Sticky-Spicy Sauteed Asian Eggplant

Not everyone is an eggplant lover. But this eggplant recipe may change that. Long, slender Asian eggplant are no-fuss, and soak up the spicy, sweet, sticky sauce they're doused with when creamy and tender. This is a hearty, gluten-free, vegetarian main course paired with brown rice, quinoa or even wheat berries, but would also make a terrific side dish.

4 tablespoons coconut or canola oil, divided
2 pounds Asian eggplant (any variety), cut into 3/4 chunks
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 (1-inch) knob of ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 serrano chiles, minced (optional)
1/4 cup palm or cane sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro, divided
2 tablespoons roughly chopped Thai or Italian basil, divided

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add eggplant and toss quickly to coat evenly with the oil. Cook 8-10 minutes, tossing and flipping occasionally with a stiff spatula, until just tender and charred in some places. Turn into a large bowl.

Lower heat to medium. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan along with garlic, ginger and chile. Saute 30 seconds, until fragrant. Sprinkle sugar and fish sauce over top and swirl in water. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the consistency of syrup (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). Season with a couple turns of freshly ground black pepper.

Return eggplant to the pan and toss several times to coat with the sauce. Toss with half the cilantro and basil, transfer eggplant to a serving bowl, and top with remaining herbs.

Serves 4

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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.


I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

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