Vegan Chinese eggplant with spicy garlic sauce

I have this favorite Asian restaurant in Tartu, one of my favorite cities (and I'm not even a fan of the cities). But Tartu is great and I have many great memories there. Since my grandparents lived near Tartu, me and my family often visited them and we also stopped in the city to grab some delicious stuff to bring with us. And when I was a teenager, Tartu was my number one city to hang with the metal music scene and to go to concerts. Right now, I mostly visit my friends there or eat some delicious food. Until now, there wasn't many great places for vegans. But it has changed. There's Aparaat, my huge favorite and there's Hot Pot, that Asian restaurant I mentioned.

I usually always eat the same stuff at Hot Pot, but one time I was a rebel and ordered something I haven't tasted yet. It was the Hong Kong eggplant. And it was delicious! I was so impressed that I couldn't wait to try to make something similar at home. I fell in love with my version and it turned out really amazing. That's why I am so excited to share this recipe with you. If you are craving some really spicy and satisfying Chinese food with a rich taste, this is the real deal. The best part - it is not complicated at all. Happy cooking and let me know how you liked it! 

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Serves: 6 people

  • 6 cups / 600 g large eggplant chunks
  • 2-3 Tbsp oil
  • 6-7 large garlic cloves
  • 2 heaping Tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp dried chili flakes (use less at first if you don't want it to be so spicy, the spiciness also depends on the brand)
  • ½ cup / 100 g cashews
  • 2 ½ cups / 150 g sliced broccoli florets
  • 2 cups / 150 sliced white mushrooms
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup / 240 ml hot water
  • 2 slightly heaping Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 cups / 480 ml cold water
  • 6 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ Tbsp white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
+ boiled rice or rice noodles and cilantro for serving


Steam the eggplant chunks for about 15 minutes. I used a regular metal colander and a wide pot (see the photo above). Just pour some hot water in the bottom of the pot, add the colander (so it barely touches the water) and the eggplant chunks, cover with a lid and let it steam on a medium heat. Check it a couple of times and add more water if needed. The eggplant should shrink a lot.

Heat up a pan and pour some oil in it. Add finely chopped garlic cloves and chopped ginger. Cook for a minute. Add chili flakes and cashews. Cook for a minute or two. Add sliced broccoli florets, sliced white mushrooms and salt. Stir and cook for a minute. Add hot water and let it simmer until the eggplant has been steamed.

In the meantime, take a bowl and whisk corn starch with cold water, soy sauce or tamari and vinegar. Set aside for a moment. Take the eggplant and add it to the pan. Stir. Add the sauce and stir again. Let it simmer for a few minutes. It will thicken and turn much darker. Remove the heat. Serve with rice or rice noodles and fresh cilantro, if you like.