clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Soy-glazed pan-fried eggplant sprinkled with crushed peanuts and cilantro on a vintage oval platter on a pink tablecloth

Asian-Inspired Pan-Fried Eggplant

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan


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)


  1. 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.
  2. When the eggplant looks sweaty, rinse it under running water, transfer to a kitchen towel, and pat dry.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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