Calling all you Eggplant lovers out there! Here’s a flavor bomb you won’t want to miss – Spicy Chinese Eggplant with Szechuan Sauce -a tasty, easy vegan dinner recipe you can serve over rice, cauliflower rice, rice noodles, black rice or even quinoa! See 45-second video!

Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

I picked up some eggplant at the farmers market the other day thinking I would make this baked Ratatoullie Recipe, but then somehow I got a hankering for something spicier. Oops, change of plans!

I remembered a dish we had in Shanghai a few years back, and dug up my old recipe notes. There it was in BOLD – Spicy Chinese Eggplant with Szechuan Sauce with a huge star and circle around it – a reminder to share it with you!

So here it is, and boy is this tasty! I can’t wait for you to give it a go.

Another vegan dinner recipe for you to try out!

How to make Spicy Chinese Eggplant | 30-Second Video! 

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Why this Chinese Eggplant works!

  • eggplant is crispy, not soggy
  • uses the minimum amount of oil
  • amazing flavor- spicy, garlicky, subtly sweet
  • it is vegan!
  • it’s easy!

How to make Chinese Eggplant:

It starts with cutting the eggplant into bite-sized pieces. Cut at a diagonal so each piece is like a triangle, about an inch thick at its thickest end.

Try to get get them roughly the same size for even cooking. Cut a wedge then turn the eggplant, cut again and turn.

TIP #1

 This works best with Japanese eggplant ( long and skinny) versus globe eggplant.

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Once all the eggplant are cut ( 4 x 10-inch eggplants), place in a bowl of salted water for 20 minutes.

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

TIP #2 

Salting the eggplant helps the eggplant soak up less oil when stir-frying.

Cover with a plate so the eggplant is submerged. Let sit 20-30 mins.

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

TIP #3

 Mise en place  ( get things prepped and ready) 

While the eggplant soaks, prep the garlic, ginger and Szechuan sauce and place them by the stove.

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Drain the eggplant, rinse, then pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Then coat in cornstarch. This helps the eggplant get crispy.

Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

TIP #4:

Sear the eggplant in an extra-large flat skillet, versus a round wok. The eggplant need a little time to cook through and get each side brown. This is difficult to do in a wok.

Then begin searing each side.

Sear them in two batches, and this is where you will need a little patience. Each batch will take about 10 minutes, and require to turn the eggplant over one by one to get each side golden.

Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

If you are in a hurry you can use two skillets, but it can be a lot to manage.

Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

So when the eggplant are deeply golden, even slightly charred, set them aside.

 Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Stir fry the ginger and garlic for a quick minute then add the chilies. Make sure to have your fan on!

Keep in mind, you never eat these chilies– they just give the oil a little spicy heat, permeating the whole dish.

 Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Then pour in the Szechuan sauce you’ve already prepped.

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Cook it for 20 seconds then add the Eggplant back into the skillet, gently coating.

This will smell amazing.

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Place it in a serving dish, or divide among bowls over brown rice, black rice or quinoa and top with scallions or chives and roasted peanuts.

Sometimes I’ll even top it with this Peanut Chili Crunch which adds great texture and flavor. Always nice to have on hand ( my husband looooooves this stuff!).

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

What I love about this Chinese Eggplant recipe is the eggplant is deliciously caramelized with crispy charred edges – the best texture!

Worth every minute you spend browning those sides.

And YES it is quite addictive!

Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Make this Chinese Eggplant soon, while eggplants are still available at your farmer’s market!

Enjoy!

And as always, if you make this, please rate and comment below. VERY Appreciated!!!

xoxo

Sylvia

More Chinese-inspired Recipes you may like:

 

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Stir-fried Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

Szechuan Eggplant

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main, vegan
  • Method: stovetop, stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Description

Chinese Eggplant with Szechuan Sauce with chilies and peanuts– a tasty, easy vegan dinner recipe! Serve with Rice, black rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa or rice noodles.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 lbs Japanese Eggplant  (about 4 x 10 inch eggplants)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • bowl of water
  • —-
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 24 tablespoons peanut oil ( or wok oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced
  • 510 dried red chilies

Szechuan Sauce:

Garnish with scallions and roasted peanuts or this Peanut Chili crunch


Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch thick half-moons or into bite-sized pieces ( see photos). Place in a big bowl covered with water and stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Cover with a plate and let stand 20-30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, chop the garlic and ginger and make the Szechuan Sauce.
  3. To make the Szechuan Sauce: Toast the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Crush. Place these along with the remaining ingredients ( soy, chili paste, sesame oil, rice vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, sugar, and five spice) in a small bowl and whisk. Set by the stove.
  4. Drain and rinse the eggplant and pat dry with a towel. Toss with the corn starch.
  5. Working in 2 batches, heat 1 -2 tablespoons oil in an extra-large skillet over medium heat. Add half the eggplant spreading them out. You want to get both sides nice and golden, and the insides cooked through -so take your time here and dont rush this step. Let one side brown then turn them over using tongs. This will take about 10 minutes for each batch.  ( If in a hurry sometimes I’ll use 2 pans.) Set the eggplant aside.
  6. Add 1 more tablespoon oil to the skillet, and over medium heat, add the garlic and ginger, stirring for 2 minutes. Turn the fan on, add the dried chilis and stir one minute. Pour the Szechuan sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer for 20 seconds. Add the eggplant back into the skillet, tossing gently for about 1 minute. If it seems dry add a tablespoon of water to loosen.
  7. Place in a serving dish and top with scallions and optional peanuts.
  8. Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, black rice or rice noodles.

