Thai Basil Eggplant

Vegan and gluten-free Thai Basil Eggplant is one of my favorite ways to enjoy eggplant!

Pair it with rice or noodles for a delicious meal.

thai basil eggplant served in a black bowl with a small bowl of rice in the background

I have always been an eggplant fan. I enjoy it in every way and form. Obviously, I love my baingan bharta but I also love borani banjan (afghani recipe) or eggplant parmesan!

Basically, I am a fan!

Another cuisine where I enjoy eggplant is Thai. I am a big fan of Thai cuisine for their bold flavors and so many vegetarian options.

While I love the Thai curries, I also love their vegetarian sides like broccoli, green beans and eggplant.

This Thai Basil Eggplant is my take on their eggplant dish. In no way, I claim this to be authentic. It’s only my version of it and one which I enjoy and so I am sharing with you guys.

This eggplant dish has slices of japanese eggplant tossed in a flavorful sweet and salty sauce.

This Thai Basil Eggplant

✔ is vegan and gluten-free

✔ makes a fantastic side dish

✔ pairs well with rice or noodles

✔ gets done in 30 minutes

✔ great way to enjoy eggplant even if you aren’t a fan!

Two important things about this recipe-  if possible, do not replace the Japanese eggplant or the Thai basil.

You have to use Japanese eggplant for this recipe, it works best that way.

And Italian basil cannot substitute Thai basil here. The Thai Basil adds so much needed flavor to this dish. Replacing it with sweet basil will just not be the same.

The sauce for this dish is basically my replacement for sweet and salty hoisin sauce. I didn’t have hoisin sauce (and I rarely have it anyway) and I wanted similar flavors for this dish and so I ended up making a sauce which could get close to it.

This sauce has maple syrup, tamari, rice vinegar, peanut butter, sriracha and sesame oil. It also has pinch of cinnamon and coriander powder. At first, you might think that this will taste like a  “peanut butter” sauce.

But it doesn’t! Once it’s mixed with everything else and tossed with the veggies, you can’t really taste the peanut butter.

This might not be the perfect replacement for hoisin sauce but hey it works and that’s what matters!

thai basil eggplant served in a black bowl and garnished with fresh basil

Other than the sauce, the recipe calls for eggplant (of course), peppers and onion. I like to cook the eggplants first until they are soft yet can hold their shape.

Remember to not slice the eggplant slices too thick or too thin. You can even deep fry them but I pan fried them for this recipe.

Cook the eggplant slices in a single layer if you are pan frying them so that all the slices get cooked from both the sides.

You can also bake the eggplant for this recipe. I did not try it but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work.

I also like to toss the onion and peppers in little oil before adding to the sauce.

Sauteing the veggies before adding to them sauce gives them a nice texture.

Cooking the eggplant takes some time but once that’s done you only have to mix the veggies and the sauce together and it’s done!

The dish gets done under 30 minutes and makes a great vegetarian meal. So, next time you are having a Thai night, consider adding this Thai Basil Eggplant to the menu, along with the Vegan Thai Green Curry maybe?

 

Method

1- Start by slicing the eggplant, peppers and onion. Remember to not slice the eggplant very thin or very thick and also do use Japanese eggplant for this recipe. I have had the best results with this eggplant.

2- Next, to a blender add all ingredients for the sauce (2.5 tablespoons maple syrup, 3 tablespoons tamari, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1-2 teaspoons sriracha, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, pinch coriander & cinnamon powder and 1/3 cup water).

Blend until all ingredients are well combined and set aside. In a small bowl mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.

3- Now, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add the sliced peppers and onion and cook for 1 to 2 minute on high heat, they should remain crunchy. Remove on a plate lined with paper towel.

4- To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons oil and stir in the sliced eggplant.

step by step picture collage of thai basil eggplant

5- Turn heat to medium and cook stirring often until the eggplants are done. I did this in 2 batches as all eggplant slices should be in single layer and my pan wasn’t big enough.

If you have a large enough pan, you can do this in a single batch.

6- Keep sprinkling water in between while cooking the eggplant and also stir it often. I cooked mine for around 7 to 8 minutes until it was soft yet was holding its shape.

Remember while sprinkling water, don’t add a ton of it, you don’t want watery eggplant. Once cooked, transfer cooked eggplant on a plate lined with paper towel.

7- To another pan or use the same pan now add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, add the garlic and ginger, green chili and cook for 1 to 2 minute until it starts changing color.

8- Stir in the prepared sauce to the pan.

step by step picture collage of thai basil eggplant

9- Stir in the prepared cornstarch slurry. Make sure to stir it before adding as cornstarch settles down at the bottom when left unattended.

