside for 5-10 minutes.
Step 2: When the 10 minutes is up, use a fresh paper towel to squeeze out the water and pat them dry. Place the eggplant back into a bowl and sprinkle the pieces with cornstarch. Set that aside.
Step 4: To another mixing bowl, add minced garlic, peppers, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water. Mix well to combine and set aside.
Step 5: Heat the avocado oil over medium heat and cook the eggplant until nice and tender.
Step 6: Pour in the sweet and savory sauce and continue cooking, while stirring continuously for 10 minutes. Add in the green onions and sesame seeds. Season with salt to taste, and enjoy!
- If you’ve got extra time, prepare the eggplant even earlier and allow it to sit in the salt for even longer. Up to an hour is a bonus!
- Serve with white rice, brown rice, or even cauliflower rice. Sometimes we like to switch it up and have it with stir fry noodles.
- You can even serve it as a vegetable side dish along with any protein. Chicken, fish, beef, pork, or tofu.
- Store leftovers for up to 3 days in the fridge when kept in an airtight container.
- Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop in a skillet. You may need to add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce again.
Can I make this recipe with other veggies?
I don’t see why not! I would imagine it would be just as tasty using zucchini, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, or carrots. I might even try mixed vegetables one day.
Do I need to peel eggplant skin first?
No, you don’t. Eggplant skin is edible and tender when it’s cooked until soft. It helps to keep the eggplant’s shape, otherwise, it may get mushy easier when it has nothing to hold it together.
Can I freeze eggplant with garlic sauce?
I wouldn’t. Even though we squeeze a lot of the water out, eggplant still contains water. Once it thaws it becomes a weird texture and is not as pleasing to eat.
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
- 1 large eggplant cut into 1 inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic more or less if desired, minced
- sea salt
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 small serrano pepper cut in half and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- green onion for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Prepare all of the ingredients. Season eggplant with sea salt (about 1/2-1 teaspoon) & massage it few times, let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Next, squeeze the water out of eggplant and sprinkle cornstarch, mix and set aside.
- Into the bowl add minced garlic, cut in half serene pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce, water, sugar and mix well.
- Using a non stick skillet heat oil over medium/low heat, add eggplant and cook till nice and tender, about 10 minutes, stirring few times.
- Pour in the sauce mixture and bring it to a gently boil.
- Stir and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. After garnish with green onion & sesame seeds. Enjoy!
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