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Garlic Eggplant Noodles

Garlic noodles with eggplant garnished with pickled chiles and herbs.
Photo by Alex Lau

Since Chinese eggplant has fewer seeds, it is noticeably less bitter than its fellow nightshades. This makes it the perfect ensemble player in this cast of heat, ginger, and garlic. Though not technically a dim sum preparation, Julie Cole developed the recipe as a mouthwatering and hearty vegetarian option at Nom Wah Nolita, and it’s since gone on to be one of the best sellers.


4 servings

1 to 2 tablespoons neutral oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large or 2 medium Chinese eggplants, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 tablespoon white miso paste
¼ teaspoon crushed chili flakes
¼ teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorn
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ cup aji-mirin cooking wine
¼ cup Chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons water
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 small handful fresh Thai basil, picked off the stems, thinly sliced
1 pound Chinese lo mein noodles, cooked 2 scallions, chopped, for garnish
10 to 15 fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
4 or 5 pickled red chilis, chopped, for garnish
1 teaspoon fried garlic for garnish

Step 1

HEAT the neutral oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Do not let them develop any color.

Step 2

ADD the eggplant, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through (look for the eggplant to appear slightly translucent and no longer white). If the mixture appears dry, add 1 tablespoon neutral oil to moisten.

Step 3

ADD the miso paste, crushed chili flakes, ground Szechuan peppercorn, white pepper, and chili powder. Stir to combine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 4

ADD the aji-mirin, black vinegar, sugar, salt, water, and soy sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat back to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5

REMOVE from the heat. Pulse the sauce with an immersion blender 2 or 3 times to combine (there will still be chunks). Alternatively, take 2 cups of the sauce and pulse in a blender 1 or 2 times, return the blended sauce to the pot, and stir to combine.

Step 6

TOP the noodles with the sauce mixture and garnish with basil, scallions, cilantro, pickled chilis, and fried garlic.

NomWah cookbook cover with photo dumplings being picked up with chopsticks.
From The Nom Wah Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from 100 Years at New York City's Iconic Dim Sum Restaurant by Wilson Tang with Joshua David Stein. Copyright © 2020 Wilson Tang. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. Buy the full book from Amazon or Bookshop.

How would you rate Garlic Eggplant Noodles?

  • This really exceeded my expectations. I skipped the blending process because everything had already broken down into a thick sauce after 20+ total minutes on the stove. I used udon noodles. This is now my favorite way to eat eggplant, which I really don't even like that much!

    • Bianca

    • Boston, MA

    • 1/6/2022

  • All I can get are globe eggplants. Absent any substitution suggestions, I’ll have to figure this out myself.

    • 3/20/2021

  • Delicious. Skipped the directions about blending so that we would have more whole eggplant pieces and added a cornstarch slurry so the sauce would adhere to the noodles.

    • Anonymous

    • Cincinnati

    • 2/20/2021