January 21, 2013

Chinese Steamed Eggplant 蒜蓉蒸茄子

chinese, eggplant, garlic, steamed, vegetable, 蒜蓉, 蒸, 茄子

The beautiful purple...the wondrous color of both poison and eggplants.  This chinese preparation of the humble eggplant is simple but really good, resulting in a flavorful, creamily tender vegetable dish that makes you go back for more and more.  And versatile too.  If you're not the garlic type or nervous of the chilis, just take em out, no problem and you will still have a fine lip-smackingly delicious dish.

chinese, eggplant, garlic, steamed, vegetable, 蒜蓉, 蒸, 茄子

We have been so busy recently that we haven't been cooking for a long while, opting to eat out instead.  Ugh, eating out is kinda yucky really.  In contrast it was such a pleasure to cook this eggplant today, creating a magnificent vegetable dish (that disappeared minutes after hitting the dinner table) from three humble shiny beautifully purple vegetables that cost almost next to nothing.  Cooking is so cool!!

It tastes really good with a bit of heat in this dish, so if you are a spicy lover try adding the red chilis are per the recipe below.  We don't put any heat in as our little girl has decided so far that she doesn't eat spicy stuff.  Hopefully she'll work her way up to the spicies as she gets older.

Oh yeah, last note:  Be sure to buy the chinese eggplants as they taste different (and better, I think) than the american eggplants.  They are purple colored, long like cucumbers, and between 6 -10 inches long.  These chinese eggplants taste more delicate and creamy.  You can use the japanese eggplant too, they are a lighter purple, also longish and shorter, between 5-7 inches long.  (You will obviously need more if you use these).  

For the steaming we find it is our preference to use bamboo steamer over stainless steel.  I swear to you that bamboo steamer adds to the flavor of the dish!

(For more see our post on Handmade Bamboo Steamers!)

chinese, eggplant, garlic, steamed, vegetable, 蒜蓉, 蒸, 茄子
Chinese Steamed Eggplant Recipe

Prep time: 5 mins    Cook time: 30 mins


  • 3 chinese eggplants
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 small red chilis, chopped (optional)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp spring onions


Wash and cut the eggplants to 2 1/2 inch lengths, discarding the stems.  Place eggplants into steamer and steam for 25-30 minutes until really soft.  

Cut or tear each piece into bite sized shreds (I use a tong to grab the hot egglants and a knife to slice thru).  Pile attractively into serving dish.  

Mix marinade of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a bowl.  Heat oil in wok and fry the garlic  and chilis (if using) over medium heat until garlic is a golden brown.  Carefully pour the garlic/chili/hot oil into the marinade.  Stir until well mixed.  Pour sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with spring onion and serve.



  1. Just tried out this dish and the result was absolutely delicious! I may consider going vegetarian after this! Thank you.

    1. So glad you liked it! I just love, love eggplant, don't you?! ~ellen

  2. Replies
    1. Hi ClearTear - We like this dish a bit on the sweet side. You could cut down on the sugar to your taste but at minimum keep the sugar amount equal to amount of vinegar. ~ellen

  3. Looks awesome. Gonna try it later today. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  4. Let me now how it turns out!😜

  5. Thank you for the recipe. It is very tasty. However, I think you meant to say 2 tsp sugar? In the recipe, you said 2 TBSP of sugar which is so so sweet. BTW, I tried it today, I only used 2 tsp sugar but it was still sweet. I think I may reduce it to 1 tsp sugar next time. But I still think your recipe is great!

  6. Oops, I think you're right, I will change that. Thks for pointing out! ~ellen