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Spicy Eggplant Recipe (Ogoniok)

Spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. Ogoniok (Огонек) means "little fire." Must-try eggplant recipe from the old country! | natashaskitchen.com

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This spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. the name Ogoniok (Огонек) means “little fire” because it does have a spicy kick to it.

My Aunt Tanya brought this recipe over from the old country. I’m telling you, It will knock your socks right off (not because it’s too spicy but because it’s ridiculously amazing)!! I eat this right out of the fridge with a piece of toast and it’s all I need.

My mom told me a story that’s funny/not funny. I have an uncle who ate spicy eggplant in Ukraine and he loved it so much that he couldn’t stop eating it. Long story short, he over did it big time and ended up in the hospital with a major belly ache. He was ok and I guess the lesson here is; there is such thing as too much of a good thing ;). It really is an amazing recipe, just don’t try to eat the entire batch!

Spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. Ogoniok (Огонек) means "little fire." Must-try eggplant recipe from the old country! | natashaskitchen.com

Ingredients for Spicy Eggplant Recipe:

4 1/2 lbs (2 kg) eggplant *
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp (100 mL) white vinegar
1 Tbsp sea salt
2-3 medium/large jalapenos (or to taste), seeded and minced
7 large (or 10 medium) garlic cloves, peeled and pressed/minced
Canola Oil to fry eggplant

Spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. Ogoniok (Огонек) means "little fire." Must-try eggplant recipe from the old country! | natashaskitchen.com

*How to Buy and Store Eggplant:

1. Choose slightly firm eggplant that are heavy for their size.

2. Choose eggplants that are small to medium in size (avoid the big ones)

3. Skins should be smooth and glossy and stems should be bright green.

4. Eggplants are best enjoyed fresh so use them within 4 days of purchasing. Store whole and unwashed at room temperature, uncovered and away from direct sunlight and away from bananas, tomatoes and melons which release ethylene while ripening and can cause eggplant to spoil quicker.

How to Make Spicy Eggplant Recipe:

1. Cut eggplant into 1 1/2″ to 2″ pieces.

Spicy Eggplant-2

2. Fill 1/3 of medium/large pot with canola oil and place over med/high heat. To test if oil is ready, drop in a piece of eggplant and it should bubble and sizzle. Once oil is hot, add enough eggplant to keep it mostly submerged in oil. The eggplant should be bubbling and boiling in the oil the entire time.

Cook in 2 to 3 batches depending on the size of your pot. Once eggplant is golden (15 to 20 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander set over a bowl to drain off excess oil. Let it drain in the colander until eggplant is just barely warm then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Spicy Eggplant-8

Spicy Eggplant SQ-2

Spicy Eggplant-3

3. In a small bowl, combine white vinegar, pressed garlic cloves, minced jalapeños and salt. Stir together and drizzle over cooled eggplant. Toss to combine. Eggplant can be enjoyed right away or refrigerated. It keeps for several weeks and only gets better as the flavors meld.

Spicy Eggplant-10

Spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. Ogoniok (Огонек) means "little fire." Must-try eggplant recipe from the old country! | natashaskitchen.com

Spicy Eggplant Recipe (Ogoniok)

4.86 from 21 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. Ogoniok (Огонек) means "little fire." Must-try eggplant recipe from the old country! | natashaskitchen.com
This spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. the name Ogoniok (Огонек) means "little fire" because it does have a spicy kick to it. My Aunt Tanya brought this recipe over from the old country. I'm telling you, It will knock your socks right off (not because it's too spicy but because it's ridiculously amazing)!! I eat this right out of the fridge with a piece of toast and it's all I need.
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $6-$10 (varies by season)
Servings: 8 as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 lbs 2 kg eggplant
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp 100 mL white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 2-3 medium/large jalapenos or to taste, seeded and minced
  • 7 large or 10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and pressed/minced
  • Canola Oil to fry eggplant

