This pan fried eggplant will be your new favorite way to eat eggplant! Crispy and tender on the outside and soft on the inside, it’s perfect on its own or served as a side!
Pan Fried Eggplant
If there is one vegetable that can often go very wrong, it’s eggplant. There is the assumption that this nightshade vegetable can be soggy or undercooked, and leave a poor taste in your mouth.
Luckily, we’re here to prove that eggplant IS an easy and delicious vegetable to cook and the best way to cook it is stovetop and sauteed!
The texture is crispy and tender on the outside, while soft and mellow on the inside. The dish is salty and with a subtle sesame flavor, enhanced by the delicious onion and garlic flavors!
How to cook eggplant on the stove?
- Thinly slice the eggplant. So the eggplant cooks evenly. The last thing we want is for some of the eggplant to be underdone.
- Use a small amount of oil. Eggplant acts like a sponge so the more oil you use, the oilier the final dish will be. Besides a small amount of oil ensures the eggplant is crispy on the outside, while soft on the inside.
- Add Asian inspired seasonings. While eggplant can take on many flavors, they work especially well if Asian inspired seasonings and sauces. We love using sesame oil and adding chili sauce afterward!
- Eggplant– Fresh and firm eggplant. Avoid using baby eggplants or super soft eggplants, as they will be harder to hold onto the spices.
- Sesame oil– A flavorful and robust oil, that works beautifully for Asian-inspired recipes.
- Onion and garlic powder– Adds extra flavor without needing onions or excessive garlic.
- Salt– Adds flavor but also helps retain moisture.
- Minced garlic– You can never have too much garlic!
- Chili sauce- Optional, but highly recommended!
Start by adding the sliced eggplant into a mixing bowl. Add the sesame oil, onion and garlic powder, salt, and minced garlic, and mix well, until combined. Next, coat a non-stick pan with cooking spray and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the sliced and seasoned eggplant and cook for 4-5 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further 5 minutes.
Remove the pan fried eggplant from the stovetop and add chili sauce, before serving immediately.
Tips to make the best pan seared eggplant
- Cooking times vary depending on how thick you slice your eggplant. As a rule of thumb, aim for the eggplant to be 1/4 inch of thickness in size.
- Feel free to change up the spices in the mix. Red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper are fantastic to give this dish a spicy kick.
- If you’d like a more hearty dish, add some breadcrumbs before pan frying it, to give it an extra crispy exterior.
Do you soak eggplant before frying?
Soaking the eggplant is not necessary unless you planned on steaming it or cooking it with a bunch of other ingredients (like in an eggplant lasagna).
Should I salt my eggplant before cooking it?
Salting eggplant usually draws out the liquid. However, we aren’t making eggplant chips or crispy eggplant, so this step is not necessary.
What is the healthiest way to eat eggplant?
Pan fried eggplant uses a minimal amount of oil, so is perfect for a healthy diet. Pair it with some rice and plant based protein for a well balanced meal.
Storing and freezing fried eggplant
- To store: Fried eggplant can be stored in the refrigerator, covered. It will keep well for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: Place leftover eggplant in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: While the eggplant can be microwaved, it’s best to reheat the eggplant in the non-stick pan until warm and fragrant.
What to serve fried eggplant with
Pan Fried Eggplant
- 1 large eggplant thinly sliced
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic minced
- In a mixing bowl, add all your ingredients and mix well, until all the eggplant is coated in the oil and spices.
- Grease a non-stick pan and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the slices of eggplant and cook for 4-5 minutes, before flipping and cooking for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove the eggplant from the stove and serve immediately.