Steamy Secrets

It’s remarkable how the most ubiquitous, seemly mundane ingredients can be utterly transformed with a fresh perspective. For example, eggplants show up in nearly every culture, every grocery store, and every cookbook. For the wide range of varieties available across the world, accompanied by the distinctive palate of flavors that each locale prefers, there’s truly an eggplant preparation for everyone. Despite the abundance of options, it seems we’re drawn back to the same recipes time and again, sticking to the familiar for the sake of simplicity. That was certainly the case for me, which is why the promise of an all-eggplant cooking class held both intrigue and skepticism. What new was there to learn about this staple vegetable that I naively presumed had already divulged its culinary secrets long ago?

The one way I would never have attempted to cook an eggplant turned out to be one of the most revolutionary. Believe it or not, steaming these burnished violet nightshades created one of the most superlative eggplant dishes to hit my plate in years. Previously ignorant to this dramatic metamorphosis, the idea of steamed eggplant sounded about as appealing as stewed gym socks. On the contrary, the softened and shredded fruit is downright silky, luxuriously caressing the tongue with unexpected richness.

Hailing from China, this unsung hero of eggplant cookery comes to life with an impossibly creamy glaze of toasted sesame, soy sauce, vinegar, and a gentle kick of heat. Such complex flavors seem to contradict the simple procedure, but that’s the true beauty of this secret formula. This radical departure from the standard menu was right there all along, hidden in plain sight

Yield: Makes 2 – 4 Servings

Beijing-Style Steamed Eggplant with Sesame Sauce

Beijing-Style Steamed Eggplant with Sesame Sauce

Hailing from China, this unsung hero of eggplant cookery comes to life with an impossibly creamy glaze of toasted sesame, soy sauce, vinegar, and a gentle kick of heat.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 Chinese Eggplants, Halved Lengthwise
  • 2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Vinegar
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Palm Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Paste (Optional)
  • 1 Thinly Sliced Scallion, to Garnish


  1. Steam the eggplants for 10 – 15 minutes, until very tender. Meanwhile, combine all the remaining ingredients for the sauce in a large bowl.
  2. Let the eggplants cool for a few minutes so that you can handle them comfortably, and then use your hands to tear them into long strips.
  3. Toss the eggplants with the sauce and top with scallion. Serve immediately.


Adapted from Chef Philip Gelb

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 410mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 7gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

18 thoughts on “Steamy Secrets

  1. That class would be right up my alley. I’m happy you were able to attend. Eggplants are definitely one of my favorite foods. Thank you for sharing such an elegant, easy recipe. Have you ever made eggplant steaks before?

  2. Yum, this looks fabulous! Especially as the weather is cooling down and I’m looking for more simple, warm dishes to snuggle up with. I’ve always loved roasted eggplant, so it sounds like I’m in for a treat with this one. Plus, anything with tahini is bound to be delicious. Thanks so much, Hannah!

  3. Oooh, my… I have been known to give myself stomachaches from eating all manner of (fried) eggplant, because it’s so good that I can’t stop myself (some people have sweets or savoury snacks as this vice; for me, it’s fried eggplant or zucchini), so this recipe excites me. Eggplant forever! I will definitely try it. Every ingredient stirs my appetite. Thank you so much for sharing this! :D

  4. It never would have occurred to me to steam an eggplant. I’ve roasted them whole over a gas burner, but steamed? I’m so glad you took the class and shared a recipe with us. It sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to try it!

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