Chinese Eggplant In Garlic Sauce

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This mouthwatering Chinese Eggplant In Garlic Sauce is so easy to make with tender and juicy strips of eggplant stir-fried in a flavorful Szechuan-style garlic sauce. 

Chinese Eggplant In Garlic Sauce

If you love eggplant, then you are going to be in awe after you have read this post! Today I am going to share a unique, delicious, stir-fry style eggplant recipe with you. It is simple, tasteful, and a perfect way to satisfy your eggplant craving.

Chinese Eggplant In Garlic Sauce is a famous and traditional dish that has its roots in Szechuan Cuisine. The cuisine is known for its heat and use of garlic. This garlic eggplant recipe is not only easy to make, but it is also very delicious. Try this recipe once, and you will keep coming back to it. That’s for sure!

Chinese Eggplant In Garlic Sauce

What is Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce?

Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce is a famous Szechuan dish. This dish is incredibly delicious. The reason behind its unique taste is the cooking technique and the use of garlic and spices.

It is a type of stir fry that has a unique flavor. It is a perfect balance of sweet and sour. Plus, the texture you get from the fried eggplant lifts the whole dish.

Apart from the eggplant, the highlight of this garlic eggplant recipe is the garlic sauce. It is a combination of different flavors. The addition of cornstarch mixture along with molasses gives it a complexity of flavor that binds every ingredient together perfectly well.

What is the difference between eggplant and Chinese eggplant?

Eggplant has a unique, delicate flavor that sets it apart from the rest of the vegetable. There are several types of eggplants. But the most widely loved type is the Chinese eggplant. If you are wondering how Chinese eggplants are different from the rest, let me tell you how you can differentiate them:

  • First of all, Chinese eggplants have a lighter shade of purple. So, you can easily distinguish them from the rest.
  • These are longer in shape and are thinner.
  • Chinese eggplant has a thinner skin. It won’t be hard to peel at all. In fact, because of the thin skin, it is easy to fry them in the wok for the preparation of garlic eggplants.
  • Thirdly, Chinese eggplant has few seeds.
  • Lastly, Chinese eggplants are not bitter in taste. As a result, they have a more “eggplant” delicate flavor without any overpowering bitterness.

Chinese Eggplant


What does soaking eggplant in saltwater do?

Soaking eggplant in saltwater has its benefits. For one, most people don’t prefer eggplants for their bitter taste. As you cut eggplant and soak it in salty water, it sucks out the bitterness leaving the eggplant with a better flavor profile. Furthermore, soaking it in saltwater also firms up up the eggplant flesh. As a result, as you fry it in oil, it won’t soak up a lot of oil and get soggy. Lastly, salt adds more flavor to the eggplant.

eggplant in garlic sauce ingredients

How do you prepare garlic eggplant?

  1. Preparing Garlic eggplant is super easy. Firstly, you have to cut the eggplants into strips and set them aside. If you are choosing to cook with regular eggplant (not Chinese), you can soak them in saltwater so that the bitterness is reduced and they are nice and firm.
  2. Next, you have to fry them in the wok. You can also choose to sauté them in a non-stick pan.
  3. As you get golden-brown color, scoop them out and set them aside. Next, add garlic, ginger, bell peppers, and spring onion, and sauté.
  4. Return the eggplants and pout over the prepared mixture.
  5. Cook until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and delicious Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce is ready to serve.
  6. Traditionally this dish is prepared by deep-frying the eggplant strips, but I sauteed mine in less oil in a non-stick skillet. 

eggplant being cooked in saucepan

How to serve Eggplant In Garlic Sauce?

You can serve eggplant in garlic sauce in a variety of ways. As much as it tastes delicious alone, you can serve it with rice or noodles. Furthermore, you can also pair it up with tofu. Whatever you choose to serve it with, this stir-fry has a unique taste that complements everything.

  1. Brown Rice
  2. Turmeric Coconut Rice
  3. Peanut Noodle
  4. Oven Baked Potato Wedges
  5. Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, in a silver saucepan


  • You can find Chinese eggplants in Asian supermarkets. However, if you don’t find them, you can use regular eggplants.
  • Soaking in salt is also optional, and you can totally skip the process.
  • Traditionally, eggplants are deep-fried, which requires a lot of oil. If you wish to cut down oil, you can simply sauté them in a non-stick pan with a little oil. The main aim is to get a nice golden-brown color on the eggplant strips. Also, if you are to skip oil altogether, you can roast them in the oven.

