I’m not quite sure how exactly I came up with the idea of preparing steamed eggplant. I think it was after I leafed through a basic Chinese cookbook. Anyway I suddenly realised that there were other ways to prepare eggplant apart from roasting, frying or baking them.
I agree, steaming eggplant may sounds pretty bland, but I will show you that it’s far from tasteless if you make a lovely marinade to go with it.
Chinese Style Steamed Eggplant
But there’s maybe a problem: what to do if you don’t have a steamer at home? Then you can create the same steam effect with a simple trick using a pasta pan.
Pour about an inch of water in the pan and place the pasta basket in it. Make sure that the water doesn’t reach into the basket or your eggplant will be boiled instead of steamed. Then place the sliced eggplant in it and cover the pan. Just make sure to check regularly if you need to add extra water before it dries up.
Other problem: you don’t have a pasta pan.
Pour an inch of water in a large pan and place a metal serving ring or ceramic ramekin on the bottom. Top with a plate that is slightly smaller in diameter than the pan itself. Put the sliced raw eggplant on the plate. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pan and cook it until the eggplant is soft.
Back to our soy sauce marinade.
It surely helps to add more flavor to this dish because those little touches of soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil are exactly what this soft eggplant needs. It is a surprisingly subtle side dish, just the kind of dish I learned to appreciate and eat while visiting Hong Kong.
The sprinkle of fried garlic (you can find that at the Asian supermarket) and freshly chopped chives in the end make it complete.
Do you love this recipe? Then also check out a similar dish: my spicy Szechuan eggplants with pork mince! That’s another smashing Asian recipe that I picked up in Hong Kong a few years ago. You can find it in many food halls and markets. Some versions are even prepared in a claypot, excellent stuff!
I’ll leave you to it now.
Enjoy this Chinese eggplant recipe!
My easy Chinese style steamed eggplant: silky eggplant with soy sauce!
- 1 large fresh eggplant
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp fried garlic
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp hot chili sauce
- a handful fresh chives chopped
1) Rinse the eggplant and pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Remove the green leaves also. Then chop the eggplant in half and slice both pieces up into thick sticks.
2) Next step depends on how you steam your dishes in your kitchen. Because I have a steam oven I placed the sliced eggplant in a steam basket and then steamed it for about 20 minutes until soft. Same for a steamer or steam baskets.
3) You can also create one using a pasta pan. Pour a bit of water in the pan and place the pasta basket in it. Make sure that the water doesn’t reach the basket. Then place the sliced eggplant in it and cover the pan.
4) Place the eggplant over medium heat and boil the water for about 20 minutes until the eggplant is soft. Check regularly if you need to add extra water. The eggplant should be very soft in the end.
5) In the meantime combine the sesame oil, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar and chili sauce in a cup and stir well.
6) Once the eggplant is steamed, then remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cooked eggplant to a serving dish. Drizzle with the soy sauce marinade. Sprinkle with the freely chopped chives and the fried garlic. Serve hot.