Shanghai-style eggplant

Chris says, ‘This is a very simple and a traditional Shanghai home-cooked dish. Every family in Shanghai has their own way to cook it and uses the exact same ingredients. The woman in Shanghai who is the best cook for this dish is very special. She is my mum. So I believe the best seasoning in the world is memories.’

Melissa says this recipe is for Grace & Estella!

Fresh from the garden: eggplant, chilli, garlic
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Chris Yan on
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Paper towel
  • Bowls – large, small
  • Scales
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • A wok
  • Slotted & wooden spoons
  • Measures – jug, tablespoons
  • Serving plates

  • 6 Japanese eggplant (also known as Lebanese) or 2 large eggplant
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red chilli (or green if you don’t want too much heat!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 200ml water
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

What to do:

  • Wash and wipe dry the eggplant and cut off the stem & leaves. Weigh to make sure you have 500g. Then cut into 5cm thick pieces.
  • Wash and wipe dry the chilli and roughly cut into chunks.
  • Bruise the garlic cloves with your hand or the blade of a large knife and then peel.
  • Heat oil in wok until shimmering. Add chilli and garlic cloves and cook for 20 seconds. Remove the chilli with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Add the eggplant and gently stir-fry. When eggplants have soaked up all of the oil, add 1 tablespoon of the water. Keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time until eggplants are soft and you have used half of the water.
  • Stir in dark soy sauce and sugar. Stir well and add remaining water. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 1 minute. Uncover, the liquid should have been absorbed.
  • Return chilli to wok, toss for 30 seconds and serve.
  • Eat immediately, but watch out the temperature very hot! Seriously!


  • Wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with chilli, as the capsaicin (the oil within the chilli) burns when it comes in contact with your eyes or sensitive skin.

 Notes: What does bruising a clove of garlic mean? Where is Shanghai? What food memories do you have?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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