Thai-Style Grilled Eggplant

Eggplants with dressing

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  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: serves 3 to 4 as a side dish

Eggplant is delicious on the grill, and this recipe makes it even better with the use of a Thai-inspired marinade. Grilling is an age-old tradition in Thailand, with amazing marinade concoctions that make for taste-inspiring meals -- and this eggplant is no exception. Eggplant is a "meaty" vegetable; that is, it makes a great meat substitute and vegetarian Thai chefs love to use it in their cooking. You'll enjoy its sweet-spicy flavor -- makes a superb side dish to any meal you might be cooking.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 teaspoons brown brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 chili (red fresh, minced or 1/4 teaspoon or more crushed chili flakes, to taste)
  • 1 eggplant (small or the equivalent of 2 cups stacked slices)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Stir together the hoisin sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and chili.

  3. Slice up the eggplant into 1/4 inch-thick rounds and set in a bowl.

  4. Slather the marinade over and toss well to coat.

  5. Warm up your grill and brush with the oil.

  6. Set marinated eggplant over a hot grill. When nice grill marks appear, flip them and brush tops with any leftover marinade. Keep grilling until eggplant is soft when pierced with a fork.

  7. Serve hot from the grill as is, or dress it up with a little fresh basil, either as a side dish or the star player (see tips below for how to make this into a complete vegetarian/vegan meal).

Tips

To make this dish your main course:

  • Double the marinade (hoisin, brown sugar, garlic, and chili) and add wedges of medium-firm to firm tofu sliced 1/4-inch.
  • Toss eggplant and tofu together in the marinade. Allow a little longer time to marinate (20 minutes) or leave in the refrigerator to marinate longer, up to 1 hour.
  • Grill and serve with Thai jasmine rice for a complete meal. Note that Thai sticky rice is also wonderful with this meal.