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into 1 1/2" to 2" pieces.
  2. Fill 1/3 of medium/large pot with canola oil and place over med/high heat. To test if oil is ready, drop in a piece of eggplant and it should bubble and sizzle. Once oil is hot, add enough eggplant to keep it mostly submerged in oil. The eggplant should be bubbling and boiling in the oil the entire time. Cook in 2 to 3 batches depending on the size of your pot. Once eggplant is golden (15 to 20 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander set over a bowl to drain off excess oil. Let it drain in the colander until eggplant is just barely warm then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, combine white vinegar, pressed garlic cloves, minced jalapeños and salt. Stir together and drizzle over cooled eggplant. Toss to combine. Eggplant can be enjoyed right away or refrigerated. It keeps for several weeks and only gets better as the flavors meld.
  4. Be sure to explore our other Eggplant recipes like this eggplant spread and definitely eggplant parmesan!

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Spicy eggplant is my all-time favorite eggplant recipe. Hands down. Ogoniok (Огонек) means "little fire." Must-try eggplant recipe from the old country! | natashaskitchen.com

Be sure to explore our other Eggplant recipes like this eggplant spread and definitely eggplant parmesan!

Q: What’s your all-time favorite eggplant dish?

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natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Inga
    October 10, 2019

    This is one of my most requested dishes. My father in law raves about it, says it reminds him of his mama’s cooking. Can there be a better compliment? We all love it. Better yet, instead of frying, I bake this in baking pans and on parchment liberally drizzled with oil (400•F, 10-15 min per side). Thank you for another gem! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 11, 2019

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Inga! Thank you for the wonderful review! Reply

  • lisa
    September 29, 2019

    Keep coming back here for this one. Finally wrote it down on my own recipe collection worried that your site might go down someday. Thank you for a great recipe! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 30, 2019

      That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite! Reply

  • Mila
    September 27, 2019

    What white vinegar I should use? 5% or 9%? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 27, 2019

      Hi Mila, we used 5% for this recipe. Reply

  • Amy
    August 5, 2019

    Hi, I just tried this recipe, followed exact instructions, fresh eggplant out of my garden and it is nothing but a giant pile of mush. Please tell me what I did wrong. Thanks,Amy Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 5, 2019

      Hi Amy, once they are refrigerated, by the next day, they are no longer the individual pieces but they do soften which is totally normal! They just aren’t very photogenic at that point so I opted to photograph the recipe while they were fresh. Reply

  • Natasha
    June 28, 2019

    Natasha, this recipe looks yummy! My only question is what do you think about roasting the eggplant in the oven or on the grill instead of frying it? Love eggplant but cannot do much fried stuff these days. Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      June 28, 2019

      Hi Natasha, I think that should still work fine. One of my readers reported good results in the air fryer so an oven should work well. I have instructions for baking eggplant here. I would spray both sides with a little olive oil. Reply

  • Woman in Oklahoma
    June 6, 2019

    I can’t believe how tasty this was considering it’s only a few simple ingredients. I should have made a double batch. This is a huge keeper.
    Thank you. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 6, 2019

      Sounds like you found a new favorite! Thank you for that awesome review! Reply

  • Carol Briers
    May 29, 2019

    Natasha, we adore all of your recipes! I have a question. Could the eggplant be drizzled with oil and then “fried” in an air fryer? All of the veggies I do in the air fryer come out amazing. I would continue with the rest of the recipe as written. Reply

    • Natasha
      May 29, 2019

      Hi Carol, I honestly haven’t tried this recipe any other way but deep fried but I think it’s worth a try. If you experiment, please let me know how you liked it. Reply

      • Carol Briers
        June 3, 2019

        I did air fry the eggplant and it came out perfectly golden. 380 for 13ish minutes. I forgot to buy the fresh jalapenos, so I had to use pickled jalapenos. The color was not as vibrant as fresh would have been but the flavor is wonderful! Posted a pic to FB. Reply

        • Natasha
          June 3, 2019

          Thank you so much for sharing that with me!! Did you spray with oil before air frying? I can’t wait to try eggplant in the airfryer. I’m completely in love with my air fryer. Thanks for sharing a picture! Reply

          • Carol Briers
            June 4, 2019

            Natasha,

            I drizzled oil over it before frying. It still absorbed some of the oil (so, I drained it per your recipe), but I think far less than frying in the oil.

