A bowl of Chinese eggplant stir fry with fork and garnish.

This Chinese Eggplant Stir Fry brings a classic dish from one of your favorite Chinese restaurants straight to your kitchen. 

It’s a delicious and easy low-carb option that features tender eggplant, sweet peppers, and baby bok choy, all tossed in a spicy tamari-gochujang sauce. The stir-fried eggplant soaks up all the flavors, making it a satisfying and hearty main dish. 

Chinese eggplant stir fry in a white bowl over a white surface.

An Easy Chinese Eggplant Recipe

I know cooking Chinese food can be intimidating, but this delicious Chinese eggplant recipe is almost as simple as ordering take-out. Except when you make it from scratch, you know exactly what’s going into your meal — which is quite necessary for a low-carb diet. 

If you love eggplant (have you tried my Mutabal Recipe?!) I know you’ll enjoy this spicy eggplant recipe when the Chinese takeout craving strikes. 

For other Asian-inspired recipes, try my Healthy Asian Short RibsKeto Thai Curry Recipe, and Low-Carb Sushi Wraps!

Pan-frying eggplant gives it a deliciously silky texture and makes it the perfect vehicle for soaking up all the flavors of the sauce. It’s something all eggplant lovers can get behind! Paired with sweet peppers and baby bok choy, you’ll create a colorful and nutritious stir fry that takes little time and little effort. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • A delicious comfort food for my low-carb friends!
  • 100% vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
  • Ready in only 20 minutes.
  • The cooking process makes the eggplant so tender and flavorful.
Finished Chinese eggplant stir fry in a white bowl.

Eggplant Stir-Fry: Main Ingredients

(Note: These are the recipe’s starring ingredients, but you can find all the ingredients in the recipe card below!)

Stir-fry sauce

  • Tamari: A gluten-free soy sauce alternative that adds a deep umami flavor to the dish. 
  • Rice wine vinegar: A slightly sweet and tangy vinegar that adds brightness to the sauce. 
  • Toasted sesame oil: A finishing oil with a strong, nutty flavor that adds depth to the sauce.
  • Sweetener: Use monk fruit, agave, or date syrup to add a touch of sweetness. My favorite brand of monk fruit sweetener is Lakanto.
  • Gochujang sauce: A spicy and savory Korean fermented chili paste that adds a punch of flavor to the eggplant dish. We’re using just a small amount to keep this meal light and healthy.
  • Arrowroot powder: A great way to thicken the sauce without using cornstarch. 

Stir-fry

  • Avocado oil: You’ll need a lot of oil to pan-fry the eggplant, and avocado oil is great for cooking at high temperatures.
  • Chinese eggplant: This type of eggplant is long and slender, with a thinner skin and sweeter flavor than globe eggplant.
  • Sweet peppers: Use a mix of red, orange, and yellow peppers for added color and sweetness.
  • Scallions: A great way to add a little bit of onion flavor without overpowering the dish.
  • Garlic & ginger: You can’t have an Asian dish without these two flavor powerhouses.
  • Baby bok choy: A tender and mild green vegetable that pairs perfectly with the eggplant. If it’s not at your grocery store, you’ll definitely find it at Asian grocery stores.

Substitutions

Don’t have arrowroot powder? Cornstarch is a great substitute if you can have carbs. You can also swap Chinese eggplant for Japanese eggplant, which is smaller and sweeter.

Dark or light soy sauce can be substituted for tamari if you don’t have any on hand. And if you can’t find rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar will work in a pinch!

How to Make Chinese Eggplant Stir Fry

The steps are simple, and I’m outlining them below, but be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the full, printable recipe card.

Close up of Chinese eggplant stir fry ingredients.

STEP 1 – MAKE SAUCE

In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside. 

STEP 2 – COOK EGGPLANT

Next, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook half of the eggplant slices in a single layer for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook another 2 minutes on the second side (or until browned). 

Transfer them to a plate, then repeat with the second batch of eggplant, cooking it in 1 tablespoon of oil (you can use less oil if you prefer). Transfer to the plate and set aside. 

STEP 3 – ADD OTHER VEGGIES

Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Add the sweet peppers and the white and light green parts of the scallion to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften a bit. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan, stirring and cooking for 30 seconds

STEP 4 – COMBINE & COOK

Transfer the eggplant back to the skillet, pour in the sauce, and add the bok choy. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften the bok choy and let the sauce reduce a bit. 

Remove from heat and serve the stir fry with the darker green chopped scallion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds as an optional garnish.

ENJOY!

Chinese eggplant stir fry in a bowl with garnish.

FAQ

Do you need to salt eggplant before stir-frying?

In this case, it’s not necessary, which makes this an eggplant dish that is even quicker and easier!

Does eggplant need to be soaked before frying?

Typically, eggplant behaves like a sponge, soaking up heroic amounts of oil when fried.
The Terzo Piano chefs use this trick to prevent heavy aubergines: Before frying, soak the strips of eggplant in an ice water bath. They will absorb water and drop in temperature.

What is the best oil for frying eggplant?

While this is my personal preference, I find avocado oil to be the best oil for frying eggplant. It has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor, making it perfect for stir-frying. Avocado oil is also a lot healthier than other oils, such as grapeseed, vegetable, or canola oil.

A bowl of Chinese eggplant stir fry with fork and garnish.

Storage Directions

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply stir-fry in a pan over medium heat until warmed through.

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Yield: 2-3 servings

Chinese Eggplant Stir Fry

A bowl of Chinese eggplant stir fry with fork and garnish.

This delicious Chinese eggplant recipe is almost as simple as ordering take-out! Fresh vegetables and a sweet-spicy gochujang sauce adds bold flavors and textures to this Asian-inspired dish.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener (monk fruit, agave, or date syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang sauce
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

Stir fry

  • 2-3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 Chinese eggplant, cut into ¼-inch by 2-inch strips
  • 3 small sweet peppers, cut into strips
  • 3 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces (separate the white/light green pieces from the darker green)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 baby bok choy, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or sesame seeds, to taste (optional garnish)

Instructions

  1. In a small dish, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook half of the eggplant slices, about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook another 2 minutes on the second side (or until browned). Transfer them to a plate, then repeat with the second batch of eggplant, cooking it in 1 tablespoon of oil. Transfer to the plate and set aside. 
  3. Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Add the sweet peppers and the white and light green parts of the scallion to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften a bit. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan, stirring and cooking for 30 seconds. 
  4. Transfer the eggplant back to the skillet, pour in the sauce, and add the bok choy. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften the bok choy and let the sauce reduce a bit. 
  5. Remove from heat and serve the stir fry with the darker green chopped scallion. 

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply stir-fry in a pan over medium heat until warmed through.

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