This delicious Asian-inspired vegan low fodmap braised eggplant recipe was a happy accident. It’s an umami flavor-bomb that will hit all the right spots and has added bonus points for being vegan and low fodmap. Plus it celebrates components used in various Asian cuisines to create this yummy Asian vegan food.
Before we get into this vegan low fodmap braised eggplant recipe, let’s get into the topics we’ll discuss in this post:
Ready? Let’s dive right into it.
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Asian vegans, rejoice! This vegan aubergine dish uses various flavoring agents we know and love to create this fusion dish. In this recipe, we will use Japanese miso, Korean gochujang, and Chinese dark soy. Let’s talk about that. But first, let’s talk about eggplants and answer the question, “Is eggplant low fodmap or is eggplant high fodmap?”
Types of Eggplant
Is eggplant a low fodmap food? Why, yes it is. According to Monash University, eggplant is a low fodmap vegetable. Hallelujah. We’re not sure where we’d be without this versatile veg.
Another word for eggplant is aubergine, if you’re a native English speaker that is. In Malaysia, it’s called ‘brinjal’, in Thai, ‘มะเขือ’, and in Chinese, ‘茄子’. But this isn’t a language course. This humble vegetable goes by many names and comes in just as many varieties.
Before you make vegan aubergine recipes, familiarize yourself with some of the most common eggplant varieties out there.
The Italian eggplant is the one we used in our recipe. It’s probably the most common variety of eggplant we have in the Netherlands. The Italian eggplant closely resembles the standard globe eggplant you’d find at any grocery store. However, the Italian eggplant is slightly smaller while remaining large and fat.
Japanese and Chinese Eggplant
Chinese and Japanese eggplants are different and to be honest, a little hard to differentiate. The Japanese eggplant is a deeper shade of purple and the Chinese eggplant is slightly lighter but besides that, you’ll know how to identify one by their shared characteristics.
They are both long and narrow with thin skin and do not have many seeds. Plus their flesh is softer and creamier when cooked.
Sometimes known as the baby eggplant, the Indian eggplant is smaller when compared to the standard eggplant and more of an oval shape with a dark reddish purple hue. You can use this for the dish but you’ll need more of them. Typically, this variety of eggplant is used in curries and is great when it is stuffed or roasted.
We would not recommend using Thai eggplants for this dish. They are greenish-white in color, slightly bitter, tiny, round, and contain small but noticeable seeds that are edible. To turn any vegan eggplant recipes Asian, we rely on various Asian condiments like miso, soy, and gochujang.
What is Miso?
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Miso, it is a traditional seasoning used in Japanese cuisine. Miso is made by fermenting soybeans with salt among other ingredients. But is miso paste low FODMAP? It’s low FODMAP and vegan. Which is odd because most soy products are typically considered high FODMAP but not miso!
It comes in the form of a paste and is toasty and savory. It also has a sweet-salty richness; a common word used to describe the flavor profile is umami. Fermented soybeans are used throughout Asian cultures such as the Korean Doenjang or the Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese Tauco.
A note from Lisa: don’t be alarmed by the addition of miso in this recipe! I hate miso but absolutely adore it in this dish. It is used sparingly and as intended, as a seasoning.
What is Gochujang?
In this dish, we use Gochujang, a spicy paste commonly used in Korean cooking. This sweet, savory, spicy fermented paste is made from chilies, fermented soya beans, rice, and salt.
It should be noted that gochujang has several ingredients that are on the high FODMAP list but the final product itself when eaten in its usual or smaller serving size is generally low FODMAP and should not pose a problem.
Because of the “funkiness” of most Asian condiments, people often ask if these things are vegan. Yes, vegan gochujang is a thing because there’s nothing in it that isn’t plant-based. So, no need to Google, ‘vegan gochujang recipes’.
If you can’t get a hold of this paste and are looking for a gochujang replacement, consider using Sriracha with a teaspoon of vinegar. Or chili sauce but not the sweet Thai chili sauce variety.
Dark Soy VS Light Soy
In this recipe, we use dark soy sauce. Yes, there is a difference. Dark soy is thicker, darker, slightly sweeter, and less salty than light soy. It is typically used for cooking.
Light soy is more commonly found and is saltier, thinner, and more refreshing. It is used in dishes as a form of season or as a dipping sauce.
You can use light soy for this vegan baked eggplant dish but it will result in a saltier sauce with a thin consistency.
The Trick To Cooking Fluffy Rice
This braised eggplant dish is filed under low fodmap vegan dinner recipes and vegan gluten free lunch ideas in our recipe box. If you live in the Netherlands, you’ll know that the lunch culture is typically bread and cheese but Southeast Asia got it right with warm lunches -and who are we kidding.. breakfast and dinners too.
But there’s something comforting about a warm steaming bowl of perfectly cooked fluffy rice, topped with an umami spoon tender serving of braised eggplant.
If you, like us, have no rice cooker and desire to make fluffy rice on the stove, then keep reading on.
In order to make rice perfectly, we must first discuss the topic of the rice to water ratio. If you grew up in an Asian household, you’ll be familiar with the hand-in-pot method or checking if the water reaches the line on your finger. There is a method to that madness but eyeballing rarely gets the same results.
