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Mabo Nasu in a rustic bowl with rice, wooden spoon and scattered red chili peppers close up

Vegan Mabo Nasu (Spicy Mapo Eggplant Stir Fry)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 portions 1x


How to make spicy, fragrant and delicious Japanese style Mabo Nasu (Spicy Mapo Eggplant Stir Fry) Eggplants and soy meat stir fried in a tasty Chinese inspired sauce made of garlic, ginger and chili bean paste.

Suitable for vegans/vegetarians. Serves 2


  • 2 Japanese eggplants (200g) See note
  • Bowl of cold water (for soaking)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp spring onion (white part)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp tobanjan
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 70g soy meat (mince style)
  • 2 tbsp crushed nuts cashew or peanuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp water + 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 bowls of cooked rice
  • Spring onion (green part - optional garnish)
  • Chili threads (optional garnish)


  1. First, wash your egg plants and cut off the stems. Cut them down the middle, lengthways and then cut into rough chunks.
    Cutting eggplant on a wooden chopping board
  2. Place the eggplant pieces into a bowl of cold water and add a pinch of salt. Leave to soak for 5 minutes, then drain the water and dry the eggplant with a paper towel.
    eggplant with salt in a bowl of water
  3. Finely dice the garlic cloves, ginger and spring onion.
    finely dicing garlic cloves
  4. Crush the cashew nuts. (I used a mortar and pestle but you can cut them with a sharp knife.)
    crushing cashew nuts in a mortar and pestle
  5. Heat a pan on medium and add 1 tbsp of sesame oil.
    drizzling sesame oil into a pan
  6. Once hot, add the garlic cloves, ginger and spring onion. Fry until fragrant.
    stir frying garlic, ginger and spring onion
  7. Next, add 1 tbsp tobanjan, 1/2 tsp sugar and a pinch of black pepper to the pan and mix. 
    adding tobanjan, sugar and black pepper to the pan
  8. Now add the soy meat and crushed nuts, stir fry for a few minutes.
    adding soy meat and crushed nuts to the pan
  9. Add 1 tbsp sake, 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce to the pan and mix.
    adding soy sauce and sake to the pan
  10. Add the eggplant to the pan and drizzle 1 tbsp of sesame oil over the top. Stir fry until the eggplant pieces are lightly coated with the flavours from the pan and changed colour slightly.
    adding eggplant to the pan and drizzling them with sesame oil
  11. Next, add 300ml of vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
    adding vegetable stock to the mabo nasu
  12. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of water and 1 tsp of cornstarch together. Pour the mixture into the pan and mix well.
    adding a slurry to the mabo nasu to thicken the sauce
  13. Continue to mix on the heat until the liquid thickens and reaches the desired consistency. 
    mabo nasu simmering in a pan
  14. Sprinkle with spring onion (green part) and chili threads (optional). Serve with rice.
    Mabo Nasu in a rustic bowl with rice, wooden spoon and scattered red chili peppers side view
  15. Enjoy!
    Mabo Nasu sprinkled with spring onion, in rustic bowl with wooden spoon


Japanese eggplants are quite small, you can use American, Italian or Chinese eggplants instead, just be aware of the size difference. (You might only need 1 -1.5)

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Vegan
  • Method: Frying / Boiling
  • Cuisine: Japanese / Chinese

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