  • Jodie
    May 23, 2019

    Hi Natasha. I love your recipes!!
    I am wondering if I want to make this for a dinner party and make it ahead of time – ?? could I refrigerate it and then pull it out as an appetizer? cold? or room temp? Do you have any ideas? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 23, 2019

      Hi Jodie, You can definitely refrigerate. Once refrigerated, by the next day, they do soften which is totally normal! Reply

  • Ildi
    May 8, 2019

    Can I use red spicy pepper?
    I don’t have jalapeños on hand… Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 8, 2019

      Hi Ildi! I haven’t tested that but it should work! Reply

      • Ildi
        May 22, 2019

        I’ve made it with red chili peppers.
        They are good, nice taste.
        I think jalapeno is even better, let’s hope I’ll find some next time. Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          May 22, 2019

          That’s so great Ildi! Thank you for sharing that review with me! Reply

  • Elena
    March 29, 2019

    Incredible recipe. I made this eggplant dish today to complement the shashlik I prepared also using a recipe from here. This has got to be the best eggplant recipe I have ever tried. Better than Imam bayildi. Also easier and faster. My new favourite eggplant dish.

    Thanks, Natasha! Also, my son says “hats down to you” for this one. He is a fan of eggplants.

    Another thing. I am growing used to your site and have a great appreciation for your effort to try and test every recipe. I am fed up with so many online recipes that are so obviously either fake or never tested. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 30, 2019

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, Elena! Thank you so much for sharing that with me I’m so happy you enjoy our blog & recipes! Reply

  • Irina
    March 14, 2019

    Had to stop myself from scarfing it all down. I make a roasted red pepper dish that’s similar but this wins hands down. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 14, 2019

      That’s just awesome!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review Irina 🙂 Reply

  • Diana
    January 13, 2019

    Brilliant! We made it this evening and we can not get enough of it! It is good we have a cautionary tale 🙂 with the recipe so we promptly stashed the rest into a fridge for breakfast tomorrow. Delish! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 14, 2019

      That’s so great Diana, it sounds like you found a new favorite! Reply

    • Viky
      July 25, 2019

      Hi Natasha,
      I will be making these tomorrow and wanted to clarify that when you say ‘fry the eggplant in 2-3 batches for 15-20 min’, does that mean each batch for 15-20 min? Hoping not to have mushy eggplant but nice and golden like yours in the pics 🙂 Reply

      • Natasha
        July 25, 2019

        Hi Viky, it was 15-20 minutes each batch. I’ve also had a couple of people report great results using an air fryer – it’s on my to-do list. I love eggplant! Reply

  • curiousbaker
    October 8, 2018

    Hello! Looking forward to making this! What would this usually be served with? Rice? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 8, 2018

      Rice sounds like the perfect side for this dish! This dish is often served as a side or appetizer Reply

  • Tasha
    September 9, 2018

    I was honestly nervous about the vinigar but deciddd to stick to proportions and it’s delicious! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 9, 2018

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful review! Reply

  • Lisa
    August 23, 2018

    hauntingly delicious Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 24, 2018

      It sure is delicious! Thank you for sharing your review with us, Lisa Reply

  • Tatyana
    June 21, 2018

    I made these TWICE today! Hope the second batch lasts until the party this Saturday. So yummy!! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 21, 2018

      You might just have to make a third batch! I’m glad you’re enjoying this recipe! Reply

