This punchy pan-fried eggplant recipe is inspired by Chinese and Japanese flavors. Serve hot or at room temperature, over rice or as a side dish.
- 3 small eggplants (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- About 3 tablespoons neutral-tasting cooking oil, like avocado, canola, or refined coconut
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 small or 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (See Note)
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- Fresh cilantro or basil, for serving
- Crushed peanuts, for serving (See Note)
- Trim the eggplants and cut them into large-ish (about 2-inch) chunks. Place a layer of sliced eggplant into a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Continue layering in the eggplant and sprinkling each layer with salt. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes.
- When the eggplant looks sweaty, rinse it under running water, transfer to a kitchen towel, and pat dry.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer in the skillet and cover tightly with a lid. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Remove the eggplant from the skillet and cook the second batch, adding more oil as needed. Remove all the eggplant and set aside.
- Add about a teaspoon of the cooking oil along with the sesame oil to the skillet. Add the onion and cook until it’s starting to soften and brown, about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and fish sauce (if using) to the skillet, followed by the eggplant. Gently stir to coat the eggplant and turn the heat off.
- Transfer the eggplant to a serving platter and sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.
- You can substitute with a regular white onion or shallots.
- If there’s a nut allergy situation, you can substitute peanuts with toasted sesame seeds.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 170
- Carbohydrates: 9.7 g
- Fiber: 5.5 g
- Protein: 3.1 g
Keywords: eggplant, chinese, japanese, ginger, red onion