5-Spice Braised Eggplant

July! Officially peak eggplant szn. Have never been a big eggplant girl but finally got around to learning how to eat it sometime in the last ~3 months. This is my go-to way for making eggplant at home. You can pan-fry or air-fry the eggplant – I find airfrying it to be a lot easier for my lazy ol’ self. Recipe Reel for reference.


  • 2 large Chinese eggplants (I’ve also made this using Italian eggplant), cut into bit sized pieces
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated (~1/2 tsp)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, minced, separated into whites and greens
  • 2-5 dried chilis (based on your spice preference), broken in half
  • Cornstarch slurry: 1 tsp cornstarch, a few tsp water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (if pan-frying eggplant)
Sauce (mix together):
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2-1 tsp sugar (depending on sweetness preference)
  • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • 1/4 cup water

How to make:

  • Submerge cut-up eggplant in a bowl of salty water. Cover up the bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Then drain and pat the eggplant pieces dry.
  • If pan-frying: Cover eggplant in 1 tbsp corn starch. Heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium- high heat and cook the eggplant pieces until all surfaces are charred ~10 minutes. Cook in batches to not crowd the pan.
  • If air-frying: Alternatively, air-fry the eggplant at 400F for 15 minutes
  • Heat up some oil over medium heat and add in the ginger, garlic, dried chilis, and scallion whites and cook until fragrant ~30 seconds – minute. Lower heat to medium-low. Add sauce in. Then add eggplant back and toss until well coated. Simmer for ~ 1-2 minutes. Mix in the cornstarch slurry