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Deep Fried Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

Crispy around the edges and buttery smooth on the inside, Chinese Deep Fried Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce is a beautifully rich dish that’s perfect on steamed rice. But there’s a trick to making sure your crispy eggplant turns out…well, crispy! And the right ingredients make all the difference when you stir-fry the crispy aubergine with the sauce. So read on for all that and the printable recipe.

The restaurant-style recipe is made vegan with vegetarian mushroom sauce instead of oyster sauce which makes it even more delicious. This is a dish for eggplant lovers but also for those who aren’t quite sure about eggplant (AKA aubergine). I mean, deep-frying makes everything taste better. Right?

Click here for the printable recipe.

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Video tutorial for Deep Fried Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Ingredients for Crispy Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce

To make your deep-fried crispy eggplant, you will need:

  • 2 Chinese Eggplants 
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • oil for frying

Chinese eggplants resemble the Globe eggplant except they are long and thin instead of wide and round. You might also find them labelled as Asian eggplant. Japanese eggplants are similar so if you can only get those, go for it! Both of these are preferable to the Globe eggplant which has more seeds and bitterness.

If you are out of cornstarch, you might try using potato starch or wheat starch. Others may work but I haven’t tried them in this particular recipe. Please let me know if you do!

As for frying oil, I usually use canola as it’s very affordable and accessible. But at high temperatures (especially if you re-use the oil), it can develop a slightly fishy odor. I don’t mind it, but if you do, try something more stable like peanut oil.

Spicy Garlic Stir-Fry Sauce Ingredients

For the Spicy Garlic Black Bean Sauce, you will need:

You should be able to find black bean garlic sauce easily in many grocery stores in the Asian foods aisle. However, vegetarian mushroom sauce is a bit harder to find so you may have to make a trip to your favourite Chinese grocery store. Luckily, they are available online too. 

Update June 7, 2020 Good news, fellow Canadians! T&T Supermarket (the biggest Chinese/Asian foods grocery chain) offers online shopping and delivery now! Woohoo! You should be able to get both these sauces and much much more.

How to make this Chinese Eggplant Recipe

As mentioned above, when you make this dish, try to get Chinese eggplants. They are long and skinny compared to the globe eggplants that are more common in Western cooking. They have thinner skins and are less bitter; true for eggplants, not for humans!

Prep the eggplant first

Cut them into 2 to 3″ long pieces, about 1/2″ thick. Then immediately submerge them in cold, salted water. You can use a small bowl or plate to weigh down the floaty pieces. This will prevent them from turning brown. Browning doesn’t change the taste, but it doesn’t look very nice. For best results, let them soak for 20 minutes. You can even do this step ahead of time; leave them in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, drain the eggplant very well but there’s no need to pat dry.

More Eggplant recipe:

The bit of moisture on the surface of the eggplant will help with the next step: coating in a combination of cornstarch, salt, and white pepper. Just mix with your hands so everything gets coated evenly.

Chinese eggplant coated with cornstarch

Prepare the Stir-Fry Ingredients

You’ll also want to get all the other ingredients ready before going to the stove. Two ingredients that you might need to get from an Asian speciality store or online are Vegetarian Mushroom Sauce and Black Bean Garlic Sauce. The Vegetarian Mushroom Sauce is made to replace oyster sauce in recipes. It’s very salty and savoury and I think it tastes even better than oyster sauce. Black Bean Garlic sauce is made with fermented black beans and has a strong flavour. Don’t use too much or your dish will be bitter. But used in just the right amounts and balanced with other seasonings, it’s absolutely wonderful. If you can only find Black Bean Sauce without garlic, that’s okay too. You can simply add a clove or two of extra garlic in this spicy garlic eggplant dish.

Take it to the stove

When you’re ready to start deep frying, heat a few inches of oil in a pot with high sides and a heavy base. A thick base helps the oil heat evenly and high sides prevent oil from bubbling over. For best results, use a thermometer to ensure the oil gets up to 365¯F. You want to make sure the oil stays around the same temperature throughout the cooking process. Fry the eggplant in small batches to maintain the high temperature, turning the pieces after a minute so they cook evenly. Fry each batch for about 3 minutes or until the exterior is just turning a little golden. Drain the eggplant on a paper towel-lined rack.

