Inspired by Chinese and Japanese flavors, this punchy fried eggplant recette. Serve as a side dish or over rice or hot or at room temperature.
One of the most frequently asked plants is aubergine (a.k.a. aubergine to my friends across the pond). And I’m confused completely. Chef’s not very intuitive, unlike carrots.. But fortunately, this is not the science of rockets, too.
It’s important to play just as with any new ingredient until you get it. This recipe is the easiest way to begin experimenting.
This recipe is inspired by dishes I’ve had at restaurants in China and Japan. Caramel-coated, creamy eggplant coated with punchy garlic, ginger, and red ointment in a salty glaze of salty, crushed peanuts and cilantro.
How to Make This Pan-Fried Eggplant
You start by cutting the eggplant, sprinkling it with salt liberally, and letting it remain in the room for a minimum of 15 minutes (this helps to tame the bitterness of the eggplant – more info below).
Then you rinse the salt and dry the aubergine. Then sear in a skillet the eggplant pieces until they’re golden brown and soft. It acts like a sponge and can absorb much oil. To avoid being gray – and to speed up the smoothing process – sew the skillet with a lid. That’s important. Remove the eggplant from the skillet and set aside after all is browned.
Next, cook a few minutes in the same pot of onion, garlic and ginger. Finally add all eggplant – together with rice vinegar and soy sauce – and turn off heat. Sprinkle before serving with sprinkled peanuts and coriander.
Why You Should Salt Eggplant
It is naturally contains a lot of moisture and some bitterness. Salting it and setting it aside for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking helps combat both of these issues. The salt makes the eggplant “sweat out” (literally) the excess moisture and bitter flavor. Before cooking, rinse off the salt, pat the eggplant dry, and proceed with the recipe.
To Peel or Not To Peel
The choice whether to peel or not is one of the first painful areas of cooking egg. The quick reply: leave the skin on. The longer answer: it’s up to you. Probably their skin is tender if your eggplants are small.
However, it can have a tougher texture if they are on the larger side, while the skin remains edible. It depends on the recipe as well. If in chunks/slices (like the recipe) you plan to eat it, leave it on. But eggplants can also be roasted whole, peeled and pureed for other purposes (like the Russian eggplant “caviar.”
When buying eggplant, look for bruise-free, firm eggplant with smooth shiny skin.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Eggplant: This recipe works best with Japanese eggplants (the long, skinny, light-colored ones) since they have a sweeter flavor and more tender texture. But it’s okay if you use another type you can find will do.
- Red onion: The sweetness of red onion contrasts perfectly with the saltiness of soy sauce in this dish. But you can use regular white onions or shallots here, too.
- Cilantro: If you’re not a fan, garnish with sliced basil or scallions instead.
- Peanuts: If there’s a nut allergy situation, garnish with toasted sesame seeds instead.
How to Serve
What I love about this dish is that you can serve it hot, at room temperature, or cold. It’s absolutely delicious in every way. Have it over fluffy rice for a complete meal, or serve it as a side dish.
- 3 small eggplants (about 1 1/4 pounds), ends trimmed
- About 1 tablespoon coarse salt (optional)
- About 3 tablespoons neutral-tasting cooking oil, like avocado, organic canola, or refined coconut
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (see note below)
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- About 1/4 cup crushed peanuts, for serving (see note below)
- Fresh cilantro, basil, or scallions, for serving
- Cut the eggplants into approximately 2-inch chunks. Place a layer of sliced eggplant into a colander and sprinkle with salt (use coarse salt if you have it). Continue layering in the eggplant and sprinkling each layer with salt. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes.
- When the egg looks sweaty, rinse it under running water, transfer to a kitchen towel, and pat dry.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer in the skillet and cover tightly with a lid. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Remove the egg from the skillet and cook the second batch, adding more oil as needed. Remove all the egg and set aside.
- Add about a teaspoon of the cooking oil along with 2 teaspoons sesame oil to the skillet. Add the onion and cook until it’s slightly softened and browned, about 2 minutes. Then add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 1 teaspoon fish sauce (if using) and stir to combine. Add the egg and stir to coat it in the sauce. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.
- You can substitute with white onion or shallots.
- You can substitute peanuts with roasted cashews or almonds. If there’s a nut allergy, garnish with toasted sesame seeds instead.
- Use the best pan for cooking eggs if you want to get the best result.
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