A Quick & Easy Chicken Eggplant Recipe
A Healthy Dinner Recipe Using Garden Fresh Ingredients
If you’re anything like me, this time of year you find yourself out in the garden an hour before dinner time trying to put together a healthy dinner recipe using things you’ve grown. On a night like that, I created this chicken eggplant recipe and it was so delicious I thought it was worth sharing!
I gathered my vegetables first: a good-sized eggplant (or two smaller ones), an onion and about a pint of sugar snap peas.
My eggplants struggled early in the season with insects of all sorts, but seem to be recovering and have managed to produce some fruits. This nice article on eggplant growing tips might help you if your plants are getting hit like mine were.
Then I went off to the herb garden. I considered what might add some good flavor to this chicken eggplant recipe, which I had in my mind would be vaguely “Chinese.” I decided on basil and mint.
Initially I went for peppermint but then reconsidered and picked chocolate mint instead. Peppermint plant uses are many, but I thought the spicier, deeper flavor of chocolate mint would be nice for this recipe. I am also growing basil in several varieties. I gathered mostly sweet basil but also a pinch of cinnamon basil. If you have it, some Thai basil might be tasty too. I brought a handful of herbs in with me.
Once inside, I cleaned everything and prepared my ingredients. First, I peeled my eggplant and diced it into cubes about ½” across.
I put the cubes into a large colander and salted them, shaking to mix and coat the cubes. I set this aside to sweat while I continued with my other items.
I had some white onion, but you can use any type that you have on hand. I cut one onion into thin slices.
I also took two cloves of garlic from the pantry for my chicken eggplant recipe. I peeled and diced them.
I decided to add some chicken so I took two breasts out from the freezer and cut them, still partially frozen, into thin strips – about ¼” thick. You can leave the chicken out if you prefer a vegetarian dish.
To prepare the sugar snap peas, I trimmed the ends off and halved them.
Finally, I pulled the leaves off the stems of my herbs and roughly chopped all together.
When your eggplant begins to glisten, it’s ready. This took about 40 minutes for me.
I squeezed it with my hands to soften it and release the liquid.
If you don’t want so many seeds in your dish, you can run the colander under some water and let the seeds run out, just make sure to squeeze as much of that liquid out as possible after. I like seeds – good fiber – so I didn’t do this.
With my ingredients all prepared, I was ready to start cooking my chicken eggplant recipe. I put about a teaspoon of sesame oil in a large pan then added the onion. You can use olive oil if you don’t have sesame, but the sesame oil imbues a nice flavor. I let the onion cook, stirring regularly, over medium heat, until they started to brown.
Meanwhile, I boiled a pot of water to poach my chicken. When it was ready, I dropped the chicken in the hot water and cooked it about 4 minutes. Even partially frozen, it doesn’t take long when it’s sliced so thinly. I drained the chicken and set it aside.
To my browned onions, I added the sweated eggplant and garlic. Next I poured in two tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and about four tablespoons of chicken broth. For broth, I used two ice cubes I had made last time we harvested some stewing hens.
After stirring to melt my broth cubes and mix everything well, I let it all come to a steady bubble then lowered the heat and let it cook about 15 minutes, until the sauce thickened. Taste and see what you think. Add more soy sauce or brown sugar if you think it needs it.
Finally, just before serving, I added the chicken, herbs and snap peas.
After stirring it all together, I let it cook about two minutes, until the peas turned bright green. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes finished it off, and we were ready to eat.
You can serve this healthy dinner recipe over brown rice or eat it by itself. Enjoy!
Chicken Eggplant Recipe
- 1 large (or 2 small) eggplant, peeled and diced into ½” cubes
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced into ¼” strips
- 1 teaspoon sesame or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1 bunch of basil and mint, leaves removed and roughly chopped
- 1 pint sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown rice, cooked (if desired)
- Peel and dice eggplant. Put cubes into a large colander and salt them, shaking to mix and coat the cubes. Set this aside to sweat.
- Prepare your other ingredients while eggplant sweats.
- When your eggplant begins to glisten (about 40 minutes), squeeze it with your hands to soften it and release the liquid. If you don’t want so many seeds in your dish, run the colander under some water and let the seeds run out, making sure to squeeze as much of that liquid out as possible after.
- Put about a teaspoon of oil in a large pan then add the onion and let it cook, stirring regularly, over medium heat, until they start to brown.
- Meanwhile, boil a pot of water to poach the chicken. When it is ready, drop the chicken in the hot water and cook about 4 minutes. Drain the chicken and set it aside.
- To the browned onions, add the sweated eggplant and garlic. Next I pour in the soy sauce, brown sugar, and broth. Stir to mix and let it come to a steady bubble. Then lower the heat and cook about 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Taste and see what you think. Add more soy sauce or brown sugar if you think it needs it.
- Just before serving, add the chicken, herbs, and snap peas. Stir and cook about 2 minutes, until the peas turned bright green.
- Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, to taste. Serve alone or over brown rice.
Do you have a favorite chicken eggplant recipe? Let us know in the comments below.