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This eggplant stir-fry is loaded with flavor and easy to make! Made with tender eggplant and bell peppers in garlicky hoisin sauce, it pairs up perfectly with rice for a delicious veggie-packed meal.

I love eggplant and always look forward to this time of year when my garden starts producing it in abundance. But it’s easy to get stuck in an eggplant rut, where I’m pretty much making the same dishes again and again (hello, eggplant Parm!).

So this year I’m working on coming up with some new delicious uses for my eggplant. That’s how this eggplant stir-fry recipe was born.

Eggplant is a little different from other stir-fry veggies. In fact, eggplant doesn’t lend itself to stir frying! It needs a little bit of time sitting on a hot cooking surface (without stirring) in order to get tender. That’s why in this recipe we’ll actually be pan frying our eggplant before we add our other veggie (bell pepper) and stir-frying everything together.

Don’t worry! It may sound complicated, but this dish is really easy to throw together, and it’s absolutely delicious.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How It’s Made
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Stir Fry Recipes
  • Sesame Hoisin Eggplant Stir Fry

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Soy sauce. Gluten-free tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted if needed.
  • Hoisin sauce. Look for this in the international foods section of your supermarket.
  • Water.
  • Rice vinegar.
  • Brown sugar. Use organic sugar to keep the recipe vegan.
  • Sambal oelek. This will add some heat to your stir-fry, and can be left out if you prefer a milder dish. It can be found in the international aisle at the strore.
  • Toasted sesame oil. Yet another item to look for in the international aisle!
  • Cornstarch.
  • Chinese five spice. This blend of cinnamon, cloves, anise, fennel and Chinese peppercorns can be found in the spice section at most stores. It will add so much flavor to your stir fry sauce, so don’t skip it!
  • Peanut oil. Another high-heat oil such as canola, corn, or vegetable oil can be substituted if needed.
  • Eggplant. This recipe works best with Chinese eggplant or Japanese eggplant (pictured above), both of which cook more quickly than the more common Italian varieties of eggplant you see in most stores. Having said that, you can really make the dish with any type of eggplant. Just increase the cooking time a bit if needed!
  • Scallions. Also known as green onions.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginger.
  • Bell pepper. I’m using a red bell pepper, but any color will work!
  • Sesame seeds.
  • Fresh basil. Thai basil or holy basil work great in this recipe if you can get your hands on them. If not, Italian basil is totally fine!
  • Cooked rice. Use your favorite variety. I love this stir-fry with jasmine rice.

Tip: Want to add some protein to your eggplant stir fry? Try including this crispy fried tofu or some simple pan-fried tofu. Just add either one at the same time as your sauce.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Do all of your prep work before you start cooking: whisk together the sauce ingredients, chop your veggies, mince your garlic, and grate your ginger.
  • Heat your peanut oil in a a large nonstick skillet, then add your diced eggplant. Cook the eggplant for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, but resist the urge to stir it constantly. Just flip the pieces once or twice to get them browned on multiple sides.
  • Once the eggplant pieces are browned and tender, remove them from the skillet and transfer them to a plate.

Tip: Avoid crowding the skillet when cooking your eggplant. This may mean cooking it in a couple of batches. I did two batches for the stir-fry shown in the process photos.

  • Add some more oil to the skillet, let it heat up, then add scallions (white parts only), garlic, and ginger. Cook everything very briefly.
  • Turn up the heat and add your bell pepper. Stir-fry the pepper for a couple of minutes, until the pieces are bright red and tender-crisp.
  • Lower the heat a smidge and return the eggplant to the skillet, then carefully pour in the sauce.
  • Toss everything well with a spatula and cook it very briefly, just until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
  • Take the skillet off of the burner and stir in the fresh basil. Top your eggplant stir fry with sesame seeds and the green parts of your scallions.
  • Serve the stir fry with rice and enjoy!

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover eggplant stir fry will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this eggplant stir fry gluten-free?

It can be! Just use gluten-free tamari and hoisin sauce.

Do I need to salt eggplant before stir frying it?

Not necessarily. Japanese eggplants tend to be less bitter than larger varieties, so you may not need to salt them. If you substitute another variety and/or are using an eggplant that’s been in the fridge for a few days or shows browning when cut open, consider salting it. This article contains instructions on how to do that.

Is this stir-fry spicy?

A bit. The sambal oelek adds some heat. Leave it out for a milder dish, or use some extra for additional kick.

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