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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 jasmine rice, cauliflower rice, rice noodles, black rice or even quinoa! See 45-second video!

Chinese eggplant recipe with Szechuan sauce, chilies and peanuts

The other day, I bought some beautiful Chinese eggplant at the farmers market and was going through the list of asian eggplant recipes in my mind, when I remembered a stunning 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. The eggplant is succulent and flavorful, a fun way to cook it! For more delicious ways to cook with eggplant, please take a peek at our 20+ Best Eggplant Recipes.

How to make Chinese Eggplant | 30-Second Video! 

Why You’ll Love This Chinese EggplanT!

  • Perfect Texture – The eggplant is deliciously caramelized with crispy charred edges. It is crispy, not soggy and uses a minimum amount of oil.
  • Amazing Flavor– spicy, garlicky, subtly sweet. Better then a restaurant!
  • It is vegan– It makes a light main dish or a great side dish. For extra protein serve it with our crispy tofu!
  • It’s adaptable! Feel free to use this same technique with other vegetables- or add zucchini or bell peppers.
Chinese Eggplants.

Chinese Eggplant Ingredient Notes

  • Chinese or Japanese eggplant- both are long and slender, with few seeds, and hold up well in stir fries.
  • Dried Red Chilies- Keep in mind, you never eat these chilies– they just give the oil a little spicy heat, permeating the whole dish. They are quite spicy!
  • Szechuan Sauce– A magical combination of Szechuan peppercorns, ginger, garlic, vinegar, garlic chili paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, 5-spice and sweetener. Feel free to use gluten-free liquid aminos. The Szechuan Peppercorns are zingy and numbing, an acquired taste, for sure! Feel free to use black peppercorns instead if you prefer.

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.     

How to make Chinese Eggplant:

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

STEP TWO– Once all the eggplant are cut ( 4 x 10-inch eggplants), place in a bowl of salted water for 20 minutes. Cover with a plate so the eggplant is submerged. Let sit 20-30 mins.

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

Chinese eggplant Szechuan sauce, chilies, garlic and onions.

 STEP THREE- 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.

STEP FOUR– Drain the eggplant, rinse, then pat dry with a kitchen towel. Then coat in cornstarch. This helps the eggplant get crispy.

STEP FIVE– Sear the eggplant over medium high heat in an extra-large flat skillet, versus a round wok. The eggplant need a little time to cook through and get each side brown. It is much easier to do this in a flat skillet.

Sear each side of the eggplant pieces. Fry 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. When the eggplant pieces are deeply golden, even slightly charred, set them aside.

STEP SIX– 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.)

Pour in the prepped Szechuan sauce. Cook it for 20 seconds then add the Eggplant back into the skillet, gently coating. This will smell and taste amazing!

What To Serve With Chinese Eggplant

TO SERVE- Place the fragrant eggplant in a serving dish, or divide among bowls over Jasmine rice, brown rice, black rice or quinoa and top with green onions or chives and roasted peanuts.

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

Chinese Eggplant FAQS

Can you eat the skin of eggplant?

Yes the skin is completely edible and has a lot of nutrients.

What is the difference between Chinese eggplant and regular eggplant?

Chinese eggplant is thin and long with fewer seeds which makes it less bitter and some say it is slightly sweet. The plants tend to be prolific producers.
The most common eggplant is globe eggplant it is bigger and fleshier.

What is Szechuan in Chinese cooking?

Coming from the Sichuan Provence in Southwestern China, Szechuan cuisine is usually spicy and contains ingredients such as: dried red chilies, Szechuan peppercorns, ginger, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, 5-spice, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, to name a few.

What is Chinese Eggplant Called?

Chinese Eggplant is called Oriental Charm or Pingtung Long. Long and skinny with with fewer seeds they are less bitter and will hold its shape when cooked in stir fries.

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!

xoxo Sylvia

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Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

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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


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.


Units 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:

  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns ( or sub regular peppercorns)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste ( or sub 1 teaspoon chili flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or mirin)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or alternative
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice

Garnish with scallions and roasted peanuts or Peanut Chili crunch


  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.


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.


  • 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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  1. Great! Made with block of tofu, drained, dried and covered with corn starch. Fried in 2T oil. Used regular eggplant instead of Asian and added bell peppers. Yummy!

  2. This is superb,,perfectly balanced. Sometimes I add a half cup or so of perfectly cooked chick peas and sea on brown rice with a green vegetable,

  3. Oh wow! First time I have tried one of your recipes! Soooo good. I agree with other reviewers to double the sauce. Yah cooking the eggplant is a pain but you’re right— the reward is wonderful. So fun to find your website and I am looking forward to trying more recipes.

  4. Good recipe. I’ve been making versions of this dish for years. Tried this yesterday and it’s my new favorite. My only alteration was to add some cilantro along with the peanuts at the end.

