Did you know that eggplant is not a vegetable but actually a fruit? Mind blown right? I know. Have you ever tried to grill eggplant in oven and failed before? If so, you are on the same page with me. I did fail multiple times in the past. But thank you for those experiences, now I know what exactly I have to do when it comes to eggplant or aubergine. This vegan oven grilled eggplant is easy to make and super delicious. Grilled eggplant or grilled aubergine then paired with scallion garlic soy dipping sauce to make the taste even more exceptional.
Tips for cooking eggplant
The keys to accomplish such great texture for oven grilled eggplant are: you need to lightly salt eggplant and poke as many holes on the surface as possible. Because eggplant has a very dense compound, that makes it become soggy easily when in contact with oil. However, if you salt and poke enough holes on its surface, this procedure helps to break down those air pockets within the eggplants so they can’t absorb much oil. Salting process can also prevent eggplant from soak up large amount of cooking fats and oils.
In this vegan oven grilled eggplant recipe, I cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise and leave the skin on. The reason is the skin can provide an extra protected layer for eggplant/aubergine to avoid overcooking or over oil-absorbing. There are many types of eggplants out there. The one I was using is Asian style eggplant, which has a bright purple color and longer/thinner than American/Mexican style one.
Then I used a fork and poked as many holes on both sides of the cut eggplant pieces. As mentioned above, eggplant then lightly salted before it is blanched in hot cooking oil. Remember, not to cook it too long in the oil. This blanching process typically lasts under a minutes.
After that eggplant’s grilled in the oven at 390F for under 10 minutes. Then voila you’ll have such tender and not-soggy texture of an amazing oven grilled style eggplant.
What to pair grilled eggplant / grilled aubergine with
Because this oven grilled eggplant is 100% a vegan recipe, I pair it with scallion garlic soy sauce. The sauce is made of light soy, lime juice, and scallion oil. You will be addicted to this sauce, I swear. The amazing news is you can use this sauce with different types of dishes. It can be a salad dressing or a savory on the side dipping sauce. The usage is this scallion garlic soy sauce is unlimited.
Vegan Oven Grilled Eggplant
- Baking pan lined with aluminum foil
- Frying shallow pan or pot
- Large plate lined with oil absorbing cooking oil
- 2 ea eggplant cut in half, lengthwise, skin on
- salt to taste
- 2 c vegetable oil for blanching
Scallion Garlic Soy Sauce
- 5 stalk green onion chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp + 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice fresh squeeze
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 clove garlic minced
- 2 small Thai chilies minced, optional
- Preheat oven at 390F
- Use a fork and poke many holes on eggplant pieces. Lightly salt eggplant with salt.
- In a shallow pan/pot, pour in 2 cups of vegetable oil. Heat oil to 350F-375F.
- Quickly blanch cut eggplant in hot oil for 30 seconds for each piece, or under 1 minute if cooking in small batch. Do not stuff all of them at once. Take time and blanch.
- Lay blanched eggplant pieces on big plates that has been lined with oil absorbing cooking oil.
- Wait for 1-2 minutes for eggplant half cool down. Then carefully transfer them to baking pan (lined with aluminum foil) and grilled in the oven for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, check the texture of eggplant by using a fork and carefully scoop out piece of eggplant. If it's still dense, return the eggplant to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Make scallion garlic soy sauce:
- In a small sauce pan, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil until hot. Then add chopped scallion, turn off the heat immediately. Constantly stir scallion to coat it thoroughly with hot oil.
- In a small bowl, combine the rest of of the sauce ingredients and mix well.
- Then gradually add one tbsp of scallion oil once at a time into soy sauce mixture. Adjust the amount of of scallion oil inside the soy sauce according to your references.
- Top oven grilled eggplant with scallion garlic soy sauce. Serve immediately.