Stir-Fried Eggplant with Sambal over Red Rice

Stir-Fried Eggplant with Sambal over Red Rice


This is the kind of meal that I generally don’t even consider sharing here, not for its lack of merit but because I wonder if you would be interested in it at all.  But somehow when I do share a dish like this that takes mere minutes to put together, you seem to like it and it makes me happy because this is the kind of simple food that my husband and I default to after weeks of travel, consecutive days of eating out or just plainly when we don’t feel like making too much effort in the kitchen.

I usually come home to a hungry husband on Monday nights.  There’s no time to sit and unwind; once I walk through the front door I put down my bags, take off my shoes and make a beeline for the kitchen.  Last night was no different.  While my husband carried on with the Directv agent and argued about which party should pay for our malfunctioning [rented] receiver (I’ve had this same conversation with them, too) and later threatened to cancel our service altogether (I’ve heard this before, too) I shopped the refrigerator for a meal I could easily throw together, as in 15 minutes or less.  It was nearing 6 pm.  Old habits die hard and as was habit for my parents when I was younger, I also like to serve dinner by a certain time.

I had cooked red rice, Chinese eggplants and a fresh jar of sambal oelek in the pantry. I remembered how much we enjoyed this pasta dish with roasted eggplants and shiitake mushrooms sautéed in the same chili paste and decided that it should work well, if not better, with rice.  I cooked the eggplants in some olive oil, garlic, a splash of soy sauce and a heaping tablespoon of sambal then fried the rice in garlic and oil in the same skillet (I removed the cooked eggplants first).  I prepared a condiment of vinegar, mashed garlic and soy and dinner was ready.

It didn’t take long for my husband to reach for seconds so before both rice and eggplants were history, I quickly put together a plate to share with you, too.  There’s no need to use red rice–feel free to use brown or white rice–but I do highly recommend using Chinese eggplant if you can find it.  In my opinion, it tastes better than its American counterpart (the globe variety).  I’ve used the latter for years but lately I’ve been buying their longer, slimmer Chinese cousins and I have to say I prefer them these days.  If you can’t find them (I picked mine up at my local Asian market), this dish will not suffer at all.  You will still have a tasty, balanced meal in no time flat.


Stir-Fried Eggplant with Sambal over Red Rice


5.0 from 5 reviews
Stir-Fried Eggplant with Sambal over Red Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I've found that Chinese eggplants have more flavor than the American (globe) variety but with a good dose of sambal, this simple dish will hit the spot no matter what type you use.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 Chinese eggplants, cut lengthwise in 2 inch pieces (mine were fairly large)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sambal oelek
  • ¼ cup olive oil and/or cooking spray
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • red rice (about 2 cups cooked for 2-3 people)
  • **For the condiment***
  • 1//4 cup of vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Splash of soy sauce
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the eggplant pieces. They will absorb a lot of oil. Cook them, stirring occasionally until the sides are slightly caramelized. You can also spray the eggplants with cooking spray to aid in the browning process instead of adding even more oil. Add 2 cloves of garlic, sambal and the soy sauce and cook for just a minute longer. This should take no more than 5-6 minutes.
  2. Take the eggplants out of the skillet, set aside and cook the rice.
  3. Add a little more oil to the skillet, then the last clove of crushed garlic. Cook for 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant and add the rice. Stir fry for about 3-4 minutes, add a splash of soy sauce, stir into the rice and turn off the heat.
  4. To prepare the condiment, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Arrange the rice and eggplant on a plate and drizzle with a teaspoon or two of the vinegar dipping sauce. Serve.



Stir-Fried Eggplant with Sambal over Red Rice



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  1. I love eggplant and that red rice is so striking! This would make a perfect week night meal!

  2. I only had that red rice once and I loved it! I have to go hunt for it and cook it more often and the eggplant look like a great complement!

  3. That is such a gorgeous plate of food! I too like the slimmer eggplants and I like the small round Indian ones too. I love the whole idea of this dish and I am glad you shared it because I would definitely make this.


  4. Wow, so glad to have found your blog just now…loving your simple touch, beautiful sense of color and appreciation for vegetables. Wonderful!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Karen, so glad you like what you see here and thanks so much for your very nice comment. 🙂

  5. I’m glad that you posted this recipe! I stopped by the Chinese eggplants at the grocery store the other day, and wondered if I should purchase a few. I couldn’t think of any recipes to use with them, so I ended up not buying any. Now I have a recipe for them… thanks! 🙂

  6. Jean, that is one tasty meal and so easy. I love the idea and it looks perfect! Your pics are making you want to jump now from my chair in 7am and make it for breakfast and wrap leftovers for lunch:)
    Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day ahead!

  7. Wow, this looks stunning and so delicious. Am forwarding this gorgeous site to girlfriends now. They too will love it. Thank you for sharing.

  8. That looks ever so scrumptious! A dish I’d eat with much pleasure.



  9. Simple is beautiful. Sometimes it’s nice to have a meal come together without the drama of time (or a messy kitchen). 🙂

  10. How could you eat this? It’s so beautiful I’d be afraid ti ruin it (nah not really, serve it up). GREG

  11. Surprisingly easy to make, and I love eggplant and very addicted to soft eggplant that sucks up all the sauce (and unfortunately oil). I cannot resist it! I put it on the rice and bite into the juicy eggplant… I don’t even need meat! This looks delicious Jean!

  12. This looks wonderful. I have something like sambal oelek in my fridge but I think it’s much spicier. How spicy is sambal?

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Hi, Holly. The sambal oelek I use is not fiery at all but I like how clean the chili flavor is. I have moderate tolerance for heat if that helps. Anything too too hot, I feel, takes away from the experience.

  13. I dunno how you do it, but every time I come here you have THE most amazing pictures. This looks great!

  14. That sounds delicious!! That’s the kind of dinner I like to serve, too. Looks so warm and cozy.

  15. My kind of meal! Simple, healthy and super flavorful! I so agree with you that Chinese eggplant is so good, I love it’s texture, in particular.

  16. You have made this dish look totally gorgeous!

  17. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    oh wow, Jean. yes, I do love your recipes like this. I’m always interested in new eggplant dishes. This is a keeper recipe!

  18. Looks fantastic, what an amazing meal to “throw together”! 🙂

  19. The colors in your pictures are unreal! So beautiful. 🙂

    And I think you should more dishes like this. You should share whatever you like despite what you think people may like. It’s your blog after all (and this is coming from a person who is afraid to share anything too unhealthy fearing people might not like it… yikes)

    Anyway, this looks fantastic! I’m happy you posted it. 🙂

  20. This is the perfect, quick weeknight meal! Love all the different flavor and colors you put together.

  21. Jean – this dish looks soooo tasty! Typically not an eggplant lover but your dish just might get me to become an admirer. My hubby just had conversations with DirecTV too. They were going to raise our rates and we have been subscribers for over 15 years. After all was said and done, we actually saved close to $50 buck a month with the same package. GO hubby! Smile.

  22. I’ve been trying to find more recipes with eggpant involved! This is just lovely.

  23. this sounds wonderful, Jean, and is bright and beautiful as well! I love eggplant and this would be a perfect dinner for me when Jason is out of town!


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