Hoisin Eggplant with Sesame Rice Cakes

Growing up our mom took Cantonese and Chinese cooking classes for years. One of the recipes that we would have often was moo shu, a northern Chinese dish of stir-fried shredded veggies and bean sprouts that you filled in these awesome little thin Chinese pancakes. To finish them up you dosed them with this rich, sweet and spicy sauce that we friggin loved could not get enough of. Delicious Hoisin sauce (bonus – it’s naturally vegan)! Today we’re taking this sauce and glazing up some eggplants from the garden, with rice cakes on the side for the win.



Hoisin Sauce:


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Place the eggplant slices into the pan in a single layer, cut side down. Place another cast iron pan over the top to press the eggplant.
  3. Once the eggplant are browned and crisp, turn them over and place into the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and smother them in the Hoisin sauce. Return to the oven and bake until glazey, about 6-8 minutes..
  5. Combine the sushi rice, green onion, toasted sesame seeds, cornstarch, sea salt and toasted sesame oil together in a large prep bowl.
  6. Press the rice mixture firmly into ring molds to from the cakes.
  7. Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Place the rice patties inside and allow to toast on each side.
  8. To serve, transfer the rice patties and baked eggplant to plates.
  9. Garnish with fresh mint, crushed peanuts and chiles. Serve immediately.

For the Hoisin Sauce:

  1. In small sauce pan on medium heat add the oils, shallot and stir until golden. Add the garlic, ginger, chilies and fermented black beans and stir until they begin to stick to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and cook for one minute.
  2. Lower heat to low to medium heat, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  3. Remove from heat and either using a stick blender, or carefully pouring contents into a blender, blend until smooth. Add back to the sauce pan and if it is too thin reduce a tad more, if it seems too thick you can always dilute with a touch of water.
  4. This will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge and is a kick ass marinate, sauce or glaze for grilling.


A great Hoisin has the perfect balance of richness, salty, sweet and kicks your ass with a kick of spice. Once you make this sauce it will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge and so damn good just on a rice bowl or as a dipping sauce for dumplings or grilled vegetables. Since Hoisin is typically used as a rich glaze or dipping sauce, it goes really well with umami meaty dishes, like mushrooms, eggplant, jackfruit, tofu, tempeh etc.

Last summer we grew eggplants in the garden and had such an abundance, so started working with this perfect pairing around then.

Any eggplant will work in this recipe, but I prefer the smaller Thai style or Japanese eggplant. The meat on these tend to be a bit more tender and the skin holds them together well once roasted and braised.