  • Ildi
    June 12, 2018

    Hi Natasha,

    So I made this recipe today.
    I wasn’t sure about 1/3 vinegar + 2Tbs (100ml) vinegar, so I just measured 100ml.
    Could you elucidate on that, please?
    The mix felt too sour, so I added 2tbs of sugar. It was much better!
    My eggplants on the other hand kind of fell apart, they didn’t kept their shape nicely like yours…
    I’m not sure where I went wrong, size or frying. Need to work on that.
    Overall it’s a nice taste and I will see tomorrow what my partner says.
    It’s the first recipe from your blog that it kind of failed… 🙁 Reply

    • Natasha
      June 12, 2018

      This has been a family favorite for a long time and I am always happy to help troubleshoot! 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp of vinegar is equal to 100ml by volume. Make sure you are adding the correct proportions of vinegar to eggplant to garlic. The garlic is key in this recipe so it won’t be the same and vinegar may seem overwhelming if you skimp on garlic. It does mellow out with time and we have never had to add sugar. I would suggest making it per the recipe. Reply

    • Ildiko
      September 17, 2018

      Ok, I remade this recipe today but only for a quarter of the amount.
      This time I fried the eggplants less time.
      And followed the recipe exactly.
      Much better outcome, not falling apart but still cooked and the taste is good too.
      Might be a keeper!
      Thank you. Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        September 17, 2018

        I’m happy to hear it worked out better! Thank you! Reply

  • Angelina
    June 8, 2018

    Hi Natasha! Can i use vegetable oil? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 8, 2018

      The short answer for this is, Yes! You can almost always substitute the two. Thanks, Angelina! Reply

  • December 22, 2017

    Made this recipe yesterday Natasha except a different way I roasted the eggplant first then after mixed with some minced garlic and quick pickeld jalapeno peppers added some spices vinegar and a little sugar then used an immersion blender and wow it came out so very green and yummm can’t wait to serve it tonight for Friday night Shabbat dinner thanx so much doll have a really very beautiful awesome weekend cheers Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 22, 2017

      You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear the recipe is a success. Thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Yulia
    September 18, 2017

    Hi Natasha,
    Jalapeno is common in US but not in Europe. What can it be replace with, what do Ukrainians in Ukraine use?
    Thank you 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 18, 2017

      Hi Yulia, you can use any kind of spicy pepper that you prefer. Reply

  • Dan J
    February 12, 2017

    Has anyone tried a substitute for the garlic? Any success? I prefer to be one of those in the Metro who does not stink up the entire wagon. (= Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 12, 2017

      Hi Dan, unfortunately this recipe just wouldn’t be the same without the garlic. This recipe only has a few ingredients and they are all important. Maybe this one just isn’t the best for the “wagon”. lol. 🙂 Reply

    • Lynn Goldhammer
      May 2, 2019

      Maybe fry the garlic for 3 mins or so with the eggplant so there is some garlic flavor without it being too “raw” of garlic….

      Also if I’m using raw onion I soak it in vinegar for a while – tames the flavor, so that might work with garlic too… Reply

  • Alesia
    November 3, 2016

    Absolutely one of the best eggplant recipes I’ve ever tried! My hubby loves it too! Thank you, Natasha! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 3, 2016

      Alesia, thank you for such a great review! I have to exercise self-control around this dish 😋. Reply

  • Naeema
    October 31, 2016

    Hi Natasha. Could I fry these in coconut oil? I try not to eat oily foods Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 1, 2016

      Hi Naeema, I haven’t tried that but I think that would work. Reply

    • Wendi
      June 27, 2017

      Canola is better suited for stove top temperatures because of chemical property and it is lower in saturated fat than coconut oil. Coconut oil works nicely to replace butter in baking.

