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This tender and juicy Chinese eggplant is cooked in an aromatic sauce infused with garlic, shallots, green onions, and soy sauce. It’s sweet, savory, and tastes fantastic on top of steamed white rice!

Chinese eggplants in a clay pot with green onions.

⭐️ Why You Should Try It

  • Tender and packed with umami. This Chinese eggplant is buttery, juicy, and coated with a sweet and salty garlicky sauce. It’s the ultimate eggplant side dish and one of my favorites!
  • Just 7 ingredients. You will only need eggplants, garlic, shallots, and some basic pantry staples to make this delectable dish.
  • Customizable. You can easily add chopped or scrambled tofu/tempeh, diced mushrooms, or vegan ground meat if you want to add texture to this dish.

🇨🇳 What Is Chinese Eggplant

Chinese eggplant, also known as “Pingtung Long” is a variety of eggplant that is usually 6-10 inches long (15-25cm) and has smooth skin and a vibrant purple color. It contains fewer seeds and a thinner skin compared to Western eggplant varieties.

Difference between Japanese eggplant and Chinese Eggplant

Japanese eggplants tend to be shorter than Chinese eggplant and have a darker hue. You can, however, use both interchangeably in this recipe.

Ingredients like eggplants, garlic, shallots, sugar, and green onions.

🍆 Ingredient Notes

Here are the ingredients you will need to prepare this stew:

  • Chinese eggplant – This type of eggplant can be found in most Asian supermarkets. Look for long, thin, and purple eggplants.
  • Shallot and garlic – You will need to use fresh garlic in this recipe, do not use garlic powder.
  • Green onions – Also called scallions. You can use Chinese chives if you want a more garlicky and herby aroma.
  • Soy sauce – Use regular Japanese soy sauce, or coconut aminos if you want to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Sugar – I went with granulated sugar, but light brown sugar, coconut sugar, or even maple syrup will work.
  • Black pepper – For a pungent and earthy aroma. I recommend using whole black peppers and grinding them just before using for the best flavor.

🥣 How to Make It

This recipe is super easy to make but requires some preparation. First, you want to soak the eggplants for about 15 minutes. This will allow the eggplants to absorb less oil during the frying step. Once that is done, deep-fry them for a couple of minutes, and finally, cook them in the sauce. Here is the step-by-step process:

1. Soak the eggplant

  1. Slice and soak the eggplants. Slice the eggplants into 2.5-inch pieces and slice each piece into quarters lengthwise. Transfer to a bowl and cover with water. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and let the eggplants soak for about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain them. Drain the eggplants and rinse them under cold water. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper towels and pat them dry.

2. Fry the eggplant

  1. Deep-fry. Heat 3/4 cup of frying oil in a deep saucepan. Once hot, carefully add the eggplant and fry for 1-3 minutes or until tender. Do not over-fry them, or they will lose their vibrant green color.
  2. Transfer to a plate. Line a plate with kitchen paper towels and transfer the fried eggplants to remove the excess oil. Since eggplants tend to absorb a lot of oil, I recommend patting them a bit with another layer of paper towels to remove more oil.

Note: if you want to make this recipe healthier, you have two options. You can either steam the eggplant for about 10 minutes or brush it with oil and air-fry it for about 8 minutes at 350°F (175°C).

3. Simmer

  1. Sauté the aromatics. Heat some oil in a saucepan or clay pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced shallot and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the green onions and sauté for 1 more minute.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Add the soy sauce, sugar, water, ground black pepper, and eggplants.
  3. Let simmer. Finally, cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

🍚 What to Serve It With

This eggplant side dish is best served on top of steamed white rice, but you could also serve it with quinoa, buckwheat, or noodles.

📔 Tips

  • Add your protein of choice. If you want to make this dish higher in protein, you can add crumbled tofu or tempeh.
  • For a more smoky flavor. Add the eggplants to the clay pot before adding the liquid ingredients. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until they start to brown.
  • Make it spicy. Feel free to add chopped chili and/or minced ginger when frying the aromatics for some heat and a zesty flavor.
  • Serve it hot or at room temperature. This eggplant dish is equally delicious, served warm or at room temperature.
Close-up of a slice of Chinese eggplant.

💬 FAQ

Why add salt to the soaking water?

Salt helps do two things: removing excess moisture from the eggplants and enhancing their texture as salt breaks down some fibers.

Which option is best, deep-frying or steaming?

While both are good options, I personally prefer frying the eggplants (deep-frying or air-frying). It creates a richer texture and gives this dish a restaurant-quality.

Can I use regular eggplant to make this stew?

Yes, you can use regular eggplants, but the skin will be a bit thicker compared to Chinese eggplants. It also won’t have that purple color.

How long does this stew keep?

It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but be aware there will be some discoloration. The eggplants will turn into a faded blue color, so while it still tastes delicious, it won’t be as appetizing.

Top view of a clay pot with braised Chinese eggplants.

I hope you are going to love my Chinese eggplant dish! It’s tender, infused with a lot of flavors, and comes with enough sauce to pour over rice!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Chinese eggplants with green onions in a clay pot.
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Recipe

Braised Chinese Eggplant

5 from 3 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
These tender and juicy Chinese eggplants are cooked in an aromatic sauce infused with garlic, shallots, green onions, and soy sauce. It's sweet, savory, and tastes fantastic on top of steamed white rice!
Prep Time : 30 minutes
Cook Time : 10 minutes
Soaking time : 15 minutes
Total Time : 55 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 211 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 medium Chinese eggplants about 8 ounces
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Soak the eggplants. Slice the eggplants into 2.5-inch pieces and slice each piece into quarters lengthwise. Transfer to a bowl and cover with water.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and let the eggplants soak for about 15 minutes. Drain the eggplants and rinse them under cold water. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper towels and pat them dry.
  • Fry the eggplants. Heat ¾ cup of frying oil in a deep saucepan. Once hot, carefully add the eggplants and fry for 1-3 minutes or until tender. Do not over-fry them, or they will lose their vibrant green color.
  • Line a plate with kitchen paper towels. Remove the eggplants from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer them to the paper towels to remove the excess oil. Since eggplants tend to absorb a lot of oil, I recommend patting them a bit with another layer of paper towels to remove more oil.
  • Sauté the aromatics. Heat some oil in a saucepan or clay pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced shallot and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the green onions and sauté for 1 more minute.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Add the fried eggplants, soy sauce, sugar, water, and ground black pepper. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and serve on top of steamed white rice! This dish is best served immediately but will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Add your protein of choice. If you want to make this dish higher in protein, you can add crumbled tofu or tempeh.
  • Make it spicy. Feel free to add chopped chili and/or minced ginger when frying the aromatics for some heat and a zesty flavor.
  • Serve it hot or at room temperature. This eggplant dish is equally delicious, served warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 211 kcal | Carbohydrates: 21.8 g | Protein: 2.5 g | Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fat: 1.8 g | Sodium: 913 mg | Potassium: 335 mg | Fiber: 4.4 g | Sugar: 15.8 g | Calcium: 23 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Course : Side Dish
Cuisine : Asian, Chinese
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
Amazing vegan recipe. I’ll try it this weekend for my family. Thank you!

Cant wait to make this and your other eggplant and rest of your recipes soon for me i love eggplant sooooooooo much i never had braised chinese eggplant before perfect for my after office meals

5 stars
Thank u sooo much for sharing this recipe .. it’s one of the best egg plant recipe I ever tasted 😊

5 stars
An amazing recipe. My family loved it. Thank you for sharing.