Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant. Tender eggplant cooked in a spicy, savoury garlic sauce fried with aromatic dried red chilies, green onions, and ginger. This delicious Chinese eggplant recipe is ready in 30 minutes. Great as a side dish or as a main course.
What is Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant?
This spicy eggplant recipe is a delicious Chinese dish packed with lots of flavor, umami and spice! The eggplant is coated in cornstarch and fried in oil. Then seasoned with a tasty spicy soy garlic sauce. You'll often find variations of this Chinese recipe at many Chinese restaurants or takeout. Eggplant lovers will definitely enjoy this dish!
I personally love to serve this as a vegetable side dish with jasmine rice and a protein. It's absolutely divine in taste and it's one of my favorite ways to enjoy eggplant.
Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
Note: Most Asian grocery stores will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Any Asian Eggplant: like Japanese or Chinese eggplant or substitute with regular eggplant
- Cornstarch or potato starch
- Neutral oil: like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil. Avoid olive oil, coconut oil or any heavy scented oils.
- Green onion
- Dried red chili peppers
Spicy garlic sauce:
- Regular soy sauce: or substitute with low sodium soy sauce or light soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, substitute with tamari sauce, coconut aminos or a gluten-free soy sauce of your choice.
- Dark soy sauce
- Oyster sauce: or sub with vegetarian stir fry sauce
- Shaoxing wine: or dry sherry wine
- Rice vinegar or white vinegar
- Corn starch or potato starch
- Crushed red chili flakes: or red pepper flakes. Or substitute with chili paste or chili oil.
How to make Spicy Garlic Eggplant
Make the Sauce
In a small bowl, combine your sauce ingredients as listed and set aside.
Slice your unpeeled eggplant vertically into quarter long strips. Then cut the strips into 1.5-inch-long pieces. Transfer eggplant pieces to a large bowl. Pour cornstarch over eggplant. Using your hands, coat chopped eggplant in cornstarch. Note: The cornstarch helps the sauce cling onto your eggplant.
In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add coated eggplant and fry until 80% cooked. Remove and set aside.
Reduce to low-medium heat. Into wok, add another tablespoon of oil and add ginger, red chilis and green onions. Fry for 10 seconds.
Add Eggplant and Sauce
Then add eggplant and pour sauce overtop.
Gently and quickly toss everything together until eggplant is coated in sauce. Remove off heat and enjoy!
Storage & Reheating
This dish will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, microwave for 2-3 minutes until hot. Or stir fry on medium heat in a pan on the stovetop.
- Overcooking is better in this case. Eggplant is a tricky vegetable to cook but it's always best to overcook it to soften it. If you undercook it, it will have a very unpleasant taste.
- Use gentle tossing motion. Since eggplant is also very tender and loses its shape with heat, it’s important to scoop from underneath with a wok spatula and to be GENTLE. I would recommend using the flipping motion of your forearm to toss the eggplant as the wok spatula can be a bit harsh.
Where can I buy Chinese Eggplant?
Any Asian or Chinese grocer should carry this item in the produce aisle. You may also use Japanese eggplant or any eggplant that is long and slender.
Can I use normal eggplant?
Yes, you may but the beauty to the Chinese eggplant is that most of the flesh is covered with that gorgeous purple skin. Whereas the regular eggplant has more white flesh than skin. But at the end of the day, this is about taste and both breeds work fine for this recipe.
Does Chinese eggplant taste different than regular eggplant?
It's slightly sweeter and less bitter since it's completely seedless.
Other Chinese recipes you may like!
- Chinese Hoisin Eggplant Stir-Fry
- Choy Sum With Sizzling Oil
- Garlic Bok Choy
- Chinese Broccoli Stir-Fry
- Broccoli With Garlic Sauce
- Chinese Braised Tofu
- Spicy Gochujang Sesame Tofu
Easy Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (30-min)
- 2 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (for a vegan version, sub with Vegetarian Stir Fry Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing Cooking Wine
- 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Slice your unpeeled eggplant vertically into quarter long strips. Then cut the strips into 1.5-inch-long pieces. Transfer to a large bowl. Pour cornstarch over eggplant. Using your hands, coat chopped eggplant in cornstarch. Note: The cornstarch helps the sauce cling onto your eggplant.
- In a wok or pan over medium high heat, add ¼ cup vegetable oil. Once oil is hot, add eggplant. Fry until 80% cooked. Remove from wok and set aside.
- Reduce to low-medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil along with dried red chilies, ginger, and green onions. Fry for 5-10 seconds.
- Add back in eggplant. Pour sauce overtop.
- Gently and quickly toss until eggplant is coated in sauce. Remove off heat and enjoy!
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