This is a deliciously sticky Chinese Eggplant recipe, where we grill (broil) our eggplants so they’re beautifully caramelised.
I avoid deep frying at home at all costs, mainly because I never think the mess is worth it, and I never know what to do with all that oil afterwards. But, I wanted to make a Sticky Chinese Eggplant recipe, so I decided to try grilling (broiling) the eggplant instead. It worked a treat!
After soaking the eggplant I coated it in cornflour and vegetable oil, and then placed it under the grill. The heat is intense and hot enough to create a similar effect to frying (and I mean, when you think about it, a grill (broiler) is kind of like an airfryer), but without all the mess. You get caramelised and crispy eggplant with a tender middle.
How to prepare eggplant to cook
First step is to soak cubed eggplant in a bowl of salty water for 15 minutes. This will draw out any bitterness in the eggplant, and it’s really important to do this step. 15 minutes is enough time, and it’s really quite easy to do.
When you soak it, make sure all the eggplant pieces are submerged in the water, you can use a plate as a lid to keep them submerged.
After you’ve done this, drain the water and then use a clean tea towel or paper towel to press down and remove any excess liquid. Now it’s ready to cook.
Note - some people salt the eggplant and leave it for longer, but the good thing about using salty water is you only need to leave it for 15 minutes.
Can you substitute Chinese eggplant for any other eggplant?
Yes you can use any type of eggplant that’s available to you. Chinese eggplant is usually lighter in colour and has a more subtle flavour.
Ingredients for this Sticky Chinese Eggplant Recipe
- Sauce - is made by stir frying minced garlic and ginger, then adding soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, tomato paste, brown sugar, miso paste, Chinese five spice, and water, and reducing until sticky.
- Eggplant - use whichever eggplant you can get your hands on. It looks like you need quite a lot of eggplants for this recipe, and that’s because you do! They reduce down a lot after being cooked.
- Sides - we’ll have broccolini, cucumber batons (a nice palate cleanser from the intense flavour of the sauce) and rice.
Top tip for Chinese Eggplant Recipe
Eggplant likes to float. Make sure all your eggplant pieces are well submerged in the salty liquid by placing a plate over the top of the bowl. Also, everyone’s oven grill (broiler) is a little bit different - the distance from the grill bars, the intensity of the heat - so use the times as a guide only and make sure you check it regularly.
- Alternative proteins - You could add firm tofu in with the eggplant, or cooked chicken.
- Vegetarian - This recipe is vegetarian.
- Dairy Free - This recipe is dairy free (unless you add Greek yoghurt to your child’s dinner at the end).
- Gluten Free - This recipe is gluten free.
Kid-Friendly Variations on this Chinese Eggplant Recipe
- The sauce in this recipe has quite an intense flavour profile. To soften it, add less Chinese Five Spice (or skip completely) and mix some Greek yoghurt through your child’s eggplant at the end.
- Skip the green onion and sesame seeds.
- Serve rice, eggplant and greens separately.
Equipment for this Chinese Eggplant Recipe
You will need a grill (broiler), a baking tray, foil, a frying pan, a stovetop, a microwave.
More Sticky Sauce Recipes
If you like Sticky and Sweet recipes, you should try
- Sticky Mongolian Lamb
- Kung Pao Prawns
- Honey Garlic Beef with Noodles
- Easy Char Siu Pork Rice Bowl
- Mee Goreng Noodles
Sticky Chinese Eggplant Recipe
- Grill (broiler)
- Baking tray
- Frying pan
- 4 eggplant
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1.5 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1.5 tablespoon miso paste
- 1.5 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ bunch green onion
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 1 Lebanese cucumber
- 2 tablespoon fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon cornflour
- ¼ cup peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 450 g microwave rice
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoon Greek yoghurt opt.
- 2 tablespoon salt
- Fill a bowl with salty water. Cube eggplant into 2 cm pieces and place in the bowl, and cover with a plate so all the eggplant pieces are submerged. Set aside for 15 mins.4 eggplant, 2 tablespoon salt
- Turn the grill on your oven and line a large baking tray with foil.
- In a bowl combine soy, Shaoxing wine, tomato paste, brown sugar, miso paste, five spice (opt. to reduce or omit five spice as it may be too strong a flavour for your child) and water. Set aside.3 tablespoon soy sauce, 1.5 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 3 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1.5 tablespoon miso paste, 1.5 teaspoon Chinese five spice, ⅓ cup water
- Trim green onion and finely slice on an angle. Trim broccolini and slice in half lengthwise. Slice cucumber into batons. Peel and finely grate ginger and garlic.½ bunch green onion, 1 bunch broccolini, 1 Lebanese cucumber, 2 tablespoon fresh ginger, 3 cloves garlic
- Drain eggplant and press down on it with a tea towel or paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle over cornflour and toss, then toss with oil.2 tablespoon cornflour, ¼ cup peanut oil
- Evenly place eggplant on the lined baking tray and put under the grill for 5 minutes, checking regularly, until starting to colour and crisp up.TIP: Different grills yield different results - you may need more or less time, so keep checking on this.
- Heat a frying pan over high heat, add sesame oil and broccolini and saute for 2-3 minutes until green. Remove to a plate.1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 bunch broccolini
- Turn eggplant and return to the grill for a further 5 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave rice.450 g microwave rice
- Add ginger and garlic to the frying pan and saute for a minute until fragrant, then add the sauce. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until it reduces and darkens. Take eggplant from the grill and gently stir through.2 tablespoon fresh ginger, 3 cloves garlic
- Serve on a bed of rice with broccolini and cucumber on the side, topped with green onion and sesame seeds.If the flavours are too strong for your little one, mix some Greek yoghurt through their eggplant to reduce the intensity.½ bunch green onion, 1 Lebanese cucumber, 2 tablespoon sesame seeds, 2 tablespoon Greek yoghurt