10 Stir the sauce and increase the heat to high, the sauce will simmer and thicken in few minutes.

11- Then add in the pan fried eggplant, peppers and onion.

12- Also add 1/2 cup chopped thai basil. Stir until all veggies are coated with the sauce. Add salt if needed. Lower the heat to low and let it simmer for 2 minutes.

step by step picture collage of thai basil eggplant

Garnish with more basil and serve Thai Basil Eggplant with rice or noodles. I love mine with brown rice!

thai basil eggplant served in a black bowl and garnished with fresh basil

If you’ve tried this Thai Basil Eggplant then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Thai Basil Eggplant

Eggplant tossed in a sweet and salty sauce, this Thai Basil Eggplant is a delicious way to enjoy eggplants. Vegan and gluten-free, goes well with rice or noodles!

thai basil eggplant served in a black bowl with a small bowl of rice in the background
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Thai
Keyword thai basil eggplant
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 252 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 1 vote
Print

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2.5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons tamari, or use soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha, adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • pinch coriander powder
  • pinch cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 cup water

2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

    Thai Basil Eggplant

    • 4 tablespoons oil, divided, use oil of choice (I used avocado oil)
    • 1/2 large red pepper, sliced
    • 1/2 large green pepper, sliced
    • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
    • 2 medium japanese eggplant, sliced, not too thick on thin
    • 5-6 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1.5 inch ginger, chopped
    • 1 thai green chili, sliced
    • 1/2 cup thai basil, chopped
    • salt, as needed

    Instructions

    1. Start by slicing the eggplant, peppers and onion. Remember to not slice the eggplant very thin or very thick and also do use Japanese eggplant for this recipe. I have had the best results with this eggplant.

    2. Next, to a blender add all ingredients for the sauce (2.5 tablespoons maple syrup, 3 tablespoons tamari, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1-2 teaspoons sriracha, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, pinch coriander & cinnamon powder and 1/3 cup water). Blend until all ingredients are well combined. Set aside.

    3. In a small bowl mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.

    4. Now, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add the sliced peppers and onion and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on high heat, they should remain crunchy. Remove on a plate lined with paper towel.

    5. To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons oil and stir in the sliced eggplant.

    6. Turn heat to medium and cook stirring often until the eggplants are done. I did this in 2 batches as all eggplant slices should be in single layer and my pan wasn't big enough. If you have a large enough pan, you can do this in a single batch.

    7. Keep sprinkling water in between while cooking the eggplant and also stir it often. I cooked mine for around 7 to 8 minutes until it was soft yet was holding its shape. Remember while sprinkling water, don't add a ton of it, you don't want watery eggplant. Once cooked, transfer cooked eggplant on a plate lined with paper towel.

    8. To another pan or use the same pan now add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, add the garlic and ginger, green chili and cook for 1 to 2 minute until it starts changing color.

    9. Stir in the prepared sauce to the pan and then stir in the prepared cornstarch slurry. Make sure to stir it before adding as cornstarch settles down at the bottom when left unattended.

    10. Stir the sauce and increase the heat to high, the sauce will simmer and thicken in few minutes.

    11. Then add in the pan fried eggplant, peppers and onion. Also add 1/2 cup chopped thai basil. 

    12. Stir until all veggies are coated with the sauce. Add salt if needed. Lower the heat to low and let it simmer for 2 minutes.

    13. Garnish with more basil and serve Thai Basil Eggplant with rice or noodles. I love mine with brown rice!

    Recipe Notes

    The sauce is replacement for hoisin sauce. It might taste like peanut butter initially but once the flavors come together, you can't really taste peanut butter.

    Nutrition Facts
    Thai Basil Eggplant
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 252 Calories from Fat 153
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 17g26%
    Saturated Fat 1g6%
    Sodium 806mg35%
    Potassium 475mg14%
    Carbohydrates 21g7%
    Fiber 4g17%
    Sugar 14g16%
    Protein 4g8%
    Vitamin A 900IU18%
    Vitamin C 48.6mg59%
    Calcium 42mg4%
    Iron 1mg6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

    6 thoughts on “Thai Basil Eggplant

    1. Thank you for this recipe. If I have hoisin sauce can I omit the entire list of sauce ingredients? Do I still need to water it down with the 1/3 cup water?

      1. I would then use 4-5 tablespoons hoisin sauce and still use 2 tablespoons tamari and sriracha if you want little heat. Do add some water for the sauce, probably 1/4 cup should be fine!

    2. 5 stars
      I made this tonight and it was delicious. I try to sneak in a vegetarian dish every now and then as my husband is an outright meat eater. He loved it and said I could make it again. 😍

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *