Skip to main content

Chinese Steamed Eggplant Salad with Chili Oil

This will be your new favorite way to eat eggplants! Tender, silky, and juicy eggplant glazed in a savory, umami, and subtly sweet dressing, and finally invigorated by a splash of aromatic sizzling chili oil - it's a flavor party on a plate! And it's super easy and quick to make.


Eggplants are so underappreciated. They have such a magical texture - fluffy white, tender, moist, and "meaty", and it soaks up flavor literally like a sponge. Their vibrant purple skin is packed with antioxidants that can prevent our bodies from cellular damage, reduce the chances of many diseases, and keep us young. They also contain good amounts of potassium, manganese, folate, and Vitamin K, all of which a lot of us are probably taking supplements for! 


If you think you hate eggplants, well, not for nothing but my eggplant recipes like Miso Eggplant, Gochujang Eggplant, and Doubanjiang Eggplant have converted many, many eggplant haters and I believe this recipe would do the same and provide you with an even easier and more summer-friendly option!


And the type of eggplant I used in the video is unfortunately not ideal for this dish, however, this large round eggplant is the only type available to me locally. I highly recommend using the thin, long, Asian eggplants if you could find any!

Watch the video for tips on how to prevent eggplants from oxidizing and turning unpleasantly dark during cooking. And don't forget to come hang with you on Instagram and Tiktok ^^


INGREDIENTS:

1 large eggplant or 2 medium ones
2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar

For the dressing -
1 scallion, chopped
1-2 green chili pepper, chopped
2 red chili pepper, chopped (adjust to your preferred level of spiciness)
3 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoon mushroom "oyster" sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1-2 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn (more if you like more numbing feeling)
1 bay leaf

TO MAKE:

- Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each half in four, depending on the size of your eggplant;
- In a large bowl, add in the eggplant, water, salt, and white vinegar, and let them soak for 10 minutes;
- Then gently squeeze out any excess water, bring your steaming pot to boil over high heat, place the eggplants onto the steaming drawer, SKIN SIDE UP;
- Cover and steam for 10 minutes over medium-high heat, till tender;
- Meanwhile prepare the dressing, chop all the aromatics and whisk together with the "oyster" sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar;
- In a small sauce pot, heat the oil with the Sichuan peppercorns and bay leaf over medium heat for about 15 minutes, you should see a gentle bubbling around the spices;
- Once the eggplants are done steaming, let them cool down a little, then either cut or hand shred them into thin strips;
- Arrange the eggplant strips onto a plate, pour the dressing evenly over them, then drizzle on the hot infused oil, enjoy the sizzling and aroma! Serve warm or cold.

Popular posts from this blog

Rice Paper Sushi Rolls with Teriyaki Tofu and Veggies

When crispy rice paper rolls and sushi rolls have a baby - then we have something that has the best of both worlds. These rice paper sushi rolls are a perfect combination of earth and ocean, crispy chewy rice paper brings the aroma of the earth, seaweed brings the taste of the ocean, then filled with umami teriyaki tofu, homemade vegan mayo, and fresh veggies. If you ever feel "bored" with your food or cooking, try combining a few things you love and creating something new! These rolls are the kind of magic where 1 plus 1 is greater than 2! They are naturally gluten-free, very well balanced in nutrition with loads protein, carbs, vitamins, and fiber... packed full of flavors and layers of texture. When it comes to rice paper, a very common complaint is "why is my rice paper roll soggy/not crispy/leaking". Well rice paper is a wonderfully versatile ingredient to work with and once you get the hang of it it's super easy to get that golden crispy crust every single

Vegan Napa Cabbage Rolls with Tofu Stuffings

These napa cabbage rolls are almost like vegan dumplings but without having to make any dough. The stuffings are hearty, savory, and "meaty", wrapped in sweet and juicy napa cabbage leaves that are pan-seared to give them a little golden color and charred flavor, and finally dressed in a shiny, umami, garlicky sauce. Cabbage rolls are widely loved in many parts of the world - Central, Northern, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe and much of Asia, as well as parts of North Africa. But of course, they're made differently from region to region. In China, in particular, cabbage rolls are usually made with napa cabbage, as opposed to cannonball cabbage, commonly known as green cabbage. They're then stuffed with minced pork and vegetables and finished by steaming or pan-fring. To make a vegan version, I used tofu, brown rice, shiitake mushrooms, carrot, and scallions but the combination is highly adaptable. This is a perfect chance to use up any scraps of veggies in your fri

Whole Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower with Whipped Tofu Feta, Crispy Chickpeas & Chimichurri

Turn cauliflower into your next holiday centerpiece dish! This whole roasted cauliflower is super easy to make yet packed with layers of different textures and flavors, high in plant protein, and gluten-free! Cauliflower is literally magic, they can be turned into just about anything and have! This is a dish that fully celebrates cauliflower and compliments it with many different elements and flavors. It's very low-fuss and easy to make and it's so festive-looking it can be a wow factor at any holiday gathering. The cauliflower is blanched first then roasted with a turmeric-based seasoning till golden and slightly charred, served with crispy chickpeas, which are cooked at the same time with the cauliflower, on a bed of creamy fluffy whipped tofu feta and finally drizzled with tahini and chimichurri sauce. You can also add roasted baby carrots, or potatoes, or green beans on the side of this dish! Let the festivities begin ^^ INGREDIENTS: 1 head cauliflower 1/4 cup olive oil 2 t

Chinese Cucumber Salad - Suo Yi Cucumber

The most fabulous way to cut and present cucumber, ever! This cucumber salad is made of ONE SINGLE cucumber, sliced into a spring shape and dressed in a sweet, sour, and umami sauce, and finally topped with some aromatic and spicy chili oil. Let's please call this dish by its proper name - Suo Yi cucumber, or Suo Yi Huang Gua 蓑衣黄瓜. Suo Yi, means the traditional Chinese raincoat which was made of overlapping layers of straw and sometimes leaves, think a Hawaiian grass skirt but for the whole body. And the "scales" of the cucumber created by a special slicing technique and stretching resemble the layers of straws in Suo Yi, hence the name. And this special way of slicing is not just for presentation's sake! Because of all the incredibly thin, translucent, and flexible slices that this method creates, the seemingly ordinary cucumber is transformed into a form of magic and art! The texture is crunchy yet tender, every single thin "scale" of the cucumber picks up

Vegan Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savory Pancake with Veggies)

My absolute favorite Japanese street food, EVER!  Okonomiyaki is like a big savory pancake that is thick, a bit chewy, fluffy and soft on the inside and golden crispy on the outside, topped off with a generous amount of umami and sweet sauce and mayo. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake made of vegetables, sometimes meat and seafood, in a wheat flour batter. It's as adaptable as an omelet, if not more, as the word  okonomi  literally means "how you like" or "what you like".You can pretty much stuff it with whatever ingredients you prefer but for this vegan version, I used a variety of vegetables. This is also a great fridge clearing recipe to use up all the scraps of veggies you have on your hand. For the batter, the traditional okonomiyaki recipe calls for grated nagaimo to add fluffiness to the texture. Nagaimo, or mountain yam, is a type of root vegetable that's long and hairy, it's creamy and slimy when grated. However, it's not easy to find

Vegan Tofu Salmon Rice Bowl with Homemade Vegan Mayo

This mind-blowing tofu "salmon bowl" is my favorite lunch bowl ever and I myself make it at least once a week. Perfectly seasoned and slightly charred tofu "salmon", broken apart and mixed into a bowl of steamy rice, topped with sweet chili sauce and creamy homemade vegan kewpie mayo, and finally all wrapped in a piece of crispy seaweed - it's land and ocean, nutrition and flavor, all in one bite. You might know this bowl as an internet "trend" but for me and I believe many other Eastern Asian kids, it's a childhood memory. I grew up in a coastal city right on the beach and crispy seaweed is a snack our household always had in abundance, they're just so delicious, available, cheap, and actually healthy. And before anyone even had to teach me, I started using crispy seaweed to pick up steamed rice, I’d even skip the chopsticks and just use my fingers to pinch up the rice and whatever I mixed in it for that meal with the seaweed. I love the feeli

Miso Glazed Eggplants - Umami and Addicting

These miso eggplants are seared, glazed, and finally baked to perfection. They're literally bursting with umami, juicy, savory, tenderer than a baby's cheek, and just melt in your mouth. They're definitely a rice-killer - meaning so much rice is gonna be devoured up with this flavorful and addicting dish. But they're also lovely just on their own. Eggplant is one of my absolute favorite vegetables growing up, even during my fussy eating teenager years I never ever turned my back on eggplants. And rightfully so. They have such an amazing texture plus a unique aroma. Scoring the eggplant really helps release the yummy potential of them, the texture will get cooked tender and soft easier and the scored patterns will soak up the sauce and glaze all the way from top to the skin. And if being downright delicious is not enough, eggplant is also a very humble and easy ingredient to use, I can't even imagine how eggplants can ever go wrong. When I was little, sometimes my mo

Pan Fried Crispy Rice Paper Dumplings with Vegan Fillings

Happy year of the tiger! Dumplings are a must for me on the Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year and these rice dumplings are the ultimate lazy and easy version. They're stuffed with a savory and "meaty" tofu veggie filling and then pan-fried till golden crispy. And to make the experience even more satisfying, serve them with some sizzling scallion chili oil! Rice papers are such a perfect "cheat" to make easy dumplings. No need to mix flour, knead the dough, then roll out the wrappers, simply dip rice papers in some warm water, cut them into shapes, and start wrapping. The texture is more like the "crystal dumplings" you would get at a dim sum restaurant - the skins would be translucent and chewy and if pan-fried, super crispy! For the fillings, I used a mixture of tofu and vegetables but this is highly adaptable! You can use up any scraps of veggies in your fridge and use any protein base you like - tofu, mashed lentils, or even crumbled tempeh. And i

Vegan BBQ Pulled Lion's Mane Mushroom Tacos

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say I've just cooked the best vegan pulled pork alternative! Yes, better than jackfruit! Actually a lot better. These BBQ pulled Lion's Mane mushroom tacos are just pockets of bursting flavors, smoky, savory, a little touch of spicy, and unbelievably "meaty". Jackfruit is a fine choice for vegan pulled "pork" but I've always found they have a natural tartness that goes against what you'd want in a taco or a burrito, also the texture of jackfruit is a little bit on the crumbly side and not stringy enough. On the other side, Lion's Mane mushroom was just a dream! They are so velvety tender, pull apart like a dream and so moist and stringy! Also they soak up sauces and flavors like a sponge! I also made the taco "meat" out of lentils and onions to give the tacos more structure and protein. Like how Lion's Mane is a perfect alternative for "pulled meat", lentils are perfect for the mince

Shanghai Style Vegan Wontons in Peanut Butter and Chili Oil Sauce

This, is the GOAT of all wontons - sorry to all the other wonton varieties out there I love them all but nothing tops these Shanghai street food style wontons! They are stuffed with umami tofu and colorful vegetables, cooked then chilled, and doused in a luscious peanut butter and chili oil sauce. I hold this recipe especially dear to my heart, as it embodies some of the best memories from my years in Shanghai. Throughout all the ups and downs, growth and growth pains, the street food in Shanghai was the one consistent thing that gave me so much comfort and joy. Scallion pancakes, scallion oil noodles, turnip cakes, soup dumplings, siu mai... but most of all, wontons! Hot steamy wonton soups in the winter and chilled peanut butter chili oil wontons in the spring and summer. The peanut butter and chili oil sauce is without a doubt the soul of this dish. I highly recommend making your own chili oil following this recipe ! It's sooo much more aromatic and flavorful than storebought an