What Aisha has learned over the years of cooking rice on a stove is that the rule of thumb is to use the same amount of water to rice plus a quarter cup more. Below, there is half a cup of rice and 3/4 of a cup of water. Like so:
After you’ve measured your rice and water, you’ll want to rinse your rice in water until the water runs clear. Next, add your clean and washed rice to the pot, along with water. Now, let the rice cook over medium heat. When some of the water has evaporated, and bubbles start to form like this:
Turn the heat down to low, put a cover on the rice and cook for 7-10 minutes. When that’s done, take the lid off, fluff the rice with a fork and place the cover back on. Allow the rice to steam for an additional 5-10 minutes and tada! Perfectly cooked fluffy white rice.
Vegan Low FODMAP Braised Eggplant
When we started on our low fodmap vegetarian and vegan diet, we had a lot of trouble finding dishes that were reminiscent of things we loved to eat. So, it was important to us to make vegan low fodmap recipes that excited us and had familiar flavors without meat replacements.
This braised Chinese eggplant dish did just that. It hit all the right spots, without leaving us searching for meat. Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with meat replacements. In fact, the advances made are revolutionary and outright mind-blowing. But, to us, it was imperative that we created dishes that highlighted the vegetables.
Cooking The Eggplant
If you’re looking for vegan eggplant recipes no oil whatsoever, then this is the one for you. This braised eggplant has all the flavor without any oil. Instead, the eggplant soaks up all the glorious liquid from the dressing.
To cook the eggplant, simply make diagonal cuts through the eggplant like this:
Really get in there and make deep cuts so that the dressing seeps into every nook and cranny. Place all the tomato, miso, garlic, ginger, sugar, and soy into a blender and mix.
Place a layer of foil on a baking sheet, then add your eggplants and pour the dressing over. Lay the aubergines cut side down on the baking tray and cover tightly with another layer of foil. Make sure to seal all the edges to ensure no steam escapes.
Let it cook away in the oven for an hour and it should look like this:
You know the eggplants are ready when the skin is all wrinkley.
The sauce lends an extra creaminess to the dish by utilizing tahini and mayo. To cut through the richness, chili oil (you can use Sriracha) and lemon juice are added. Add all your ingredients to a bowl:
And mix until fully incorporated:
To serve, place your fluffy white rice in a bowl and drizzle the liquid in the pan on top of the rice. Top it with the soft braised eggplant, a generous serving of the tangy, spicy, creamy sauce, and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.
And voila, folks. A delicious vegan low fodmap braised eggplant with soy garlic and ginger dish that will perfume your house and attack your tastebuds. This easy low fodmap dinner or lunch is minimal effort and requires very few dishes.
We love that all the magic happens in the oven and how magical the eggplant tastes after an hour of braising in the liquid. There are really no words to describe it, so here’s your sign to make this dish and experience it for yourself.
Looking for more low fodmap Asian recipes? Have a look at some of the dishes below!
Vegan Low Fodmap Asian Braised Eggplant
- 2 eggplants
- 1 1/2 tomatoes (200g)
- 1 tbsp garlic oil (1/2 clove garlic if you can tolerate it)
- 20g ginger
- 1 tsp miso paste
- 1 tsp gochujang or sriracha
- 50ml light soy
- 20ml dark soy
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1 cup of rice
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup water
- For The Sauce:
- 1 tbsp garlic oil (1/2 clove garlic minced if you can tolerate it)
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp tahini
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbs mayo
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp water
- pinch of salt
Pre-heat your oven to 150c or 302f.
Chop the tomato into big chunks, place it into a mixer with garlic oil, ginger, miso, gochujang or sriracha, soy sauces, and sugar. Blend until a smooth consistency.
Cut the eggplants in half and make deep diagonal cuts in the eggplant. Have a look at the pictures in the post to see how we did it.
Grab a baking tray and line with foil. Place the eggplants cut side up and pour the dressing over them, allowing it to soak.
Turn them over so that they braise cut side down in the liquid. Cover with another sheet of foil and seal tightly! Make sure no steam is able to escape.
Place the eggplants in the oven and braise for an hour.
While the eggplants are cooking, it's time to make the rice.
Start by washing your rice until the water runs clear. Add your rice into a pot and pour in an equal amount of water plus a quarter cup of extra water*.
Allow the rice to cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until some of the water has evaporated and left little holes in the rice*.
*For a visual guide, read the section of the post on how to achieve perfectly fluffy rice.
Cover with a lid, turn the heat down to low and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, gather the ingredients for the sauce.
Optional: Mince half a clove of garlic finely. In place of garlic, use 1 tbsp of garlic oil
Add the garlic to a bowl with tahini, mayo, lemon juice, sugar, and sesame seeds.
The sauce will thicken, add 2 tsp of water to thin it out.
When the rice is done, turn of the heat, fluff the rice with a fork and put the lid back on to allow the rice to steam for 5-10 minutes.
Take the eggplants out of the oven. Be careful of the steam. The eggplants are done when their skin forms wrinkles.
To serve, scoop some rice in a bowl, spoon over the liquid in the baking tray, lay the eggplant on top, and drizzle the creamy sauce over it.
Optional: Garnish with more sesame seeds and the green tops of chopped scallions
- We can tolerate small amounts of garlic which is why we used that instead of garlic oil
- If you don't have an hour, you can bake the eggplants for 30-45 minutes at 180c or 356f