Sticky-Spicy Sauteed Asian Eggplant

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Not everyone is an eggplant lover. But this eggplant recipe may change that. Long, slender Asian eggplant are no-fuss, and soak up the spicy, sweet, sticky sauce they’re doused with when creamy and tender. This is a hearty, gluten-free, vegetarian main course paired with brown rice, quinoa or even wheat berries, but would also make a terrific side dish.

Sticky-Spicy Sauteed Asian Eggplant

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Sticky-Spicy Sauteed Asian Eggplant


  1. 4 tablespoons coconut or canola oil, divided
  2. 2 pounds Asian eggplant (any variety), cut into 3/4 chunks
  3. 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  4. 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger, peeled and minced
  5. 1-2 serrano chiles, minced (optional)
  6. 1/4 cup palm or cane sugar
  7. 1/4 cup fish sauce
  8. 1/4 cup water
  9. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  10. 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro, divided
  11. 2 tablespoons roughly chopped Thai or Italian basil, divided


Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add eggplant and toss quickly to coat evenly with the oil. Cook 8-10 minutes, tossing and flipping occasionally with a stiff spatula, until just tender and charred in some places. Turn into a large bowl.

Lower heat to medium. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan along with garlic, ginger and chile. Saute 30 seconds, until fragrant. Sprinkle sugar and fish sauce over top and swirl in water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the consistency of syrup (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). Season with a couple turns of freshly ground black pepper.

Return eggplant to the pan and toss several times to coat with the sauce. Toss with half the cilantro and basil, transfer eggplant to a serving bowl, and top with remaining herbs.


Cook Time: 12-14 minutes


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  • Christopher Huber

    Making this tonight and am so excited; I love this dish!

  • Collette Snowden

    How can this be vegetarian if it contains Fish Sauce?