This eggplant stir-fry with Thai chicken and basil involves many of my favorite things to eat, and it’s a quick and easy meal to boot.
The fragrant combination of aromatics, including Thai basil, awakens your taste buds.
Add some eggplant and chicken (or skip the meat to make this vegetarian), and you’ll have a satisfying meal after less than 15 minutes on the stove!
Note: This recipe was originally published in August 2016. Since then, we’ve updated it with clearer instructions and metric measurements. Enjoy!
Notes on ingredients
We call Japanese or Chinese eggplant in this recipe. They are generally more tender than regular balloon eggplants, with fewer seeds.
Japanese eggplant has
darker skin (similar in color to a regular balloon eggplant), while Chinese eggplant has lighter purple skin. Both are long and thin-shaped.
We have a great harvest of eggplants in our garden this year, so we bring this recipe from the archives!
If you use eggplants with thick skin, like the large regular variety you find in your average grocery store, you can peel all or part of the skin.
Similarly, we order Thai basil or holy basil, but Italian basil can also work in a pinch!
Cooking eggplants with less oil
Now that we’ve eliminated the finer points about eggplant and basil, we can talk about cooking eggplants.
Specifically, eggplants are tiny sponges that seem to absorb as much oil as you add. For this reason, we refrain from frying it when we cook it at home. Instead, we use a dry frying method in the wok.
That said, restaurant-style eggplant dishes almost always rely on deep or shallow frying. Consequently, Chinese eggplant dishes, although delicious, often swim in oil.
To lessen this problem, we use the dry frying method on our Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce here also in this
Whether you’re shopping for Japanese or Chinese eggplants at your local Asian supermarket, picking them from the garden, or using another variety you find locally, take advantage of eggplant season and enjoy it. Eggplant
Thai basil and chicken: Recipe instructions
In a medium bowl, massage the chicken with the water until completely absorbed, and add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch until well incorporated. Reserve.
For more information and to prepare chicken for stir-frying, see Bill’s post on chicken velvet 101
Heat your wok over medium-high heat and cover with 2 tablespoons of oil
. Spread the eggplant evenly on the wok and
let it seal with the cover in
the wok for 2 minutes. Remove the lid, turn
over the eggplant pieces, and pour another tablespoon of oil around the perimeter
Cover the wok and turn on the heat to medium-low for another 2 minutes until the eggplant is tender.
Then, Increase the heat to high to cook the eggplant to a golden brown color, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to your wok and heat until you only smoke. Add the marinated chicken and spread it around the wok.
Let it sit for 30 to 60 seconds (depending on the capacity of your burner) on each side. Remove from the wok and set aside.
With the wok over high heat, add another tablespoon of oil, garlic, white parts of the scallions and Thai basil (or holy basil).
Sauté for 30 seconds and add the chicken and eggplant
Next, add the Shaoxing wine and stir everything together.
Add the fish sauce, sugar, Thai fine soy sauce,
dark soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper, and stir until everything is combined, about 1 minute. Next, add the green portion of the scallions.
Pour the hot chicken broth around the perimeter of the wok to deglaze it. Sauté until everything is well combined and most of the liquid has been absorbed by other ingredients. Serve with steamed jasmine rice!
Enjoy this eggplant with Thai basil and chicken, while summer eggplants are plentiful!