Garlicky Eggplant Stir-Fry

published Aug 13, 2022
Eggplant Stir-Fry Recipe

Eggplant, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger star in this stir-fry dish that comes to life in minutes.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook8 minutes

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A photo of a porcelain bowl with a blue, ornate design on the rim, with an eggplant stir-fry. There here are two spoons and two bowls with white rice on the side.
Credit: Perry Santanachote

According to Chinese medicine, eggplant cools the body from the inside. It’s fitting, then, that this vegetable peaks in late summer, when many of us could use all the help we can get to cool off. This dish also happens to come together in mere minutes, which means less time cooking over the stove.

If you can find Chinese eggplant for this stir-fry, enjoy! This variety has a thin skin, creamy flesh, no bitterness, and hardly any seeds. However, any type of eggplant will be delicious with the garlicky sauce. You can’t go wrong with serving it with steamed rice, but it also goes well with noodles or toasted bread.

Ingredients in Eggplant Stir-Fry

Aside from eggplant, a barely cooked yellow onion provides flavorful crunch while a jalapeño, garlic, and ginger lend punch. The sauce is super basic, with only three ingredients:

Credit: Perry Santanachote

How to Prep Eggplant for This Stir-Fry

Trim the leafy top off then slice the eggplant into large but bite-size chunks. Too-small pieces will turn to mush and too-large pieces will undercook. Coating cubed eggplant in cornstarch before stir-frying helps make sure the pieces don’t absorb too much oil. Plus, once you add the liquid, the starch will impart a silky texture to the sauce. Keep in mind that this dish is not supposed to be super saucy; the sauce should just coat the eggplant. 

Do You Have to Peel Eggplant?

For stir-fries, you do not need to peel eggplant. The skin actually helps the eggplant pieces keep their shape. Plus, the high heat during cooking will soften the skin.

Eggplant Stir-Fry Recipe

Eggplant, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger star in this stir-fry dish that comes to life in minutes.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 8 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    eggplant (1 medium globe eggplant or 2 long Chinese eggplants)

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    medium jalapeño pepper

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 1

    small Fresno chile (optional)

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • 2 tablespoons

    oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    light soy sauce, or 1 1/2 teaspoons regular soy sauce mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons water

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons

    neutral oil, divided

Instructions

  1. Trim 1 pound eggplant and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Cut 1/2 medium yellow onion lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide wedges. Trim, halve, and remove the seeds and membrane from 1 medium jalapeño pepper; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves. Peel and finely grate or mince 1-inch ginger until you have about 1 tablespoon.

  3. Trim and thinly slice 1 small Fresno chile crosswise if using. Place 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or 1 1/2 teaspoons regular soy sauce and 1 1/2 teaspoons water), and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  4. Drain the eggplant and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and toss to coat.

  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the neutral oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant, spread into an even layer, and sear until browned in spots and starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon neutral oil and onion mixture. Stir-fry until the eggplant is tender and the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the sauce mixture and stir-fry until the vegetables are coated in sauce, about 30 seconds.

  6. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the Fresno chile if using.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.