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Chinese eggplant stir-fry on a white plate.

Eggplant Stir-Fry with Garlic and Basil

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  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese-American
  • Diet: Vegan


This Chinese-inspired stir-fry can be served as a meatless main course, or as a side.


  • 2 large Chinese eggplants (3/4 to 1 pound)* [see note below]
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • Fine sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar*
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 medium white or red onion
  • About 8 medium basil leaves, torn


  1. Halve the eggplants lengthwise, then cut each half on a diagonal into 3/4-inch pieces.
  2. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the avocado oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the eggplant – it should be mostly in a single layer, but some overlapping pieces are okay. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cover tightly with a lid. Cook undisturbed until the eggplant is golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Then flip and continue cooking until the eggplant is golden all over, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, mix up the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, cornstarch, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Set aside.
  4. When the eggplant is ready, remove it from the skillet and set aside.
  5. Add the onion to the skillet and cook just until it’s lightly brown but still crunchy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Then add the eggplant back in, along with the sauce and basil. Immediately toss to coat the eggplant and continue cooking just until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds more.


  • If you can’t find Chinese eggplant, you can use globe or Sicilian instead. I do recommend salting those first, though – see instructions about the recipe card.
  • If you only have seasoned rice vinegar, go ahead and use it – just skip the maple syrup.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 135
  • Sugar: 250 mg
  • Fat: 8.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.5 g
  • Fiber: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g