Other Asian Style Dishes To Try

Other Eggplant Recipes To Prepare

  1. Eggplant Parmesan
  2. Baby Eggplant Coconut Curry
  3. Jamaican Style Eggplant Curry
  4. Vegan Stuffed Eggplant
  5. Eggplant Stew

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(Per portion)
  • Energy: 112 kcal / 468 kJ
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Carbs: 10 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Cooking: 38 min
  • Ready in: 53 min
  • For:
  • 4 Servings


For The Sauce

For The Eggplant


  1. Cut eggplants into strips and set aside. Prepare sauce by combining vegetable broth, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, molasses, cornstarch, cayenne pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat, saute eggplant strips until golden brown (may need extra oil).
  3. Remove eggplant strips and set aside. Add garlic, ginger, spring onions and bell pepper, saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add sauteed eggplant strips and quickly add sauce to the skillet stirring and cook stirring until sauce thickens. Check seasoning and add salt to taste if needed.


Best Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.

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  1. andrea
    February 5, 2021

    Wow what a great recipe so much flavor its a keeper Going to make double next time

  2. goM0Mgo
    January 3, 2021

    This is definitely a “keeper.” I had an old eggplant that needed to be cooked and I was able to throw this together with minimal fuss. The directions were clear and easy to follow. The eggplant was amazingly tender and flavorful. The sauce had a beautiful color, shine and texture. For my taste, I think I may try reducing the molasses a little the next time I make it, but my pickiest eater just went back for a second bowl, so obviously that is not a universal concern.

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      January 3, 2021

      Ahh, I’m so happy everyone enjoyed it. Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it. Happy New Year.

  3. Mae
    October 7, 2020

    Can regular eggplant be used in this recipe if Chinese eggplants are not on hand?

  4. Teresa harten
    September 28, 2020

    I’ve tried a few garlic eggplant recipes and I like this one the best. It’s simple and tastes great. I used blackstrap molasses -no problem ! Used half a Serrano pepper instead of red pepper spice – yumm! Didn’t have bell pepper and was ok without it. I did use more Chinese eggplant – about 5. They may have been small. Seems like it was the right amount for four servings. All in all a new favorite. Thanks!

  5. Rachel
    September 27, 2020

    Wasn’t really sure how long I should have cooked the eggplant. I used the regular variety. I waited until everything was golden brown, but half the pieces ended up too firm for my taste. Maybe I should have just stirred more often. I included some sesame oil and hoisin sauce to the mixture, until the sauce super thick and sticky, which what I was craving. Also added rice noodles at the end and cooked 2 minutes longer.

  6. Nancy
    September 25, 2020

    This reminded us of when we lived in China! So delicious, and the sauce was spot on.

  7. Rainbowwhite
    September 10, 2020

    This was so yummy. My carnivorous husband even enjoyed it.

  8. Rik
    August 25, 2020

    10 Stars! Just starting a plant-based diet and bought a Chinese eggplant at local veggie stand. Wasn’t sure what to do with it–so happy that I found this recipe. FANTASTIC! I followed it to the letter with exception of using only 1 tablespoon of almond oil to saute the eggplant and adding a few cashews at the end. Husband said, “I could eat this every night.” I imagine I’ll be returning to this recipe time and time again to use the sauce with other veggies. Bok choy, broccoli or broccolini, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, etc. etc. either solo or in combination will be great. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      August 25, 2020

      Thank you Rik, I’m so happy you and your husband enjoyed it. Sounds fantastic with other veggies. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Gina
    August 24, 2020

    This was delicious.. used Tamari and it worked well. Definitely will become a favorite. Thank you!

  10. ldt
    August 15, 2020

    Surprisingly delicious! I say this because I’m not a fan of homemade eggplant dishes. It looked delicious and I decided to give it a try. Salting the the eggplant before cooking must be the secret because there was no bitterness at all. I served it over cauliflower rice and scraped the platter clean! This one goes into my recipe book! Thanks for changing my mind about homemade eggplant.

  11. Laurie
    August 13, 2020

    I made this last night, it was so good! I didn’t have molasses, so I used dark maple syrup. It worked out well! I may never order the eggplant dish from my chinese restaurant again. Thank you! I can’t wait to explore your other recipes!

  12. Shelley
    August 6, 2020

    Whenever I get an hankering for Chinese eggplant this is my go to automatically. I’ve tried many other recipes for an eggplant stir fry and none compare to this. I do the recipe almost exactly as is, except I use 1 tbsp of oil instead, just for a lower calorie count. Sometimes I’ll steam the eggplant and use no oil to cook and then just add a bit of sesame oil as a slight alteration.

    Thanks so much for this delightful dish

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      August 6, 2020

      Shelley, that is so wonderful to read, I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your feedback and adjustments with us.

  13. Susan
    July 31, 2020

    I think what a previous commenter may have meant by ” printer friendly” is an easy way to print just the recipe on one or two pages. When I go to print your recipes 14 pages come up with no way to select just the recipe. Also under every single ingredient a url is listed that should be eliminated in a printable recipe. As a longterm vegan with several freinds needing gluten free, i love your blog but would view it more frequently if i could print recipes in a better format for one of the five notebooks i keep on best vegan recipes. If so I would surely be printing many of your recipes. Will be making this one tonight for a vegan, gluten free dinner i am hosting tomorrow night.