Notes

Be patient browning each side of the eggplant. This will take a little time but reward you greatly.

I’ve found that the flat surface of a skillet, verses using a wok is much easier to use to get those sides golden.

Feel free to sub cashews for the peanuts, of leave off completely.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 323
  • Sugar: 17.8 g
  • Sodium: 1110.4 mg
  • Fat: 21.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.6 g
  • Fiber: 7.4 g
  • Protein: 5.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Szechuan eggplant, stir fry eggplant, Chinese eggplant, stir fried eggplant, Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce

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Comments

    1. Hi George! I would brown it in the pan first, then set it aside, and add it right after you add the sauce. 🙂

  1. Really yummy and the pointers were spot on (esp not crowding the egg plant while it fries and not rushing it). Flavor meld together perfectly and the bit of green scallion and peanuts at the end make it look as well as taste like a show stopper.

  2. I am obsessed with this recipe! I have literally made it a dozen times now, and I just keep wanting to eat it again. I also spend longer and longer browning the eggplant each time because the results are so worth it.

  3. this was very good and tasted restaurant made. I left out
    the cornstarch, used half the amount of garlic, used the
    white wine I had rather than the mirin. I used a conventional
    eggplant, but I will use Japanese ones the next time
    thank you for this recipe!!

  4. Just WOW. So delicious. I love eggplant but almost never cook with it because I find it… difficult. My past efforts have mostly result in an oily, mushy inedible mess. But this was incredible. Your technique resulted in perfectly crisp eggplant – I’ll make this again and again! Thank you.

  5. Thank you, an excellent dish. I live on an island in the Mediterranean so I could not get the Asian eggplants. But I found using local globe eggplants first cut into circular slices and then each slice cut into 60 degree wedges from the centre leaves each wedge with enough of the outer skin in place to hold it together. I also discovered and enjoyed your peanut chilli crunch which I am finding very versatile. So a double thank you!

  6. I had this eggplant dish years a go .I made this dish with globe eggplant and it still was just as good as in restaurant. Thank you will make this and other recipes
    Of yours.

  7. Amazing flavor from such a simple recipe. Must follow all the steps …especially mise-en-place. Perpetually requested by the kids when they come to visit.

  8. absolutely delicious. i had no mirin, but i did not feel it was lacking in flavor. will make again and again. thanks for the recipe.

  9. This was delicious and the recipe is well written. I added red and yellow pepper strips for colour as I happened to have some on hand. I’ll definitely make this again. My kids may eat aubergine yet!

  10. I made this last night following the recipe and it was very good. I also added strips of red and yellow pepper for colour as I had some on hand. The recipe is well written. Thanks for the advice about taking the time to cook the eggplant. We’ll definitely make this again. .

  11. Delicious recipe and useful tips. I didn’t coat eggplant with cornstarch, but did brown on pan. Added Indian red pepper instead of red chilies. Thanks!

  12. This dish tastes phenomenal! Wow! The texture of the eggplant and flavors are top notch. I haven’t tasted anything better at Asian restaurants. My “other” feedback would be 1.) it took alot more oil than mentioned to cook the eggplant in batches. And 2.) it takes soooo long to prepare/cook. (it took me 4 separate batches) So, if you don’t mind standing over the stove for a while…watching and waiting IT IS SO WORTH IT. You have a tremendous skill for bringing balance in flavoring your dishes.

  13. Planning on making this today. Before I begin, Im curious about the step requiring the eggplant to be soaked. Is this step crucial? Would it make the eggplant soggy? Conversely, If I skip this step and drench them in cornstarch, would it make them too dry?

    Thank you! Cant wait to make this.

    1. It doesn’t make the eggplant soggy- soaking it makes it less bitter and also prevents oil from being absorbed- so less oily. That being said, I like your idea, you should try it!

  14. Just made this last night and it was amazing! i followed the recipe almost exactly and it is really a sound recipe. The cooking tips for the eggplant are key and the sauce is the perfect balance. It also really breaks down how to do a stir fry correctly. This goes in the regular rotation!

  15. This mix of textures and hotness is addictive. I’ve made it several times already and get regular cravings for this dish. Best recipe I found for eggplant so far. And I haven’t even found the Shechouan peppercorn yet (I used regular pepper).

  16. Wow! This was sooooo good! We’re trying to add in more vegan options into our meals and this was phenomenal! I omitted the dried red peppers since I couldn’t find them, I also added mushrooms and zucchini because I didn’t realize how small Japanese eggs plants are when I ordered them… but overall, seriously delicious meal. Next time I will just make it with the egg plant because it really did pair very well with the sauce. Thanks so much !

  17. This is a great recipe. I didn’t have five spice powder so I left that out and I actually added a little cornstarch (about 2-3 tsp) to the sauce to thicken it. I also added some sauteed cabbage and plant-based ground beef (needed to cook both anyway) then served over brown rice. The sauce was amazing and I look forward to trying this with the five spice powder next time. To everyone: the Szechuan peppercorn is really key and worth getting. Definitely a keeper in the rotation! Thanks!

  18. I just had to comment again. This recipe is delicious and one of our favorite. It’s got such great flavor and texture! And it’s still amazing heated as a leftover. It’s a keeper in our house. Thank you!!!

  19. What a wonderful dish! It’s a hit with my family. I especially liked using crushed peppercorns instead of whole because the flavor can be overwhelming when you bite into it.

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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