This is a super easy Chinese braised eggplant recipe made with eggplants, chili peppers, and a common Chinese-style braising sauce. If you are an eggplant lover, never miss this. It is a super savory and delicious Chinese eggplant recipe that is popular all across the country.
I am a big fan of eggplants, although it really takes time to cook. The easiest way of cooking eggplants is to steam them and then mix them with sauce.
But the most delicious way of eggplants is to be served with savory flavors, just like this one. There are lots of famous Chinese eggplant dishes using this similar way.
- Yu Xiang eggplant features a hot and spicy taste.
- Di San Xian features a sweet, garlic taste.
- Savory crispy eggplants have a hot, crispy, and savory taste.
Tips about cooking eggplant
While braised eggplant is meant to be a slow-cooked dish, there are some tricks to reduce the overall cooking time without sacrificing too much texture and flavor.
- First, wash and slice the eggplants, then soak the slices in salted water for 10 minutes. Water absorbed in this process will help to increase the inner temperature of the eggplants, and further fasten the cooking process.
- However, if soaked with salty water, the eggplant may become a little bit softer than when rawly cooked. If you prefer a similar texture, coat the eggplant with a layer of starch helps to get a better texture. Drain the eggplant before adding the starch.
- Eggplant will shrink a lot after cooking, so remember to cut it into larger pieces if you want a bite-size shape after cooking.
Mixing the sauces in a bowl previously can prevent you make things from messing up during the cooking process. I also highly recommend adding some starch inside to make the sauce thicker.
Combine light soy sauce and dark soy sauce for the perfect color
Unlike the traditional HongShaorou method, there is no need to fry the sugar color. A simpler way is used here by combining light soy sauce and dark soy sauce together.
Just for your information, I would love to introduce the differences between the two types.
Light Soy Sauce: Light soy sauce, also called thin soy sauce, has a lighter color compared to dark soy sauce. It has a thinner consistency and stronger umani flavor compared with dark soy sauce. Consequently, light soy sauce is used to improve the taste and flavors.
Dark Soy Sauce: Dark soy sauce, also called thick soy sauce, has a very dark brown or black color. It has a thicker, more viscous consistency compared to light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce has a more robust, intense flavor thanks to containing more soybeans than wheat. We use dark soy sauce in braised dishes or stir-fries if a deeper color is wanted.
We can achieve both color and flavor by mixing the two types together.
How to make Chinese braised eggplants
After soaking the eggplants, drain completely and then spread around 1 tablespoon of starch. Mix well.
Heat oil in a pan, and then place the eggplants in.
Continue frying for a while until the eggplant becomes slightly seared (this may take around 5-7 minutes, be patient) Then place garlic in. Fry until aromatic.
Then we add the chili peppers. I love the just-cooked chili peppers with crunchy texture. You can add them along with the garlic for a softer texture.
Don't turn the eggplant frequently. Let them sear for a while and then turn them over to cook the other sides. This can create beautiful seared skins that can combine super well with the sauce.
Add sauce and stir for another minute. Transfer out and serve hot.
Chinese Braised Eggplants
- 2 Asian Long Eggplants or other types you prefer
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 chili peppers
- 3 tbsp. cooking oil
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp. oyster sauce optional
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon water
Soak and Coat
- Cut the eggplants about 4cm cubes. Recommend using roll cutting method.
- Transfer to a larger bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt and then pour in water. Soak the eggplant for around 10 minutes.
- Drain completely and then spread cornstarch to mix.
Prepare the sauce
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
Sear the ingredients
- Add oil (around 3 tablespoons) in a pan, and then place the eggplants in.
- Continue frying for a while until the eggplant becomes slightly seared (this may take around 5-7 minutes, be patient) Then place garlic in. Fry until aromatic.
- Then we add the chili peppers. I love the just-cooked chili peppers with crunchy texture. You can add them along with the garlic for a softer texture.
- (Don't turn the eggplant frequently. Let them sear for a while and then turn them over to cook the other sides. This can create beautiful seared skins that can combine super well with the sauce).
Season with the sauce
- Add sauce and stir for another minute. Transfer out and serve hot.