Asian Style Eggplant

This time of the year, everything around me seems cold, bland, and grey. Sometimes there's no getting around the hand we're dealt when it comes to what's happening outside our walls, but we can take back a bit of life at the table. Culinary magic can help cure the winter blues, especially when putting beautiful vegetables bathed in a sauce with complex flavor, but hardly a complex recipe!

This Asian Style Eggplant has a spicy sweet taste and tender texture that makes it feel like you're enjoying a candied side dish that will warm you inside and out ... and depending on how much chili flake you add, maybe just set your tongue on fire! It's a fantastic side dish to nearly any Asian themed menu, but it's also fantastic served alongside steak or roasted lamb or beef. And, I'll be honest ... a bit of this over sticky rice will make me happy morning, noon, or night!

I like a thick, dark soy sauce for this recipe to help it stand up to both the honey and the chili-garlic sauce. My market carries a mushroom soy sauce that's nearly black in color and only slightly thinner than molasses and that's my go-to for recipes like this. For the eggplant, Chinese eggplant is lovely, but a globe eggplant (which is often easier to find) will also work. Choose the eggplant that looks best since that's the foundation of your recipe and the quality of the ingredient is much more important than the variety, as is often the case. Then get ready to let your tastebuds soar.

Asian Style Eggplant

  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 T. chili-garlic sauce
  • Pinch of dried chili flakes, optional
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 large dark purple globe eggplant or 2 long Chinese eggplants, cubed
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced into thin strips

In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, honey, chili-garlic sauce, and dried chili flakes. Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant and onions until they are tender and begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the sauce, and cook and stir until the sauce is thick and the eggplant is evenly coated. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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