Authentic Chinese garlic sauce recipe
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.
Eggplant is a very tricky vegetable to cook. If you don’t season it properly, it will taste bitter or extremely plain. If you use too little oil, the texture will be mushy and create an awful mouthfeel. If you use too much oil, the eggplant might turn soggy and greasy.
If you don’t like cooking eggplant at home, you probably have some of the worries below:
- Eggplant is quite time consuming to cook, compared to the average vegetable.
- You’ll end up eating more calories without getting an impressive flavor.
That is why I’m posting this Chinese eggplant recipe today, to help you to create a wonderful eggplant dish nearly effortlessly.
This recipe offers the simplest way to cook a great eggplant dish without using too much oil, and avoids soggy and plain eggplant with the minimum needed cooking time.
The secret to getting perfect Chinese style eggplant involves two things.
- You have to prepare the eggplant properly before cooking in order to get the right texture.
- You need to make a sauce that is flavorful enough.
To prepare the eggplant, there are two ways to do it.
Before introducing the first method, I want to thank my friend Steve S. He taught me this method quite a long time ago, to prevent the eggplant from absorbing oil.
The method is:
- Spread the sliced eggplant on a towel.
- Sprinkle Kosher salt on both surfaces of the sliced eggplant.
- Allow to rest for 45-60 minutes.
- Pat each surface dry.
- Do not rinse the eggplant.
The second way is:
- Place the eggplant in a large bowl and add water to cover.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, mix well.
- Place a pot lid on top to keep the eggplant under water for 15 minutes.
- Drain and pat dry
The second method requires a bit more effort, but it saves a bit of time. Both ways yield great results.
Once you’ve finished either of the methods above, there is one more step – after the eggplant is completely dry, sprinkle cornstarch over it and mix by hand, until the eggplant is evenly coated with with a thin layer of cornstarch.
Using this method, you can create crispy and nicely charred eggplant on the stovetop in 10 minutes. No need to turn on the oven to get the smoky flavor!
Creating a good sauce is really easy. Just mix everything together and pour it over the eggplant at the end of cooking. If you want a different sauce, check out my other eggplant recipes: Szechuan spicy eggplant, Crispy Eggplant with Szechuan Meat Sauce, and Turkish Eggplant with Yogurt.
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Author: Maggie Zhu
Recipe type: Main, Side
- 2 (400 grams in total) Chinese (long) eggplant, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped