Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

October 16, 2015

Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

I feel you guys should know that I sometimes endure physical pain in order create the recipes for this blog.
For instance, the other day I was chopping serrano peppers and accidentally wiped my eyes.
It started burning like hell, so I jumped in the shower and hosed my eyeball off for 10 minutes straight.
Those of you who have tried to soothe a salsa-scorched mouth with water know that this does not work at all. It helps for a second, and then the burn returns with a vengeance.
In fact I'm pretty sure I made it worse because when I got out of the shower my eye was still burning, and was now bright red and swollen.
The heat and pain from spicy foods is caused by capsaicin, which isn't soluble in water — so it just washes over it and spreads it around without removing it.

Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

I then remembered that the best thing to drink to get rid of the burn is cold milk.
So I soaked a towel in milk and hold it on my eye for a few minutes. Pretty much instant relief, and everything was back to normal in a few minutes.
Apparently milks emulsifies the capsaicin which enables it to be transported away.
Washing liquid or canola oil are said to be working too — I never tried ‘em though, so I can't really argue.
I think the silver lining of this unfortunate “burning eye” accident is that now I know what it’s like to be pepper sprayed. Ha!

Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

Anyways you certainly won’t need to drink milk, washing liquid or canola oil after eating this Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant. Yes it’s spicy, but not that spicy.
Actually, if you’re looking for something tasty, comforting, and with a nice zip to it, this is it.
The taste is out of this world and it’s not terribly time consuming to make.

Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

I made it last night for dinner and served with some orange chicken and white rice on the side: DELISH!
This is one of those recipes that makes your eyes roll back in your head, so tasty.
Trust me, you will love it.

Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant                                                                                                    Print this recipe!

Serves 4

1 lb / 453 gr thin Chinese eggplants, cut into small strips
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used coconut oil), divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
½ cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or regular brown if you don’t care about the paleo thing)
1 tablespoons Sriracha (make your own Sriracha with this recipe)
2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or other chili garlic sauce)
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ cup water
Fine grain salt

Chopped fresh Thai basil (or regular basil) and scallions for garnish


Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and saute’ until tender but not mushy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to the heat and add one tablespoon of oil. Add onion and saute’ until translucent about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to eggplant bowl.
Return the skillet to the heat and add remaining tablespoon of oil. Add garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds, and saute’ for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add tomato sauce, sugar, Sriracha, sambal oelek, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water.
Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat until it starts to thicken.
Add eggplant mixture and gently stir until fully coated and heated through.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil and scallions and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 215 calories, 12 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein.


  1. I am still obsessed with your Eggplant Pizza and now this.... must give it a try very soon! Keep those eggplant recipes coming :)

  2. Wow this sounds absolutely delicious - I am such a fan of eggplant, especially when prepared the way you find it at Chinese restaurants. Would have to skip the spice unfortunately, but I am sure that it would still taste great.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

  3. Oh wow - Mike, this sounds incredible, I LOVE your combo of coconut palm sugar + Sriracha + sambal oelek with eggplant! Freakin Awesmazing!
    I've done the whole cut-chilies-rub-eyes-dealio and the whole test-can-of-pepper-spray-dealio and, while the latter is worse, they both are pretty darn horrid! The opposite of this dish! So thanks oodles for enduring physical harm to share this with us :)
    Happy Friday!

  4. Oh no! Poor Mike! I hope your eye is doin better.

    Um, so thanks for going through that for us. This looks so freakin' mouthwaterin' good. I adore eggplant, but I can't ever get my boo to try any. I bet he would not turn this down!

  5. Ugh, that experience sounds awful!! I'm sure we'll appreciate your posts MUCH, MUCH more now :).

  6. Oh no! I'm so glad you're feeling okay- and also it's nice to know the science behind this stuff!! This dish looks awesome, and is made even more epic knowing the suffering that went into it :)

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about your eye but thanks for the chemistry lesson, haha! I will know what to do if that ever happens to me, hopefully it won't. :/

    On a brighter note, it was worth it because I'm not sure eggplant gets much sexier than this. I'm definitely going to give it a try- it sounds amazing!

  8. Sorry about your pains. I rubbed my nose once with chili hands and it was hell, I used some yogurt but it did not really help. This dish looks perfect though, I just love everything with eggplants.

  9. You know what they say, "no pain, no gain" lol! This recipe looks fabulous! Im a huge fan of eggplant and eat it several times a week. This recipe is a great change from my normal recipe!

  10. Totally emphatize with you Mike. I have rubbed my eyes with a variety of Chili peppers - all with various degrees of heat. Immerse your head in a bowl of yogurt. It also doubles as a great facial.

    So I just finished making this great recipe of yours. And yes - it is that good! As always I was skeptical - I have made Chinese eggplant with at least a dozen different recipes and I've been disappointed every. single. time.

    This recipe is outstandingly delicious. I didn't have my act together to make Orange Chicken (next on the list) but I'm having it with brown rice and peas. I also didn't have tomato sauce so I subbed tomato paste and 2 Tblsp of ketchup. Since I'm on sugar free diet I used Xylitol instead of Palm sugar.

    Delicious delicious delicious!!

  11. This reminds me of the time that my boss accidentally set off her mini bottle of pepper spray in her office....right into the air duct that then spread it to every other office in the hall. Awesome. But it's a small price to pay to get this delicious recipe...so I thank you for your pain, Alpha. Well done! #WolfpackPepperSprayClub

  12. I've done that once. It is incredibly painful indeed, you have my sympathies....

    I've been eating a lot of eggplant lately, and always enjoy a new way to prepare it, so let me say in good Portuguese, since I am right now in Sao Paulo... MUITO OBRIGADA!

    (translates to thank you very much!)

  13. This looks so flavorful... It's funny my mom doesn't like eggplant so she never cooked it when I was little. I have discovered it now as an adult and have had fun experimenting with it in different recipes- it can take on so many different flavors!

  14. My eyes just started watering when I read that... ouuchhh! But this eggplant though... :)

  15. So sorry about the pepper incident, I've been there more times than I'd care to count - I never learn! It only took touching my eye once after cutting up a habanero though for that to sink in, nothing seemed to work and my eye just wept for hours before the burning finally calmed down (now I wear gloves with super hot peppers). It looks like all the suffering was worth it though because the final results look great!

  16. I've never worked with serrano peppers, and having read this story, I'm quite sure I'll never do. Or at least I'll buy 10 liters of milk first, ha-ha. Delicious stuff, Mike!

  17. Lol, I've totally been there, except it was my hand, and of course, I was in the middle of cooking dinner, so the show had to go on, so to speak. I slathered peanut butter all over that beyotch, and it seemed to help, but it was a tad hard to continue with dinner prep. I love the look of this recipe, something about Chinese flavors paired with eggplant sound so appealing!

  18. OMG! This looks awesome! I struggle with finding meatless meals. Thanks for being a resource!

  19. I had this in my good recipe file and needed something quick last night. Both of my adult kids thought this was the best thing ever. Neither remember this one so I must have made it while they were away. For future reference, I'll have to add more peppers and onions to the mix. I'm also writing this as I'm eating a leftover one for breakfast. :)