Easy Stir-Fried Eggplant (Vegan-Friendly!)

Stir-Fried Eggplant
Courtesy of D.Schmidt
  • 18 mins
  • Prep: 8 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (31)

This simple eggplant recipe is aromatic and flavorful, and the generous amounts of fresh garlic make it extra healthy. This eggplant recipe makes a terrific side dish that can easily be made vegetarian by swapping out the fish sauce for soy sauce. It works with any type of eggplant - whatever is fresh and available where you live. You can also adjust the spice level in this eggplant recipe, taking it anywhere from mild to spicy hot, according to your liking. 

What You'll Need

  • ½ cooking onion (purple onions work well for this recipe)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 3 red chilies, depending on how spicy you want it
  • 1 Chinese (large, with dark purple skin) eggplant, or 2 (thinner, with light purple skin) Japanese eggplants
  • ¼ cup water for stir-frying
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon oil for stir-frying
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • roughly ½ cup fresh basil
  • optional: ¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts or cashews
  • Sauce: 
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or 1½ tbsp. soy sauce if vegetarian/vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce, or Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

How to Make It

  1. First, prepare ​the sauce by mixing together all sauce ingredients except cornstarch. Prepare the cornstarch and water mixture in a separate cup or bowl. Set both aside.
  2. Chop eggplant into bite-size pieces (be sure to leave the peel on - this is where most of the nutrients are).
  3. Place 2 to 3 tbsp. oil to a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, half of the garlic, chili, and eggplant. Reserve the rest of the garlic for later.
  1. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. When the wok or frying pan becomes dry, add a little of the water (a few tbsp. at a time) - enough to keep the ingredients frying nicely.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. soy sauce and continue stir-frying for 5 more minutes, or until the eggplant is soft and the white flesh is almost translucent. Add a little more water when the pan becomes too dry (up to 1/4 cup).
  3. When the eggplant is soft, add the rest of the garlic plus the sauce. Stir fry to incorporate.
  4. Lastly, add the cornstarch/water mixture. Stir well so that the sauce thickens uniformly (this will only take a minute or less). Remove from heat.
  5. Taste for saltiness/flavor. If not salty or flavorful enough, add a little more fish sauce. If too salty, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.  Now add 3/4 of the fresh basil, stirring briefly to incorporate.  Slide onto a serving platter and sprinkle the rest of the basil over top and chopped nuts, if desired. Serve with jasmine rice. Enjoy!