Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

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Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

This is my version of a dish called Eggplant in Garlic Sauce that we used to order regularly at Szechuan East, a Chinese restaurant that was once (and may still be for all I know) at the Galleria on Westheimer in Houston, TX.  It was truly one of the very best Chinese dishes I’ve ever eaten in my life.  All at the same time it is sweet–sour–and spicy.   One night while enjoying dinner in this particular restaurant, we saw Debra Paget (well-known 50’s actress who played Indian princesses in more than one film) enjoying a meal across the room, all alone at her table.  My husband told me her last husband was Asian, but reading his bio , he was well-known in his own right.  Being children of this film era, we were quite excited to see someone who had been so famous at one time and my husband went quietly over to her table after her meal concluded and asked for her autograph.  She seemed genuinely pleased she had been recognized and delighted to do so.  Sorry, I digress. 🙂

Though this dish is admittedly somewhat off-putting both visually and texturally (pieces are quite slippery when properly cooked and sauced), the flavor is so delightful it continues to be a favorite in Chinese restaurants.  Both my husband and I can get past that to appreciate the subtle flavor nuances in this dish.  It is typically eaten atop rice, with it’s so good, it’s not bad eaten alone or incorporated into a simple shrimp-stir-fry.  It is outstanding with grilled Asian Marinated meats like this recipe.  If you like eggplant and are not bothered by its sometimes slippery texture, you will REALLY like this dish. 🙂

VARIATION:  This is also good with RED bell pepper strips sauteed and added to the mix.  Colorful, too.

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1   1-lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼” strips

4 T. olive oil

½ tsp. HOT sesame oil

½ pkt. Splenda or Stevia   

1 T. rice wine vinegar (no substitions)

1½ T. low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos

3 small cloves garlic, minced

½ c. chicken broth

1/2-1 tsp. oriental chili paste like Sambal Oelek (or use crushed red pepper flakes)

1/8 tsp. xanthan gum to thicken

1 tsp. sesame seeds (optional and not included in numbers below)

DIRECTIONS:   Peel eggplant and cut into ¼” strips.  Heat olive and hot sesame oil in non-stick skillet or wok.   Add eggplant strips and gently stir fry.  Keep gently tossing them around on the hot pan surface and they WILL eventually get limp and soft.  When they are all starting to look translucent, add all remaining ingredients and simmer 1-2 minutes.  Add a tiny bit of your favorite thickening agent and stir well until slightly thickened.  Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 3 servings, each containing:

214.7 calories

19.8 g  fat

9.37 g  carbs, 4.77 g fiber, 4.6 NET CARBS

2.23 g. protein

355 mg sodium


2 comments on “Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

  1. Hi there,

    I live in Shanghai, China (on a low-carb diet), and this is one of my favorite low-carb Chinese dishes! In Mandarin, the Sichuan dish is called yu xiang qiezi (鱼香茄子), or fish fragrant eggplant. There are many variations, but the version you have above is quite different from the one I use, so I thought I’d post a recipe my friend from Chengu, Sichuan province taught me. (You should be able to find the ingredients at an Asian supermarket.) I omit the sugar when I want to reduce the carbs even more.

    1.5 lb of eggplant, cut into strips
    1/3 cup of peanut oil
    1-2 tsp. of Sichuan peppercorns (optional, for extra spicy)
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 inch piece of ginger, minced

    1/4 cup of chicken broth
    2 T. of dark soy sauce (light soy is fine as a substitute)
    2 T. of Chinkiang rice vinegar (black vinegar)
    2 T. of Sichuan bean paste, or douban jiang (豆瓣酱)
    1 tsp. sugar

    Fresh scallions, chopped (for garnish)


    Mix the the chicken stock, soy sauce, vinegar, bean paste, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Fry the eggplant in the peanut oil for 3-4 minutes, or until it starts to become translucent and the skin browns a bit. Next, add more oil if needed and add the, Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Finally, pour in the sauce mixture. Simmer for another 2 minutes or to let the flavors mingle. Serve, garnished with scallions.


    • Oh my, a reply all the way from China! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your recipe with us! I just bought 3 lovely Japanese eggplants at the Korean market over in Killeen, TX yesterday (20 miles away). We drove over for Indian food at our favorite Indian restaurant and to visit that grocery store for its wonderful offerings not available where I live. I look forward to trying your recipe this week!


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