Chinese Eggplant in Soybean Sauce (东北酱茄子)
March 19, 2022  Print Recipe
Today’s recipe, Chinese Eggplant in Soybean Sauce, is a simple but quite popular Northeastern Chinese dish (东北菜). Like other dishes from China’s northeastern region, this eggplant recipe has a robust, full-bodied flavor. Traditionally, eggplants are first deep fried to achieve complete softness. Then they are sauteed with a soybean sauce that is specific to the northeastern region. But I’ve made modifications to tailor this dish to my own preferences and my aversion to deep frying. In short, my version uses very little oil. The trick is the same one I used before to cook the eggplant in Three Treasures from Earth. I pan fry the eggplants under low heat. This method does take some time but it’s well worth it. Please be patient, otherwise the eggplants will be stiff and bitter instead of the intended soft texture with sweet flavor.
Another modification I made is to use regular soybean sauce instead of the northeastern soybean sauce (大酱). I find the regular soybean sauce works just as well and has more texture since it has some whole soybeans in it. Plus it’s much easier to find in Asian supermarkets outside of China.
Since soybean sauce is quite salty by nature, you don’t need to add more salt. You can even reduce the amount of soybean sauce slightly. If you like Chinese Northeastern cuisine, try my other dishes: Sauteed Green Beans with Potato, and Fried Eggplants Sandwiches.
Tool: Large non-stick pan
Gluten Free, Vegan, Low Carb
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4 people
- 2 to 3 Chinese or Japanese eggplants 1
- 2 tablespoons soybean sauce 2
- 2 green onions
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Cut the eggplants into thin, long strings (to your liking). Chop the green onions into small pieces. Peel and minced the garlic.
- Heat a large nonstick pan under medium-low to low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. When the oil is warm, add the eggplant strings. Slowly pan fry the eggplants under low heat until the eggplants are completely soft, about 10 to 15 minutes, turning often to cook all sides equally. Be patient! Transfer the eggplants to a plate.
- In the same nonstick pan under medium-low heat, add the other 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, minced garlic, and half of the green onions, stirring for a few seconds to release fragrance. Then add the 2 tablespoons of soybean sauce, cooking for half a minute. Then add the softened eggplants and the 2 tablespoons of water, stirring together until the sauce and eggplants are well integrated, about 1 minute. Transfer the eggplants to a plate and sprinkle the rest of the green onions on top.
- Either Chinese or Japanese eggplants work well for this recipe. Pick the thinner eggplants with no brown spots.
- Traditionally, northeastern soybean sauce (also known as 大酱) is used for this recipe. It’s a regional specialty used in many Northeastern cuisines (东北菜). But I actually like using the regular soybean sauce (黄豆酱) since it has more soy bean texture. You can certainly try both although the northeastern soybean sauce is much harder to find outside China, whereas regular soybean sauce is sold in every Asian grocery store.
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