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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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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Comments

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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…..

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!.

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

  10. 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!!!

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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!