Do try out my easy Chinese style steamed eggplant! It is silky smooth steamed eggplant that is drenched in a flavorful Asian style soy sauce marinade… This one is definitely a winner side dish!
So here’s the thing.
I’m not quite sure how exactly I came up with the idea of preparing a steamed eggplant.
I think it was after I leafed through a basic Chinese cookbook in a bookshop in town one day. Not that I am a huge book buyer, I stopped buying cookbooks a long time ago but I always walk in and go straight to the cookbook shelves. It’s a great ay to get extra inspiration for this food blog! Besides, leafing through a book is free.
So this time I found myself picking up a funky cookbook by a European chef with Asian roots. And the book was about his childhood years and the traditional food that his grandma and mom used to cook for him back in China.
A lovely book about history and food memories but with a modern twist. I don’t recall the name of that chef. But one of the chapters was about steaming vegetables. Such as eggplant!
Anyway I suddenly realised that there were other ways to prepare fresh eggplant! I usually just grill, stir fry, bake or deep fry them. How do you prefer to cook eggplant by the way?
However I hadn’t thought of steaming it. I know and I agree, steamed eggplant may sounds pretty bland. I get that.
It is indeed not one of the most flavorful and strong vegetables there are on this planet. But I will show you that eggplant is far from tasteless if you make the right marinade to go with it. And there’s the secret right there to a good steamed eggplant: the marinade!
You will be surprised, I can tell you that!
Chinese Style Steamed Eggplant
Hang on, there might be a slight problem here.
What do you have to do if you don’t have a steamer at home? You can’t just go buy one to make this steamed eggplant recipe, right?
No need to worry, because I have some good news for you. You can create the same steam effect you need for this steamed eggplant recipe with a very simple kitchen trick. And therefore to get that effect you can use a pasta pot.
You know, one of those pots or metal baskets with holes in it, that goes into another pot that can hold water. So that you can strain your freshly cooked pasta by simply taking that pasta pot out of the boiling water.
Here’s how you can make a steamer with a pasta pot. Pour about an inch of water in the pan and place the pasta pot in it.
Make sure that the water doesn’t reach into the pasta basket or your eggplant will be boiled instead of steamed. Then place the sliced eggplant in it and cover the pot. Just make sure that you check regularly to see if you need to add extra water to the bottom of the pot before it dries up.
Now wait a minute.
There’s again another problem: you don’t have a pasta pot.
Again, no need to panic. Because I have yet another trick up my sleeve.
Pour an inch of water in a large pot and place a metal serving ring or a ceramic ramekin on the bottom of it. Then cover it 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, then cover the pot and cook it until the eggplant is soft.
Let’s take a look at our soy sauce marinade for this steamed eggplant.
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. This steamed eggplant is a surprisingly subtle side dish, just the kind of dish that I learned to appreciate and eat while we were visiting Hong Kong for the very first time.
The sprinkle of fried garlic (you can find that at the Asian supermarket) and freshly chopped chives in the end also make it complete.
Can’t you find that fried garlic? Then you can also use crunchy fried onions or shallots instead.
Do you love this steamed eggplant 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 steamed 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.
I hope that you enjoyed my steamed eggplant recipe!
Do you like steamed vegetables in general?
The health benefits of steaming food are massive.
Cooking with steam helps to keep all the great stuff that make vegetables healthy to eat: the fiber, color, texture and flavor stays inside. That doesn’t happen when you just simply boil vegetables for instance.
Steaming also helps to preserve all the necessary vitamins and minerals that are in vegetables.
That’s why it is a great idea to steam vegetables for baby food for instance. And then puree the vegetables. That way the kid gets all the necessary good stuff to grow into a healthy person!
Steaming vegetables, are you a fan?