Sesame Hoisin Eggplant Stir Fry

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This eggplant stir-fry is loaded with flavor and easy to make! Made with tender eggplant and bell peppers in garlicky hoisin sauce, it pairs up perfectly with rice for a delicious veggie-packed meal.

Plate of Eggplant Stir Fry and rice with skillet in the background.

I love eggplant and always look forward to this time of year when my garden starts producing it in abundance. But it’s easy to get stuck in an eggplant rut, where I’m pretty much making the same dishes again and again (hello, eggplant Parm!).

So this year I’m working on coming up with some new delicious uses for my eggplant. That’s how this eggplant stir-fry recipe was born.

Eggplant is a little different from other stir-fry veggies. In fact, eggplant doesn’t lend itself to stir frying! It needs a little bit of time sitting on a hot cooking surface (without stirring) in order to get tender. That’s why in this recipe we’ll actually be pan frying our eggplant before we add our other veggie (bell pepper) and stir-frying everything together.

Don’t worry! It may sound complicated, but this dish is really easy to throw together, and it’s absolutely delicious.

Jump to:

Ingredients You’ll Need

Five Japanese eggplants on a white wooden surface.
  • Soy sauce. Gluten-free tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted if needed.
  • Hoisin sauce. Look for this in the international foods section of your supermarket.
  • Water.
  • Rice vinegar.
  • Brown sugar. Use organic sugar to keep the recipe vegan.
  • Sambal oelek. This will add some heat to your stir-fry, and can be left out if you prefer a milder dish. It can be found in the international aisle at the strore.
  • Toasted sesame oil. Yet another item to look for in the international aisle!
  • Cornstarch.
  • Chinese five spice. This blend of cinnamon, cloves, anise, fennel and Chinese peppercorns can be found in the spice section at most stores. It will add so much flavor to your stir fry sauce, so don’t skip it!
  • Peanut oil. Another high-heat oil such as canola, corn, or vegetable oil can be substituted if needed.
  • Eggplant. This recipe works best with Chinese eggplant or Japanese eggplant (pictured above), both of which cook more quickly than the more common Italian varieties of eggplant you see in most stores. Having said that, you can really make the dish with any type of eggplant. Just increase the cooking time a bit if needed!
  • Scallions. Also known as green onions.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginger.
  • Bell pepper. I’m using a red bell pepper, but any color will work!
  • Sesame seeds.
  • Fresh basil. Thai basil or holy basil work great in this recipe if you can get your hands on them. If not, Italian basil is totally fine!
  • Cooked rice. Use your favorite variety. I love this stir-fry with jasmine rice.

Tip: Want to add some protein to your eggplant stir fry? Try including this crispy fried tofu or some simple pan-fried tofu. Just add either one at the same time as your sauce.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Do all of your prep work before you start cooking: whisk together the sauce ingredients, chop your veggies, mince your garlic, and grate your ginger.
Hand whisking stir-fry sauce ingredients together in a glass bowl.
  • Heat your peanut oil in a a large nonstick skillet, then add your diced eggplant. Cook the eggplant for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, but resist the urge to stir it constantly. Just flip the pieces once or twice to get them browned on multiple sides.
  • Once the eggplant pieces are browned and tender, remove them from the skillet and transfer them to a plate.

Tip: Avoid crowding the skillet when cooking your eggplant. This may mean cooking it in a couple of batches. I did two batches for the stir-fry shown in the process photos.

Diced eggplant cooking in a skillet.
  • Add some more oil to the skillet, let it heat up, then add scallions (white parts only), garlic, and ginger. Cook everything very briefly.
  • Turn up the heat and add your bell pepper. Stir-fry the pepper for a couple of minutes, until the pieces are bright red and tender-crisp.
Red peppers, garlic, ginger and scallions cooking in a skillet.
  • Lower the heat a smidge and return the eggplant to the skillet, then carefully pour in the sauce.
  • Toss everything well with a spatula and cook it very briefly, just until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
Eggplant Stir Fry cooking in a skillet.
  • Take the skillet off of the burner and stir in the fresh basil. Top your eggplant stir fry with sesame seeds and the green parts of your scallions.
Eggplant Stir Fry in a skillet with wooden spoon.
  • Serve the stir fry with rice and enjoy!
White wooden surface set with a plate of Eggplant Stir Fry and rice.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover eggplant stir fry will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this eggplant stir fry gluten-free?

It can be! Just use gluten-free tamari and hoisin sauce.

Do I need to salt eggplant before stir frying it?

Not necessarily. Japanese eggplants tend to be less bitter than larger varieties, so you may not need to salt them. If you substitute another variety and/or are using an eggplant that’s been in the fridge for a few days or shows browning when cut open, consider salting it. This article contains instructions on how to do that.

Is this stir-fry spicy?

A bit. The sambal oelek adds some heat. Leave it out for a milder dish, or use some extra for additional kick.

More Stir Fry Recipes

Like this recipe? If so, please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you try it! Also be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter for more recipes like this one!

Eggplant Stir Fry on a plate with rice and chopsticks.

Sesame Hoisin Eggplant Stir Fry

This eggplant stir-fry is loaded with flavor and easy to make! Made with tender eggplant and bell peppers in garlicky hoisin sauce, it pairs up perfectly with rice for a delicious veggie-packed meal.


  • 3
    soy sauce
  • 2
    hoisin sauce
  • 2
    chilled water
  • 1
    rice vinegar
  • 1
    organic brown sugar
  • 1
    sambal oelek
  • 1
    toasted sesame oil
  • 2
  • ½
    Chinese 5-spice
  • 3
    peanut oil,
    divided, plus more as needed (up to 5 tablespoons total)
  • 1
    eggplant (Note 1),
    diced into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 2
    white and green parts separated and chopped
  • 2
    garlic cloves,
  • 2
    freshly grated ginger
  • 1
    medium red bell pepper,
    cut into roughly ½ inch pieces
  • ¼
    chopped fresh basil
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Cooked rice,
    for serving


  1. Whisk the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sambal oelek, sesame oil, cornstarch, and 5 spice together in a small bowl.

  2. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil and place it over medium-high heat.

  3. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the diced eggplant in an even layer. Avoid crowding the skillet and cook the eggplant in batches if needed, adding oil to the skillet between batches if it dries up.

  4. Cook the eggplant for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender, flipping the pieces only once or twice to get browning on multiple sides.

  5. Remove the eggplant from the skillet and transfer it to a plate.

  6. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet.

  7. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the white parts of your scallions to the skillet, along with the garlic and ginger.

  8. Sauté everything briefly, for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.

  9. Raise the heat to high and add the bell pepper to the skillet. Stir fry the pepper for about 2 minutes, until bright red and tender crisp.

  10. Lower the heat to medium and carefully pour the sauce into the skillet (Note 2). Toss the ingredients to coat the veggies in sauce and cook everything for 30 to 60 seconds, until the sauce thickens.

  11. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the basil. Top the stir-fry with sesame seeds and the green parts of your scallions.

Recipe Notes

  1. Japanese or Chinese eggplant are the preferred varieties for this recipe, but any variety will do.
  2. Use caution, as the sauce can easily sputter when it hits the hot surface.
  3. Nutrition information does not include rice.

Nutrition Facts

Sesame Hoisin Eggplant Stir Fry

Amount Per Serving

Calories 190
Calories from Fat 111

% Daily Value*

Fat 12.3g19%

Saturated Fat 2g10%

Sodium 811mg34%

Potassium 401mg11%

Carbohydrates 18.7g6%

Fiber 5.2g21%

Sugar 9.7g11%

Protein 2.9g6%

Calcium 39mg4%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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