  5. Absolutely amazing! I had everything on hand, and a surplus of Japanese eggplant in my garden! I will be making this recipe again without a doubt!

  6. Hi I’ve made this many times, would it be ok to cook up the eggplant a day ahead and then reheat with the sauce the following day? Your recipes are always great!

    1. Hi Barbara- it seems like that should work ok? Not positive though, haven’t personally tried. Let us know how it goes. 🙂

  7. This is AMAZING!!! First time I made it, I didn’t have any Szechuan peppercorns so I used 3-4 dried birds eye peppers in their place (would only recommend this substitution if you are a fan of spice!). Now I use both and it is perfection! I typically also double the sauce and then use the extra to make a batch of crispy tofu that I mix in with the eggplant + roasted green beans or broccolini (after they are all cooked separately). Comes together pretty quickly, full of flavor, and stores/reheats well! Thanks for another fantastic recipe!

  8. I’ve made this 3 times now this summer with Japanese eggplant from my local farmers market. So amazingly delicious! I’ve doubled the sauce each time and prepared tofu the same as the eggplant and then tossed it all together with roasted green beans or broccolini. Easy weeknight meal with lots of leftovers that keep and reheat well! Love all your recipes, but this is my current favorite! Thank you!!

    1. Do you mean roast it? You could give it a go. Cut the same way, toss with oil and roast in a 400F until edges are crispy. Then toss with the sauce in a pan.

  9. This is a bold dish good for dealing with a lot of eggplant! I am glad I found it and will use it again to make the fantastic sauce. Crushing the sichuan peppercorns (I got mine online and had them in the freezer) with the side of a big knife was easy.

  10. This recipe took us on a journey–to find the ingredients and make do with what we had (regular eggplant), while boldly setting forth in a small space (give yourself plenty of room!). I have to say, the meal was…interesting, certainly unlike anything we had eaten before. I would omit the Chinese 5 Spice. It is a stand- alone spice with a strong anise and cinnamon flavor-great on BBQ chicken but not so good with eggplant. Also, if you use Sezchuan peppercorns, grind them into a powder, otherwise it is like biting into gravel. But we did eat it up, and enjoyed the adventure. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. We made this recipe and loved our homemade Chinese five spice powder in it, thought it went perfectly with the eggplant. And we just barely ground the Szechuan peppers in a mortar and pestle and no sensation of “ gravel”. Maybe you have unusual Szechuan peppercorns and five spice powder…..

  11. Everyone at the dinner table loved this eggplant recipe. I will definitely make it lots when it’s eggplant season in my garden. It was spicy enough for us with just the Szechuan peppercorns and chili garlic sauce, I didn’t add the dried chili peppers. We are a medium salsa family if that gives other readers an idea of spiciest factor.

  12. That’s a keeper.
    Wow awesome recipe
    I used an electric griddle to brown all the the eggplant at once then finished everything in the wok. Came together very easily.
    Didn’t have or use the wine. I didn’t have 5 spice. Will do for next time.

  13. This is a restaurant quality recipe. Perhaps better then my local restaurant.. I double the sauce because it is so good.
    The prep takes some time, but the reward is a extraordinary dish.
    Thank goodness for my friends garden overproducing Japanese eggplant!.

  14. This sounds delicious however I don’t have Chinese 5 spice nor the ingredients to make it. Is there any other substitute?

  15. So so good!!! It has all the flavors. I used Japanese eggplants from my garden to make it this time. Worth every step. Came out so good! So happy. Thank you!!!

  16. Second time making this delicious dish. I swapped half the eggplant for your Crispy Tofu. Rave reviews from family!

  17. Second time making this amazing recipe. It is a no fail. Second time around had to be keto friendly. Made the following substitutions and lacks for nothing compared to Sylvia’s original recipe. Only made 2 substitutions: Xanthan gum instead of corn starch, and keto brown sugar (used 2 tbsp. Truvia brown sugar). Thank you for sharing your recipe with us!

  18. I really enjoy the Scezuan sauce recipie for our wok-dinners, and I liked this recepie so much that I wanted to grow my own Japanese style Eggplants just to secure the supply 😀 I harvested the first yesterday and can’t wait to prepare this dish tonight!

  19. Confession: I haven’t made this yet but I can tell this will work beautifully. I’m so glad to have the sauce recipe! It annoys me to buy overpriced sauces that are easy to make with ingredients I usually have on hand or can substitute for.

  20. Just perfect Sylvia! I had two sorry looking eggplants sitting on my counter and I’ve decided to consult your recipes as I needed a quick fix. Bingo! The recipe hit all the spots! The szechuan pepper is soooo good. Thank you for being my saviour, keep ‘em coming please!

  21. I *hate* when people do this to perfectly good recipes (go find one similar to what you’re looking for, you lazy bum!) but this looks so delicious I have to ask; have you tried this with zucchini or any other veggie? I try and try, but I just don’t like eggplant. I know I’m missing out!

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