Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant is a light version of a traditional Chinese dish where the eggplant is typically deep fried.  This is one of my favorite home-style Chinese dishes. I used to make this eggplant dish quite often, but didn’t like all the oil needed to fry the eggplant. Thankfully, I have an air fryer that eliminates the need to use a lot of oil. Not only is the cleanup a lot easier, but this dish is much healthier as well.

I love eggplant, and look forward to spying Asian eggplant at our local farmer’s market each year. Chinese people are very fond of chewy textures, so these Asian eggplants provide lots of eggplant skin to give this dish some chew.

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

One of the tricks I’ve read is that soaking eggplant in salt water helps flavor the eggplant and give the eggplant a silky texture. So, I soaked the eggplant in salt water for 15 minutes before air-frying it.

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

If you’ve ever fried eggplant, you know that it absorbs a lot of oil. So, air-frying is a great alternative if you’re looking to fry eggplant without all the extra oil. It took 15 minutes at 390 degrees to air-fry my eggplant. The skin was nice and firm/chewy and the flesh was tender. This contrasting texture is what I was looking for.

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

The aromatics for this air fried spicy Chinese eggplant dish are garlic, ginger, Szechuan peppercorns and Chinese chili paste.

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

You can keep this dish meatless, or add ground turkey (or other ground meat) as I did for some protein. I marinated the ground turkey with soy sauce and Chinese rice wine for 15 minutes (to save time, I did this while the eggplant was in the air-fryer). A little sugar, Chinese black vinegar and sesame oil are added towards the end of cooking, which rounds out the flavor in this dish.

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

Print

Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Keyword air fryer, eggplant
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 209kcal

Equipment

  • air fryer

Ingredients

Air Fried Eggplant

  • 1 pound Asian eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Spicy Eggplant Meat Sauce

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine sherry can be substituted
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger skin removed, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese chili paste I used Hunan chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar balsamic vinegar can be substituted
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 scallion chopped

Instructions

Air Fried Eggplant

  • Trim tops off eggplant. Cut eggplant into 3/4" thick pieces, about 3" in length.
    Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant
  • Place in a bowl. Cover with cold water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Let sit 15 minutes.
    Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant
  • Drain eggplant, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Return eggplant to dry bowl. Toss with one tablespoon oil.
  • Air Fry eggplant at 390-400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until inside flesh is tender.
    Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant

Spicy Eggplant Meat Sauce

  • While eggplant is air-frying, prepare Eggplant Meat Sauce.
  • Marinade ground turkey with soy sauce and 1 teaspoon rice wine for 15 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or large skillet.
  • Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add crushed Szechuan peppercorns and chili paste; cook for another minute.
    Air Fried Spicy Chinese Eggplant
  • Add marinated meat and stir-fry until brown.
  • Add rice wine, sugar, vinegar, and 3 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and add air-fried eggplant. Toss and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix cornstarch with 2 teaspoons cold water; stir into eggplant to thicken sauce.
  • Drizzle with sesame oil and toss. Garnish with chopped scallions.

Nutrition

Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 395mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 97IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

If you like this Chinese eggplant dish, you might also like:

Asian Grilled Eggplant with Soy Sesame Sauce

Asian Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Soy Sesame Sauce

Jeanette

Source link