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      July 31, 2020

      Susan thank you for your feedback, I need more information are you printing from your laptop, desktop, tablet or phone. I just printed this recipe and only 2 pages were printed from my laptop? My web developer prints from his phone and doesn’t print a lot of pages either. My web developer spent the entire of last week working on this issue that some readers have but not all. It even broke my website and cost me over $500. We will continue to try and figure out.

  14. Missy
    June 10, 2020

    SInce I saw this months ago I had to try it ! It is a favorite in this house! Making it again tonight, Husband is not a vegan & Loves this dish!
    Thank You ! :D

  15. Mel
    April 28, 2020

    Great! We will make double next time

  16. Hazel
    March 26, 2020

    Just made this dish, delicious, Omitted the oil, turned out great.
    Are you still practicing as an RN?..curious
    Love your recipes

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      March 26, 2020

      Hazel, thank you. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I do practice as a youth camp nurse for the property where my husband manages, only during summertime for 4-6 weeks. Otherwise, I’m a fulltime food blogger, I also do private catering for some of the events and cooking classes.

  17. Susan
    March 3, 2020

    Just made this tonight – as written – Excellent! I always have problems trying to replicate brown Chinese sauces to have them taste as good (texture too) as the ethnic restaurants but this really did the trick! Thanks very much for sharing with us.

  18. Grace
    February 1, 2020

    Loved it, loved it, loved it! The “hardest” part was cutting eggplant into strips. Simple dish with wonderful, just-right flavors. Hubby kicked cayenne up a notch (confessed later), but didn’t affect dish at all! Adding this to my list of growing GF/vegan dishes. Thank you Michelle!

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      February 2, 2020

      Grace, I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Haha, I’m so happy it wasn’t too spicy after your hubby added the cayenne pepper. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

    August 29, 2019

    Good except a bit too sweet for our taste; will cut to 1 T Brown Sugar. Also, next time I will add a teaspoon of hot chili paste (Sambal Oelek) to the sauce. I used 1/3/ cup veg. broth 1/3 cup regular soy sauce and it was just right in terms of salty. Thanks – it was an easy, healthy supper!

    • Michelle Blackwood
      August 29, 2019

      Thank you for your feedback Sarah, so happy that you will try it again and adjust it to make it your own.

  20. June
    August 19, 2019

    I followed this recipe exactly as Michelle set out. Prep and method was easy and on the table in no time. Flavourful and very nourishing. Highly recommend it to my friends.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      August 19, 2019

      June, I’m happy it was easy to prepare and you enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing it with your friends, I really appreciate it.

  21. Leola
    August 4, 2019

    Thanks for posting this recipe, Michell! I look for healthy wheat-free veggie based recipes. I got the type of eggplant you featured in this recipe in my organic (two young woman farmers!) farm share this week. I always wished I could make the eggplant like the yummy chinese-american food takeout but didn’t know how. Your technique worked great! To simplify things and avoid the sugars and cornstarch, I skipped the sauce ingredients except the Braggs Amino. The eggplant was still moist and delicious! I sauteed Tempeh in olive all in another pan and added it to the eggplant over a small amount of leftover wheat-free pasta instead of rice. Delicious, filling dinner!

    • Michelle Blackwood
      August 4, 2019

      Leola, I’m so happy it turned out for you with the adjustments you made, I love that you added the tempeh as well.

    • Leola
      August 6, 2019

      I thought the aminso made it salty-tasting enough — no salt needed but I put a couple of turns of black pepper since I didn’t have any bell pepper on hand when I made the recipe.
      Michelle, my apologies for the misspelling of your name in my review above – I cant figure out how to edit it.

      • Michelle Blackwood
        August 6, 2019

        Leola, thank you, I’m happy it turned out great without the salt. No problem with the misspelling, I don’t get bent out of shape when that happens. I appreciate your feedback.

  22. pravin Sivan
    April 10, 2019

    Mam …Dont we need to add any salt?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      April 10, 2019

      Pravin, please add to taste

      • Jeannie
        May 5, 2020

        Dont know if I’m just missing it or what but printer friendly version would be nice

        • Michelle Blackwood, RN
          May 5, 2020

          Jeanie there are two print buttons on the page, one located right below the first recipe image it’s a green tab and one below the last image.

  23. Adrienne
    March 29, 2019

    Omg this was fantastic and so easy to make!! It’s one of my faves in the restaurants. Thank you so much for posting this!!

    • Michelle Blackwood
      March 30, 2019

      You are welcome Adrienne, I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

  24. Maria
    December 11, 2018

    Amazing flavor and so easy to prepare!