Chinese Steamed Eggplant

When it comes to eggplant, many times I still asked myself what I could do with it except grilling. However, indoor grilling is not so easy as we may get smoke everywhere in the house. In searching for another cooking recipe with eggplant, I found Chinese steamed Eggplant. The advantage of Chinese Steamed Eggplant is its shorter cooking time than grilling or steaming the whole eggplant. More than that, it’s also a very basic eggplant recipe that you can’t fail. Let’s try.

chinese steamed eggplant

How to Choose the Best Eggplant

Eggplant, also known as aubergine in some regions, is a popular vegetable with a smooth, shiny, and typically dark purple skin. It belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. Eggplants are known for their mild, slightly earthy flavor and are used in various culinary dishes around the world.

When choosing the best eggplant, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Color: Look for eggplants that have a deep, glossy purple or black color. Avoid eggplants with dull or faded skin, as this can be a sign of age or poor quality.
  • Size: Eggplants come in various sizes and shapes, but they should feel heavy for their size. This indicates that they are fresh and have a good amount of moisture.
  • Firmness: Gently press the eggplant with your thumb. It should be pressed slightly when you do so, but it should still feel firm. Avoid eggplants that are too soft or mushy, as they may be overripe.
  • Skin Texture: Examine the skin for any blemishes, scars, or wrinkling. A smooth, unblemished skin is a good indicator of freshness.
  • Stem and Cap: Check the stem and cap (the green part at the top of the eggplant). They should be green and fresh-looking. A brown or withered stem and cap can be a sign of an older eggplant.
  • Weight: Pick up the eggplant and feel its weight. Heavier eggplants tend to have fewer seeds and more flesh, which is preferable for most dishes.
  • Uniform Shape: While eggplants can come in various shapes, choose one that is symmetrical and has a consistent shape. Irregularities may indicate uneven ripening or potential quality issues.
  • Avoid Bruises: Steer clear of eggplants with bruises, cuts, or soft spots.
  • Keep in mind that while the classic dark purple eggplant is the most common variety, there are also other types, such as Japanese eggplants (slimmer and lighter purple), white eggplants (pale with white skin), and even striped varieties. The same principles of firmness, unblemished skin, and freshness apply to these variations as well.

Once you’ve selected a good eggplant, store it in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator for short-term storage.

Ingredients

To make Chinese Steamed Eggplant, each medium eggplant is enough for a dish for 2 people to eat as a side dish, or with rice, pork/beef. Therefore, depend on the number of people, you can prepare 2-3 eggplants and steam them in a 2-3 tier steamer.

Traditionally, Chinese Steamed Eggplant is served with spring onion oil and soy sauce. I also found them the most suitable dressing for steamed eggplant. Fish sauce/oyster sauce are nice replacement, just in case.

chinese steamed eggplant

How to make Chinese Steamed Eggplant

It’s very simple to make this dish: Slice your eggplant thinly, arrange them on the dish/bowl, steam then add dressing to enjoy. Let’s start:

Step 1. Preparation

  • Wash the eggplant thoroughly to remove dust and impurities. Remove its cap and stem.
  • Lay the eggplant on a cutting board and to cut it into 2 equal halves, vertically or horizontally (it’s to be able to slice it more easily. You can even slice a whole eggplant instead which is more beautiful, but it requires a more proficient knife skill). Remember to select a sharp knife because the eggplant’s skin is quite slippery, and its texture is spongy.
  • Cut the eggplant into 0.5cm thick (0.2 inches) slices.
  • Carefully arrange the slices on a big plate or bowl. Don’t overcrowd them, you should spread only one layer of them on the plate. Sprinkle a bit of salt on it.
chinese steamed eggplant

Step 2. Steaming Eggplant

  • Add water to the steamer and heat it up on to high heat. Steam the eggplant plate in 30-45 minutes. The steaming time depends on the steamer and heat setting, so you should check your eggplant every 15 minutes to make sure it’s cooked to perfection.
chinese steamed eggplant

Step 3. Making Spring Onion Oil

  • While waiting for the eggplant slices to be steamed, chop spring onion to make it ready for making spring onion oil.
  • Once the eggplant plate is done, make spring onion oil dressing. In a pan, heat up 2-3 tbsp of oil then add a handful of chopped spring onion and several slices of chilies (if you like spiciness) in.
  • Finally, boil hot spring onion oil onto the plate. Dress a thin layer of soy sauce to complete. Serve the dish as a side dish, or with rice, meat, soup and other fresh vegetables.
chinese steamed eggplant

How to Store Chinese Steamed Eggplant

In my opinion, this dish tastes not so good if you leave it for 2-3 hours regardless at room temperature or in fridge. It’s the best to enjoy it hot, right immediately after steaming.

chinese steamed eggplant

Chinese Steamed Eggplant

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

The advantage of Chinese Steamed Eggplant is its shorter cooking time than grilling or steaming the whole eggplant.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 3-4 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1-3 tbsp of spring onion
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • Soy sauce

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • Wash the eggplant thoroughly to remove dust and impurities. Remove its cap and stem.chinese steamed eggplant
  • Lay the eggplant on a cutting board and to cut it into 2 equal halves, vertically or horizontally (it’s to be able to slice it more easily. You can even slice a whole eggplant instead which is more beautiful, but it requires a more proficient knife skill). Remember to select a sharp knife because the eggplant’s skin is quite slippery, and its texture is spongy.chinese steamed eggplant
  • Cut the eggplant into 0.5cm thick (0.2 inches) slices. chinese steamed eggplant
  • Carefully arrange the slices on a big plate or bowl. Don’t overcrowd them, you should spread only one layer of them on the plate. Sprinkle a bit of salt on it.chinese steamed eggplant

Step 2. Steaming Eggplant

  • Add water to the steamer and heat it up on to high heat. Steam the eggplant plate in 30-45 minutes. The steaming time depends on the steamer and heat setting, so you should check your eggplant every 15 minutes to make sure it’s cooked to perfection.chinese steamed eggplant

Step 3. Making Spring Onion Oil

  • While waiting for the eggplant slices to be steamed, chop spring onion to make it ready for making spring onion oil.
  • Once the eggplant plate is done, make spring onion oil dressing. In a pan, heat up 2-3 tbsp of oil then add a handful of chopped spring onion and several slices of chilies (if you like spiciness) in.chinese steamed eggplant
  • Finally, boil hot spring onion oil onto the plate. Dress a thin layer of soy sauce to complete. Serve the dish as a side dish, or with rice, meat, soup and other fresh vegetables.chinese steamed eggplant

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 200g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170

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