After the eggplant is all fried, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add black bean sauce and garlic and stir-fry quickly until fragrant; about 30 seconds to a minute.

Add scallions and red chillies; stir-fry about 30 seconds until the scallions turn bright. Then add sugar, soy sauce, and vegetarian mushroom sauce. Give the cornstarch slurry a mix, then add it to the pan as well, stirring quickly. Turn off the heat as the sauce thickens.

Add the eggplant and fold gently with a spatula to distribute the sauce. Finally, garnish with chopped scallions and/or cilantro and you’re ready to knock some socks off! I really hope you give this recipe a try. If you do, please let me know how it went. Thanks for reading!

More vegan Chinese restaurant-style recipes:

Printable recipe for Deep Fried Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

Yield: 4 servings

Deep Fried Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

Deep Fried Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

Crispy around the edges and buttery smooth on the inside, Chinese Deep Fried Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce is a beautifully rich dish that's perfect on steamed rice. The restaurant-style recipe is made vegan with vegetarian mushroom sauce instead of oyster sauce which makes it even more delicious.

This dish is medium-hot. Spicy but not overly so, especially when served with plain rice for balance. Adjust the amount of hot chilies to your preference.

For a low-fat version of this dish, make delicious spicy garlic steamed eggplant dish. Simply salt the cut eggplant and steam it instead of frying.

Click here for the video tutorial.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large Chinese Eggplants (500g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • oil for deep frying

Cornstarch Coating

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Stir-fry

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 - 3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped red chillies
  • 1 finely sliced scallion
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian mushroom sauce

Cornstarch Slurry

  • 1/4 cup cold vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Garnish

  • chopped scallion
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and a teaspoon of salt. Cut the eggplant into lengths about 2" long and 1/2" thick. Immediately submerge pieces in the salted water in order to prevent the eggplant from browning. You can use a bowl or small plate to weigh the eggplant down.For best results, let it soak for 20 minutes before draining well. You can also do this ahead of time, letting it soak in the fridge for up to two days. Make sure the eggplant is well drained before the next step.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cornstarch coating ingredients. Add the eggplant and mix with your hands so eggplant pieces are completely coated.
  3. Prepare your stir-fry ingredients. Mix the cornstarch slurry and set aside. Once your eggplant is fried, you'll want to immediately start the stir-fry so be ready.

To fry the eggplant on the stove

  1. Fill a heavy bottomed pot with 3" - 4" with oil. Heat to 365°F; ensure the oil is hot enough by using a thermometer. Fry the eggplant in small batches to maintain the high temperature, turning the pieces after a minute so they cook evenly. Fry each batch about 3 minutes or until the exterior is just turning a little golden. Drain the eggplant on a paper towel-lined rack.

Stir-fry

  1. After the eggplant is all fried, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add black bean sauce and garlic. Stir-fry for 1 minute; don't let the garlic burn.
  2. Add scallions and red chillies; stir-fry about 30 seconds until the scallions turn bright. Add sugar, soy sauce, and vegetarian mushroom sauce. Give the cornstarch slurry a mix, then add it to the pan as well, stirring quickly. Turn off the heat as the sauce thickens.
  3. Add the eggplant and fold gently with a spatula to distribute the sauce. Garnish with chopped scallions and/or cilantro and enjoy!

Notes

  • For deep-frying, choose a neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point such as peanut oil or canola.
  • Regular soy sauce is normally light soy sauce. It's saltier and not as darkly coloured as the more flavourful dark soy sauce.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 272Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1012mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 9gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g

Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.

Did you make this recipe?

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Showing 5 comments
  • Leigh
    Reply

    This was an awesome meal. Love it, love it, love it!!!

    • Mary
      Reply

      Yay! Thanks so much for sharing, Leigh!

  • Craig
    Reply

    I tried this recipe this past Saturday evening as part of a Chinese food menu I did for friends. I choose this recipe because it’s one of my favorite dishes at our local Chinese restaurant we order take away food from all the time! Your version was exactly like the restaurants, and I was so pleased with the outcome, as were my guests. It’s fairly easy and definitely worth the effort! This is going to be one of my go to recipes as I love eggplant and eating this with steamed rice would be a perfect light meal!

    Bravo!!!

    • Mary
      Reply

      Yay congrats!! I’m so happy to hear it went so well 🙂
      –Mary

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