Thai basil eggplant

Fruit or Vegetable?

Did you know eggplant is a fruit? It’s not a vegetable! Eggplants are good for you and contain healthy nutrients such as potassium, manganese, copper, vitamins B1, B3 and B6, folate, magnesium and more. One cup of cooked eggplant has about 30 calories.

When buying eggplant, smaller eggplants are best. Their seeds and skin will be softer and they are less likely to be bitter. This is why Japanese eggplants are tastier than the American Globe type that we typically see in grocery stores. In comparison, large, oversize eggplants can be tough, seedy and bitter.

My basil plant is still growing strong, so I decided to cook up a light dish. Eggplant has a nice meaty texture. Fresh herbs balance the savory flavors from the sauce in this recipe and the onions add a slight crunch. As for the type of soy sauce, I prefer using the gluten free version made with tamarind. I find it has a richer flavor depth.

Thai Basil Eggplant Recipe

3 large Japanese eggplants, cubed 1/2 inch thick
3 Tbps sea salt
1 to 1 1/2 cup of water
1 Tbps better than bouillon chicken base
4 gloves of fresh minced garlic
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
6 Tbps vegetable or grapeseed oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick, halved to about 2 inches long
2 Tbps dry Thai chili if you’d like it spicy


1/3 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup fresh scallions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbps sesame oil

In a large skillet, heat on high until hot. You can tell your pan is ready by splashing a little water on it and it sizzles. Once it’s ready, add 1 Tbps of oil. Wait about 20-30 seconds, then add in the eggplant. If your skillet is too small to allow all the eggplant to cook with room, split the batch in two. I used my cast iron so I divided the eggplant into two batches to cook.

Once the eggplant is in, sprinkle with 1 Tbps of salt. Add about 1/3 cup of water and mix. Let the eggplant cook until soft for about 3-5 minutes. Take out the first batch from the skillet and cook the second batch. Remove the eggplant.

Heat 1 Tbps of oil and add in garlic and onions. Saute until fragrant for 5 seconds or less and turn heat to medium so you don’t burn the garlic and onions. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chilies, chicken base, and 1/2 cup water. Once combined, place all the eggplant in and combine well. Simmer on medium low for 5 minutes.

Top with basil, cilantro, scallions, and sesame oil. Serve with white Jasmine rice or brown rice.


Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *