Today I introduce to you all one of my favorite things to make, garlic scallion eggplants! It requires very very few ingredients to make and it’s so easy to make it! Chinese eggplants has always been one of my favorite vegetables. One of the most common ways I’ve seen this eggplant served is with a garlic sauce at Chinese restaurants.
The huge inspiration behind this recipe is attributed to all of the times I went to 99 Favor Taste in NYC. 99 favor taste is a restaurant that focuses on hotpot, but they also have a BBQ option. I almost always get the hot pot option, but one time I decided to get both. And yes, getting both is an option aha. I decided to order a few items for the bbq portion of my meal and I’m not sure what compelled me to order the eggplant but I did. When they brought the eggplant over, I thought it was gonna just be grilled normally with no seasonings on it. Except, there were seasonings!! I never seen them prepare the BBQ options differently from my previous visits. Usually things would already come pre-marinated and they would just assist you in grilling and cooking the food. They rubbed some oil onto the eggplant and proceeded to put a garlic scallion oil mixture on top! I didn’t know what to expect while this was going on, as it was the first time I’ve ever seen this happen. It was some of the best eggplant ever and I sought to recreate it at home 😅.
TLDR: I got inspired at a hot pot spot to recreate this eggplant dish at home. Now I would visit 99 Favor Taste just to get the BBQ option just for the eggplant! They also de-shell and butterfly shrimp if you order it and prepare it in the similar manner, which is another favorite of mine.
In the past when I made this dish, I would usually cook it in a pan. It would always come out super greasy, as it used quite a bit of oil and the eggplants tend to soak some of it up as it cooks. I decided to think of different ways that I could recreate the dish and an air fryer came to mind! I totally winged it, as I didnt know what temperature to cook it at and for how long. Most things cook at the same temperature, so I used this basis for the timing and cooking temp and voila it worked! My favorite part about this is that the eggplants don’t absorb the extra oil as it drops to the bottom of the pan! Another thing I liked is that my garlic comes out crispy and not slightly charred, compared to when I make it in a pan.
Air Fried Garlic Scallion Eggplant
- Air Fryer
- 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 100 Grams ½-3/4 Cup Fresh Garlic
- 50 Grams ¼ Cup Scallion (about 4 stalks)
- 4 Medium Size Chinese Eggplant
- 1.5 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Chicken Bouillon Powder I like the Lee Kum Kee brand
- In a food processor or with a knife, chop and mince the garlic to very small pieces. I highly recommend you only use fresh garlic as it will provide the best flavor. Afterwards set aside the minced garlic into a medium bowl.
- Wash and slice the scallion into small thin slices, then put them into the same bowl as the garlic.
- In the bowl with the garlic & scallion, add in the oil, salt, and chicken bouillon and stir to combine. Set the bowl aside until we are ready to use it.
- Wash and cut the eggplants in half along the long side. Afterwards cut each half into several 2 inch pieces. Proceed to score each piece lightly however you like. I like to score it in 1 direction twice and once more diagonally.
- Arrange all the eggplant pieces in the air fryer basket skin side down. Don’t worry about overcrowding them, just make sure none are stacked on top of each other.
- Spoon the garlic scallion mixture on top of the eggplant pieces. The more you put the better! Then put the basket into the air fryer and air fry for 10 minutes at 360 °F. After put it for an additional 2 minutes at 400 °F so the garlic can get nice and crispy!.
- Serve immediately with a nice bowl of hot piping rice and enjoy!
Commonly Asked Questions:
Can I omit the chicken bouillon to make it vegan?
Yes! Feel free to omit it completely or substitute it with a vegetarian/vegan bouillon.
Can I make the garlic scallion oil in advance?
Yes! I sometimes make it up to 1 week in advance. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
I don’t have an air fryer, is there a different way I can use this recipe?
Definitely! You can make this on the stove by grilling then steaming or baking in the oven. Note that the stove method may come out greasier.