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Fish-Flavored Eggplant [Vegan]

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Don't worry, there aren't actually any fish or fish products in this recipe! It's an authentic Chinese dish that is flavored with chili bean paste and soy sauce to give the eggplant a deceptively "fishy" taste. One bite of this sweet, sour, and spicy vegan fish-flavored eggplant is sure to make you feel like you're eating authentic Chinese food, no matter where you live!

Fish-Flavored Eggplant [Vegan]

This Recipe is :

Dairy Free Vegan


  • 2 long Asian eggplants (long and skinny)
  • Salt*
  • 2 tablespoons oil*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce**
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 4 scallions, sliced on the bias


  1. Chop eggplant into 1-2 inch pieces. Place the eggplant into a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Allow the eggplant to sweat for 30 minutes so that some of the moisture is released.
  2. While the eggplant is sweating, prepare the ginger and garlic and measure out the remaining ingredients.
  3. After 30 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a wok and let it heat up over medium-high heat. Sauté the eggplant until starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add in the chili bean paste, ginger, garlic, and optional Sichuan peppercorns and continue to cook until you can smell the aroma of the spices.
  4. Add in the vegetable broth and sugar and mix well.
  5. In a small bowl, dissolve the arrowroot powder in 1 tablespoon of water. Then pour the mixture into the wok and allow the arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce.
  6. Lastly, add in the vinegar and green scallions and stir a couple more times.
  7. Remove from the heat, plate, and serve over steamed rice!


*If you want to cut down on the oil in this recipe, feel free to not sweat the eggplant and then dry or water sauté the eggplant in the wok.

**Sub tamari if gluten-free.





After four years of traveling the world to places like Madagascar, India, Taiwan, Ethiopia, and the Netherlands, I now find myself married and living with my husband in the eastern country of China. All those years of traveling and a recently discovered enthusiasm for eating plants are what inspire me every day in my kitchen. I hope to inspire others to eat more consciously through the simple, creative, and delicious recipes I share on my blog, The Conscientious Eater.



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