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!
Leave a comment below and rate the recipe. Every single vote counts. It’ll help me and my blog tremendously. Thanks so much in advance. I appreciate it. ❤️
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:
- 3 tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
- ⅔ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 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.
Also check out my Paleo Chinese Sesame Chicken, Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Chicken Cabbage Stir-Fry, and Whole30 Crispy Chinese Chicken Wings!
This was my first time making an eggplant dish and Chihyu’s directions were detailed and helpful to help me navigate through the process. Dish came together quite easily! If you have a wok, I would definitely recommend that. I didn’t use it this time but would the next time I make it. I would also peel the skin next time as the skin of the eggplant was a bit tough.
Thanks so much!
I had to report back- this was AMAZING! So flavorful and the perfect texture. I used Apple Cider vinegar (less per your suggestion) and dried Thai chilis which is what I had on hand. YUM!
Do you think this would freeze well? I freeze a lot of food but have never frozen eggplant. Thanks so much!
Thanks for sharing, Holly! Hmm…I don’t know about freezing the eggplants after they are cooked. You can test with a small amount and see how it goes. My guess is that the eggplant texture will change – more mushy and maybe more watery as well.
Chihyu, I’m making this tomorrow and need to know the closest substitute for rice vinegar. What tastes the most similar? Thank you
You can also use apple cider vinegar in smaller amount. Apple cider tastes more sour than rice vinegar.
So delicious and easy. The flavors were out of this world. I added rice noodles instead of the flurry. I could eat this every day
Thank you, Sue!
This was the most delicious thing I have cooked. I added rice noodles. Such good flavor!!
I can’t believe how easy this is. And it’s so healthy! I’m trying to incorporate more variety of vegetables in my diet, and I love this over rice. the arrowroot slurry makes this have such a flavorful gravy, it is perfect over rice. Thank you! (I made it without the ground pork and it was delicious)
Delicious!! I love this recipe! I sub in tamari (half of amount) for the coconut aminos because I have a coconut sensitivity.
Loved it! Was following on a small phone so I ended up cutting the eggplant into much smaller pieces. Used 6 cloves of garlic and a whole pound of chopped meat. Substituted Peanut oil for 1/2 the oil. If you’re a spicy eater, up the pepper flakes, too.
THat sounds delicious!
What a great recipe! I learned a lot about Chinese Eggplant from this recipe, and it is so delicious. The flavors are so good, and the eggplant is amazing. I serve it over rice, and everyone always loves it. YUM!
Thank you, Carlie!
My second recipe I’ve made of yours and another favourite! Thank you so much! Will definitely be making this over and over again 🙂 I didn’t have rice vinegar or balsamic on hand, so I just used apple cider vinegar in place of the rice vinegar. Also, didn’t have any broth or stock on hand, so just used water and it was still SO good. Thank you, thank you, thank you! XOXO
So great to hear. Thanks for sharing, Meg!
I loved this recipe. I added a dash of fish sauce.
That sounds perfect! Thank you!
Yum! Made slight changes because I wanted to keep the carbs low… omitted the balsamic and subbed fish sauce and added fresh ginger and salted peanuts. Fast and delish! Thanks for the recipe 😊
Lovely! SO happy to hear
This looks amazing. I’m going to be making it this week. Love that it’s non-oily!