Paleo Chinese Eggplant In Garlic Sauce
Paleo Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce with buttery and melt-in-your-mouth eggplants, braised in a garlic sauce. This eggplant recipe is vinegary, naturally sweet, and savory, plus it’s Paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free.
Paleo Chinese Eggplants in Garlic Sauce
Chinese eggplants have a long and slender shape than other varieties. They have thinner skin and sweeter taste than globe eggplants. There’s no need to peel Chinese eggplants so this helps to speed up the cooking process. The purple skin is rich in antioxidants and they are great for stir-frying, braising, roasting, and frying. They add depth and smoky flavor to a dish.
How to select Chinese eggplants
Choose eggplant that has a firm texture, glossy skin, no bruises, and feel heavy to its weight.
How to cut Chinese eggplant
Rinse the eggplants and dry with a paper towel. Slice of the stem end with a sharp knife. Make a few small incision cuts in a 45-degree angle to remove the stem.
Quarter the eggplants in lengthwise then dice to 2.5 to 3-inch long sections. This is the most common shape you’ll see in Paleo Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce recipe. See the recipe notes for globe eggplant instructions.
How to cook Chinese eggplant
Chinese eggplants have thinner skin and are naturally sweeter in taste than the traditional globe eggplants. They can be cooked without peeling. Chinese eggplants can be used in many ways. For example, Japanese eggplant tempura, eggplants braised in garlic sauce or Sichuan spicy garlic sauce, or stuffed eggplants that are popular in China, Vietnam, and Malaysian cuisines. They are all very delicious!
Chinese eggplant substitute
You can use globe eggplants or graffiti eggplants. These eggplants have thicker skin so your cook time will be slightly longer. In general, you don’t need to peel the skin. Dice the globe eggplants to smaller chunks/cubes so it will take less time to cook.
Chinese eggplant nutrition
Eggplant is a high-fiber, low-calorie food that is rich in antioxidants because of its purple skin. It comes with many potential health benefits from reducing the risk of heart disease to weight loss. You can find more information on eggplant benefits.
Less oily way to make eggplants
My mom always says that eggplants like to drink a lot of oil. What she meant is that if you don’t soak the eggplants in water first, they need a lot of oil to cook tender.
There are a few ways to make your eggplant dish less oily. Some people soak them in water first and others salt the eggplants to draw out the water content. For today’s Paleo Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce recipe, the eggplants are braised in a garlic sauce. It’s a simpler way to make eggplants without having to soak or salt them first and the dish tastes so delicious and non-oily.
Serve my Paleo Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce with cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, steamed rice, or boiled rice noodles. This dish goes well with so many things and I highly recommend that you give it a try!
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Paleo Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (Whole30, Gluten-Free)
- 1.5 lbs Chinese eggplants or globe eggplants, (see notes)
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 0.5 lb ground pork, , or any other types of ground meat
- 0.5 tsp coarse sea salt, , plus more
- 0.25 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp minced garlic, (~4 to 5 large cloves)
- 0.2 oz. Chinese dry red chilies, or ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Paleo Chinese Garlic Sauce:
- 1 tsp arrowroot starch
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 2 bulbs scallions, , chopped (garnish)
- Toasted sesame seeds, (optional)
- Rinse and pat dry the eggplants. Slice of the stem end with a sharp knife. Make a few small incision cuts in 45-degree angle to remove the stem. Quarter the eggplants in lengthwise then dice to 2.5 to 3-inch long sections.
- Mince garlic, chop scallions, Combine Paleo Chinese garlic sauce from coconut aminos to rice vinegar in one bowl, and make the slurry with arrowroot and cold water in another bowl.
- In a well-heated large saute pan, add 1.5 tbsp avocado oil, fry the ground meat over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through and break up to fine pieces, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add minced garlic and chilies, and season with another pinch of salt. Fry with the ground meat for 1 minute. Add eggplants and 1.5 tbsp oil, and season with another pinch of salt. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour in the garlic sauce. Gently push the eggplants down to touch the liquid. Cover with a lid. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. Once the eggplants turn softer, stir the slurry one more time then pour it into the pan. Stir-fry for 10-15 seconds to thicken the sauce.
- Off heat, garnish with scallions and toasted sesame seeds, if using. Serve hot or in room temperature with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for Paleo and Whole30. You can also serve it with steamed rice and cooked rice noodles for a gluten-free meal.