Eggplant in garlic sauce is a quick and easy vegetable side dish that comes together in 10 minutes. Savory and garlicky with a spicy kick!
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables and this recipe comes straight out of my dad's former Chinese take out restaurant. The only difference is that we are not deep frying the eggplant in oil.
Deep frying the eggplant makes it super tender and delicious but I wanted to create a less oily and healthier version while still maintaining the same yummy flavors of the garlic sauce.
The tender eggplant is coated in a savory and slightly sweet garlic sauce and comes together in 10 minutes. Eat it with a bowl of rice or along with other main dishes and you've got yourself a delicious meal!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Chinese eggplant
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- For the sauce
- Shacha sauce- optional but highly recommended to add umami flavor
- Soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce- for a deep color, optional
- Shaoxing wine
- Water- or chicken broth
- Potato starch- corn starch can be substituted
- Chili Flakes
How to Make Eggplant in Garlic Sauce
Whisk sugar, vinegar, shacha sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, shaoxing wine, water, potato starch, and chili flakes in a bowl and set aside.
Add 2 tb of oil to a pan and fry eggplant for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
In the same pan, add sesame oil and sauté garlic and ginger for 1 minute.
Add sauce mixture and eggplant and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Don't skimp on the oil. This dish is usually made by deep frying the eggplant in a pool of oil. I experimented with different levels of oil in this recipe to use the least amount of oil while still making this dish tasty. If you don't use enough, the eggplant can be tough and leathery.
- Add shacha sauce to take this dish to the next level. A little goes a long way to add a level of dimension to this eggplant and garlic sauce.
This dish is awesome as is but if you'd like to bulk it up with protein, add ground pork, chicken, beef, turkey, or crumbled firm tofu for a wholesome meal.
What is shacha sauce?
Shacha sauce is Chinese barbeque sauce made with oil, dried fish, garlic, ginger, shallots, sesame, dried shrimp, and chili powder. Bull Head's brand is the most popular and can be found in Asian grocery stores and online.
This sauce adds amazing savory and umami flavors to dishes and can be used in stir-fries, soups like hot pot, and marinades.
Give it a try and you might include it as kitchen staple and start adding it to dishes for an extra boost in flavor.
What is Chinese eggplant?
Chinese eggplant is longer and has a thinner skin. It has less seeds and is less bitter than regular eggplant. I highly recommend finding Chinese eggplant for this traditional dish.
When selecting Chinese eggplant, pick ones that are smooth and free of brown and wrinkly spots.
If you use a regular eggplant, I recommend peeling off the tough skin.
To prepare the Chinese eggplant for this dish, cut off 1-2 inches from the stem and discard as this part is usually tough.
Chop the eggplant in half inch slices on a bias (diagonal).
Ideas for Serving
Serve this with a bowl of steamed rice to soak up the delicious sauce. Eggplant in garlic sauce is also a great side or main dish served along with protein based dishes like:
Eggplant in Garlic Sauce
- ½ lb eggplant ½ inch slices on a bias
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger minced
- 1 scallion thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon vinegar
- ½ teaspoon shacha sauce Bull Head
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon potato starch
- ⅛ teaspoon chili flakes
- Whisk sauce ingredients and set aside.
- In a pan on medium heat, add oil and fry the eggplant for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add sesame oil and sauté garlic and ginger for 1 minute.
- Add sauce mixture and eggplant and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with scallions. Happy nomming!
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.