Pan-Fried Cumin Eggplant

干煸孜然茄子gān biān zǐ rán qié zi


1 lb eggplant

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 cup flour

(optional) 2 eggs

4-5 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp minced ginger

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup cilantro

1 green onion

1 hot pepper

1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 tsp dark soy sauce

1 pinch salt

4 tbsp water

Prep Ingredients

  1. Cut eggplant into thirds.

  2. Slice each third into thin slices.

  3. Cut any of the rounder/squarer slices in half so that they're more rectangular. In total, we want about ~20 to 25 pieces of eggplant.

  4. Soak the eggplant slices in cold water with 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar. This helps prevent browning.

  5. Mince 1 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp garlic.

  6. Wash green onion and slice into 1 inch long pieces.

  7. Wash cilantro and slice into 1 inch long pieces as well.

  8. For some heat, slice the pepper into small rounds. Mince if you have a bigger pepper.

Fry Eggplant

  1. Strain the eggplant pieces and wash under cold water once more.

  2. Mix flour and cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl.

  3. Whisk eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Use water instead for a vegan recipe.

  4. Set up your stations in this order (from left-to-right or right-to-left - whichever is most natural for you): water / egg bowl, flour & cornstarch bowl, big plate.

  5. Take an eggplant piece and submerge completely in the water / egg bowl.

  6. Then, take the eggplant piece and cover completely with flour & cornstarch. Tap on the side of the bowl so that any excess taps off.

  7. Place eggplant piece on the plate. Repeat steps 5-7 with each piece. Make sure you do not layer the eggplant pieces on the final plate.

  8. Heat a pan over medium heat.

  9. Pour or brush a thin layer of olive oil into the pan.

  10. Arrange eggplant pieces in the pan in one layer

  11. Fry each side for ~2 minutes until there's a crust on both sides. The eggplant will absorb the oil real fast - don't panic, just let them fry. If you want, you can flip them after a minute, but just make sure a crust forms on each side.

  12. Move the pan-fried eggplant pieces to another plate.

  13. Give the pan a quick paper-towel wipe and repeat steps 9-13 until all the eggplant has been fried.

Saute Dish

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat.

  2. Add 1 tsp of olive oil and the cumin seeds. Fry for 1 minute.

  3. Add the eggplant pieces, ginger, (optionally) hot pepper, and cooking wine, and flip a few times.

  4. Add light soy sauce. Stir and flip gently for even coverage.

  5. Add dark soy sauce. Stir and flip gently for even coverage.

  6. Add 2 tbsp water and stir and flip a few times for ~2 minutes.

  7. Once there's not much liquid left in the pan, add green onion, garlic, and cilantro.

  8. Continue to stir and flip for ~2 minutes.

  9. Once there is no more liquid in the pan, turn off the stove, and add salt to taste.

  10. Serve!