Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Ginger-Plum Sauce

This Asian-accented dish features a sauce made with store-bought plum and hoisin sauces, plus a little ginger, garlic and lemongrass. It adds lovely flavor to grilled tender Japanese eggplants. Slideshow:  Eggplant Recipes 

Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Ginger-Plum Sauce
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass, tender inner bulb only

  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1/2 small Thai red chile, minced

  • 3/4 cup Asian plum sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

  • Six 7-ounce Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, plus more for garnish

  • 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, chopped


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chile and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant and just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the plum and hoisin sauces and cook, stirring, until thickened and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a blender and puree until nearly smooth.

  2. Meanwhile, light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down over high heat until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Turn the eggplant and cook until lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a cutting board and let cool slightly, then cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

  3. In a large skillet, reheat the plum sauce. Add the eggplant and the 2 tablespoons of basil over moderately high heat and cook, tossing, until the eggplant is heated through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, scatter the cashews and more chopped basil on top and serve.

Make Ahead

The ginger-plum sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

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