Spicy Stir-Fried Japanese Eggplant and Cucumber

This light side dish is inspired by a more substantial pork, cucumber and garlic dish in Grace Young’s “Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge.” I’d never thought about stir-frying cucumber until I saw this recipe. It’s a great idea: the crunchy, watery cucumber contrasts beautifully with the soft eggplant. Make sure to slice the eggplant thinly, or it won’t cook through. This stir-fry cold is also good served cold.


  • 2 long Japanese eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 2 long English cucumbers (or the equivalent in weight of Japanese or Persian cucumbers)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallions or chives
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

      153 calories; 9 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 9 grams sugars; 3 grams protein; 372 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

Serves four as a side dish


  1. Trim off the calyx end of the eggplants. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice thin (about 1/4 inch). Lightly salt, and toss in a colander. Allow to sit for 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Squeeze out excess water, then dry between sheets of paper towel.
  2. Meanwhile, trim off the ends of the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  3. Combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, salt and sesame oil in a small bowl. Place all of the ingredients near your wok or frying pan.
  4. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch steel skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two from the surface of the pan. Add the peanut or canola oil to the sides of the pan and tilt the pan to distribute. Add the eggplant. Stir-fry for three to four minutes until cooked through. Add the ginger and red pepper flakes, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the cucumbers and scallions or chives. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture to the wok, and stir-fry one minute until the cucumber just begins to wilt. Remove from the heat and serve.

30 minutes

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