There are many ways to prepare eggplant dishes. You can roast or grill the eggplant and collect the meat, which is popular in the middle east. In South China they deep fry the egg plant pieces, preserving the beautiful deep purple color that keeps the looks attractive. When steaming it, some of the consistency of the flesh will be preserved but the color is lost. So here we first marinate the purple vegetable, then briefly stir-fry it in a little oil, followed by a simmer in vegetable broth. The toasted sesame seeds form a perfect dressing.

The art of making marinated eggplant

Eggplant is not a particular nutritious vegetable. It consists for 92% of water. It finds widespread use though as its flesh can absorb flavors easily.  For these reasons  boiling in plane water is not the best way to impart flavour to an eggplant dish.  Chinese eat eggplant in combination with minced pork. But South-Chinese eat eggplant steamed and dressed with plenty of minced, fried garlic. Here we offer a vegetarian preparation by marinating the egg plant first in a sweet, salty and umami mixture. Some slight spiciness comes from ginger. Then after 2-4 hrs, the egg plant is drained, and then briefly stir-fried in oil. The vegetable is then cooked in a small amount of vegetable broth, and dressed with freshly toasted sesame seeds.  It is an easy dish to make and fail safe! Eat it together with steamed rice and one other vegetable dish.

Special equipment

  • mortar and pestle
  • wok or wok-shaped pan
    marinated eggplant: ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

    Marinated eggplant with toasted sesame

    Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
    Course Dinner, Lunch
    Cuisine Chinese
    Servings 4


    Ingredients for the marinade

    • 2 large eggplants (total 28 oz or 800 g)
    • 0.71 oz (20 g) fresh ginger root
    • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup or tomato paste
    • 3 tbsp palm or cane sugar
    • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp rice wine (shaoxingjiu)

    Ingredients for the eggplant dish

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 3 tbsp raw sesame seeds
    • 1 tbsp tapioca or corn starch
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp toasted (black) sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp finely cut parsley or spring onion for decoration


    Instructions to make the marinade

    • Peel the ginger and dice
    • Cut the eggplants over the length in 4 strings and then cut each in 2 cm long pieces
    • mix the tomato ketchup, the sugar, the rice wine and the soysauce and the diced ginger together
    • Mix eggplant and marinade and toss now and then. Leave at the least 2 h to marinate.

    Instructions to make the eggplant dish

    • drain the eggplant pieces for 5 minutes. Reserve some of the draining fluid
    • prepare a wok and heat the olive oil
    • When the oil is hot, add the eggplant pieces, including the diced ginger and stir-fry for 3 minutes on high heat.
    • Then add the vegetable broth and simmer with lid on for 15 min.
    • Meanwhile toast the sesame seeds in a skillet until they become fragrant and a shade deeper. Let cool
    • Mix in a separate cup the starch with 4 tbsp of the reserved draining liquid
    • When the 15 minutes are up, check the doneness of the eggplant, ensure there is not lots of fluids in the pan left (otherwise cook off with the lid off) and mix in the starch mixture while stirring well. Add salt, pepper and the sesame oil
    • Serve on a plate, cover with the toasted sesame seeds and optionally with some parsley or finely sliced spring onions


    Method: stir-frying and simmering
    Food allergy & intolerance information: soy
    Keyword eggplant, marinated, toasted sesame


  1. If you can, toss the eggplant pieces now and then during marinating. They will lose some of their juices, the more the longer the time. The salt and sugar in the marinade extract the juices
  2. Left over can be refrigerated for a day. Try to dress with freshly toasted sesame seeds.


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