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4.91 from 90 votes

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce (红烧茄子)

The eggplant is grilled until crispy and smoky, and then cooked in a rich savory garlic sauce. This vegan dish is very satisfying, both as a side or a main dish served over rice or noodles.
To make the dish gluten-free, use tamari or coconut amino to replace light soy sauce and dark soy sauce.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Servings: 2 to 4
Calories: 122kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 2 (10 oz. / 300 g) small Chinese long eggplant , chopped to bite-size pieces (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Sauce (*footnote 2)


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced
  • 3 cloves garlic , chopped


  • (Option 1) Place eggplant in a large bowl and add water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt, mix well. Place a pot lid on top to keep the eggplant under water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  • (Option 2) Spread the sliced eggplant out on a paper towel. Sprinkle Kosher salt on both sides of the eggplant slices. Allow to rest for 45-60 minutes. Pat dry without rinsing.
  • Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix well.
  • Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and mix by hand, until eggplant is evenly coated with with a thin layer of cornstarch.
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil to a big nonstick skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Spread eggplant across the bottom of the skillet without overlapping. Cook the eggplant one side at a time until all the surfaces are charred and the eggplant turns soft, 8 to 10 minutes in total. Transfer the eggplants to a plate. If the skillet gets too hot and starts to smoke, turn to medium heat.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, the ginger and garlic into the same skillet. Stir a few times until fragrant. Add all the eggplant back into the skillet. Mix the sauce again until cornstarch is fully dissolved and pour it over the eggplant. Immediately stir a few times, until the eggplant is evenly coated and the sauce thickens. Transfer everything to a big plate.
  • Serve hot as a side or as main over steamed rice or noodles.



  1. You can use other type of eggplant and still generate crispy texture if following the method in this recipe. However, Asian long eggplant is the best option.
  2. This recipe uses very little sauce, just enough to coat the eggplant and make it tastes super flavorful. The rich sauce helps to keep the eggplant staying crispy. Be careful, the sauce will reduce very quickly once you add it to the pan. Stir immediately to coat the eggplant. 
  3. The dark soy sauce will add color to the dish and make it look more appetizing. You can skip it if you don’t have any in your pantry.


Serving: 119g | Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1.4g | Fat: 8.7g | Saturated Fat: 1.4g | Sodium: 375mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 3.7g | Sugar: 5.1g | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.4mg