Runners, you are going to love this one! Eggplants are one of those wonderful vegetables that can be transformed into anything with the proper sauces and seasonings.
In this Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce recipe, they are cooked in a small amount of olive oil until lusciously tender before being smothered in a flavorful ginger and garlic sauce.Print
A Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce Better Than Take Out
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce is the kind of dish that you will crave regularly once you try it. While you can get it from restaurants, making it is not only easy, it is also cheaper. And because the flavors develop with time, don’t hesitate to make a bigger batch.
Eggplants are one of those wonder vegetables that can be transformed into anything with the proper sauces and seasonings. They are roasted and mixed with tahini in the Middle East to make delicious eggplant dip, vegans marinate and cook them to make plant-based bacon, and in this Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, they are cooked in olive oil until lusciously tender before being smothered in a flavorful ginger and garlic sauce.
How to Properly Prep Eggplant
Eggplant can be bitter, and can require a lot of oil to cook properly, which will often make them difficult to digest and take away from their health benefits. However, in this Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce recipe, I’m using a foolproof technique that will both make it easy to prepare with a minimal amount of fat while developing a deep umami and savory flavor to make the garlic and ginger sauce sing.
While many cooks will often salt the eggplant and let it rest for an hour before patting it dry, I’m using a much faster but just as effective method. All you need to do is soak the eggplant in salt water for 15 minutes before draining it, patting it dry, and coating it in cornstarch. That’s it! You are now ready to cook the eggplant, and your Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce will be nearly ready.
All you need to do now is give the eggplant a quick run in a little bit of hot olive oil, and you’ve got a tender, toothsome vegetable instead of a heavy, oily one. Set it aside to make the sauce, which will be ready in no time. Eggplants are not only delicious, they are also full of nutrients and antioxidants, and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Best Ever Garlic & Ginger Sauce
If you haven’t stopped reading yet to go grab some eggplants, you will after this. While the eggplant is amazing as it is with a sprinkle of salt, the sauce really takes it to the next level. To finish making Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, you will need the following ingredients:
Tamari: A less salty and thicker version of soy sauce, tamari also happens to be lower in sodium as well as gluten-free. Many also prize it for having a deeper yet more delicate flavor. It is readily available in most well-stocked grocery stores.
Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut palm trees. Nutritionally, coconut sugar is similar to regular white sugar. However, it is very different in terms of flavor, and tastes like a cross between brown sugar and caramel. It adds a delicious dimension of sweetness to the sauce without having to make actual caramel.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is the perfect thickener here, as it works quickly and is gluten-free. If you don’t have any or wish to use something else, arrowroot powder can also work. Be sure not to use arrowroot powder in dishes containing dairy as it can make them slimy. Cornstarch is available from non-GMO certified brands.
Bursting with a variety of delicious flavors wrapped around tender, fried eggplant, Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce is an easy dish that keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days, and can make for tasty leftovers. It is most commonly served with white rice, although you might want to try rice noodles, soba noodles, quinoa for extra protein and carbs, or even cauliflower rice for a low-carb version.
Beyond Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
If you like Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, be sure to check my Plant-Based Healthy Eggplant Spring Rolls as well!
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For the eggplant:
10 oz. (280 g) long eggplant, chopped to bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the sauce:
1½ tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the stir-fry:
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Place the eggplant into a large bowl and cover with water. Add the salt and mix well and soak for 15 minutes.
- Now drain off the water and pat the eggplant dry with some kitchen paper before sprinkling with cornstarch.
- In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients together and mix well to form a smooth sauce.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium/high heat. Add the eggplant, skin side down, and cook for 6-7 minutes without moving, until the skin becomes charred and the flesh softens. Flip the eggplant over and cook for a further 5-6 minutes. Once soft, transfer the eggplant to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of olive oil, the ginger, and the garlic into the same skillet and cook for a minute until fragrant.
- Return the eggplant to the skillet, give the sauce a good stir, and pour it over the eggplant. Mix immediately, until the eggplant is evenly coated and the sauce starts to thicken. This will happen quickly, so keep an eye on it.
- Serve the eggplant and sauce hot as a side dish or as a main course over steamed rice or noodles (not included in nutritional breakdown).
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: Plant-based
- Serving Size: 2
- Calories: 174 grams
- Fat: 11 grams
- Carbohydrates: 19 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
Keywords: eggplant, tamari, ginger, cornstarch. coconut sugar, garlic, ginger, olive oil, plant-based running recipes, runner-friendly, recipes for runners
I am a NASM-certified personal trainer, PN1-certified nutrition coach, and RRCA/USATF-certified running coach. I have been coaching since 2010 and have helped thousands of runners online and in the Central Ohio area. I am the owner of RunBuzz and Run For Performance.com. If you are interested in online run coaching, or sports performance training (Central Ohio only), feel free to reach out.