Eggplant can be finicky. Different types vary in bitterness and its initial preparation will affect its taste. This Chinese eggplant dish is called 鱼香茄子 which translates to fish-fragrant eggplant. For those familiar with eggplant, the vegetable itself tastes like a bland sponge. However, this makes it great for soaking up any sauce you cook it in. Thus, the key is to make a thick and savory sauce that the eggplant cooks down in, becoming nice and soft. Perfect for serving over rice.
A healthier braised eggplant dish
Most Chinese recipes will require you to fry the eggplant in oil and then to let it cook down in a sauce. We'll give the eggplant a similar treatment, but with much less oil in an Instant Pot. You can use either Japanese eggplant or Chinese eggplant. Japanese eggplants are deeper in color, but both have similar characteristics and are perfect for this "stir-fry" dish.
Compared to most vegetables, eggplant takes much more time and patience to cook. Y loves ordering this dish when we were able to eat out, so I decided to make it at home and have more control over the ingredients.
Ingredients for fragrant Chinese eggplant
- Chinese eggplants
- Ground meat (optional)*
- Thai chillies
- Doubangjiang (broad bean chilli sauce)
- Dark soy sauce
- Light soy sauce
- Chinese rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Granulated sugar
*If you'd like to add extra protein, you can include ½ lb of ground meat, we usually use ground turkey. Traditional dishes uses ground pork.
Instructions for Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce
- Wash and slice your eggplant into 4 in/10cm long pieces. Sprinkle the eggplant with coarse salt and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This step is important as it draws out the bitterness.
2. Chop your scallions, ginger, Thai chillis, and garlic.
3. Make your sauce by combining dark and light soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch and water.
4. Set your Instant Pot to Saute, heat up 1 tablespoon of oil. If you are including protein, add your ground meat in now, and cook until brown. Add the ginger, garlic, scallions, and Thai chillis until fragrant.
5. Add the broad bean chilli sauce and stir for 30 seconds.
6. Add in the eggplant and stir it around for a couple seconds. Add in your sauce.
7. Set your Instant Pot to High Pressure for 6 minutes. Allow for natural release.
Looking for more Instant Pot recipes?
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce (Instant Pot)
- Pressure cooker
- 2 long Chinese eggplants
- Coarse salt
- ½ lb (220 grams) ground meat (optional) (beef, turkey or pork)
- 2 scallions chopped
- 2 slices ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Thai chillis chopped
- 1 tablespoon doubanjiang (broad bean sauce)
- ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Slice eggplant into 4 inch/10 cm stalks. Sprinkle with coarse salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. You'll see the eggplant "sweat." Pat dry.
- Chop and dice your garlic, scallions, ginger, and Thai chillis. Set aside.
- Make your sauce by mixing the dark and light soy sauces, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, and water. Mix well.
- Set Instant Pot to Saute. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil. If you are making protein, cook the meat until brown. Add in the garlic, scallions, ginger, and Thai chillis and stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add in 1 tablespoon of the broad bean sauce, stir for 1 minute.
- Add in your eggplant and pour in the sauce. Mix until everything is coated evenly.
- Set Instant Pot to High Pressure and cook for 6 minutes. Let Natural Release for 5, and then Quick Release.
- Serve over rice.
This looks amazing. I love adding meat to eggplant to enhance the meatiness of the veg!
My partner loves when I add some sort of protein to bulk this dish up so I'd highly recommend 🙂
Delicious! We are huge eggplant fans, and this garlic sauce is so tasty! Great way to use the instant pot also!
We loved it! Such a delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing ?
Such a hearty and flavorful idea! This would be perfect for a cozy dinner!
This was so good and easy to make!!
So flavorful...love how easy it is in the instant pot too.
Seriously! My Instant Pot is my favorite appliance!
A yummy eggplant dish! So tasty!
That garlic sauce sounds amazing!
It's so great over rice!
Michal con delight says
What a wonderful tasteful dish!
Thanks! Hope you enjoy!
Amanda Marie says
Wow this looks fantastic, can't wait to try.
I love that this fragrant eggplant can be made in the Instant Pot!
Carol C Papas says
The sauce was absolutely delicious, however I got the "burn" warning when I made it. I did reduce the amount of water to 1 cup (I had doubled the recipe for all other ingredients) because of the amount of moisture in eggplant, so maybe that's why. Anyway, the pot never got to a full pressure seal and I'm glad it didn't. 6 minutes of full pressure would have been way too much cooking time. The eggplants were perfectly cooked in much less time and the sauce was the perfect balance of unami, spice and sweet.
Thank you so much for your feedback, Carol! While testing, I did get the "burn" warning so I had to increase the liquid amount. I'm glad you enjoyed the sauce though!