      I love this recipe, by the way. We love using our jalapenos. Reply

  • Natasha Shishman
    September 23, 2016

    I made these last night and love them! I love eggplant dishes, and this was no exception. Thank you for a simple recipe with lots of flavor and a strong garlicky kick 😉 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 23, 2016

      Natasha, I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing such a nice review with us 😀. Reply

  • gene
    September 15, 2016

    thank you so much for this recipe! I loved it, so so yummy!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 16, 2016

      You are welcome Gene and thank you for the nice feedback 😀. Reply

  • Olga
    September 9, 2016

    Very good recipe, not spicy at all. Thanks for sharing with us your family favorites. God bless you, and your family. ☺ Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 9, 2016

      I’m so glad you liked it!! 🙂 Reply

  • September 3, 2016

    This recipe looks absolutely gorgeous, Natasha and I am one of the biggest eggplant fans out there! I’ve never seen this recipe before and you know it’s not easy to come up with something very original to please the Russian/Ukrainian folks, so well done you!! Love the photos as well. I’ve never actually deep fried a thing in my life but I think I might break the rule for this recipe, it’s too tempting! Thanks for sharing! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 3, 2016

      Thank you Julia!! A couple of my readers have reported good results with roasting the eggplant but I haven’t tested it that way. Yes, this eggplant makes my eggplant loving world go ’round. It’s truly delicious!! 🙂 Reply

  • Natalya
    September 1, 2016

    Natasha, I made this recipe yesterday following your directions and it turned out wonderful. The eggplant turned out just right, not too spicy nor was it bland. Thank you for the recipe on an all time favorite Ukrainian food! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 1, 2016

      Natalya, I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us and you are welcome! Reply

  • Inna
    August 31, 2016

    Thanks for the recipe! Do you think it’ll work if I baked the eggplant instead? Have never cooked anything for that long in oil. I’m afraid to mess it up 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 31, 2016

      Hi Inna, it just fry’s for a long time and you don’t really have to touch it very much. I set a timer since the only thing one could really mess up is to forget it’s on the stove ;). but I do have good news for you: one of my readers reported great results with baking the eggplant rather than frying it. My shakshuka tutorial has instructions on roasting eggplant. If roasting, you will want to add a little oil to the sauce/marinade so the recipe does not end up too dry. Let me know how you like it roasted 🙂 Reply

  • angela
    August 29, 2016

    Thank you Natasha , i just eat whole bowl by myself , BEST EGGPLANT recipe.. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 29, 2016

      Angela, you are very welcome, I’m happy to hear that 😁. Reply

  • Inna
    August 29, 2016

    Made this last night. So good!!! Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 29, 2016

      You are very welcome Inna 😀. Reply

  • Sveta
    August 29, 2016

    Just a quick question… Yours look like individual pieces and not mushy at all. Mine became mush even though I cooked them on high heat and seemed to follow the recipe. Otherwise very delish!!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 29, 2016

      Hi Sveta, once they are refrigerated, by the next day, they are no longer the individual pieces but they do soften which is totally normal! They just aren’t very photogenic at that point so I opted to photograph the recipe while they were fresh. 🙂 Reply

  • Lesia
    August 29, 2016

    Thank you for the recipe!! I have a question. I was at pot luck and there was a dish there that was a ragu made out of eggplant, zucchini, peppers in a tomato sauce. Do you have anything like that in your cooking journey? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 29, 2016

      Hi Lesia, the eggplant spread or eggplant caviar sound similar to what you’re describing. click here to see all of our eggplant recipes. Reply

  • August 28, 2016

    I love eggplant and I love spicy foods, so this is right up my alley! I will definitely make this probably this week. I grew up eating lots of veggies especially eggplant! Good job, Natasha! 😉 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 28, 2016

      Thanks Sheila! I hope you love it 🙂 Reply

  • August 28, 2016

    Mmmmm wow cool beans another yummy delish and tantalizingly scrumptious eggplant dish this can definitely work @ an appy or side looks like it might be good roasted too @ usual luv ya don’t disappoint happy cooking keep em comin Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 28, 2016

      Definitely! It works as a side or app. I hope you love it! 🙂 Reply

  • Yuliya
    August 28, 2016

    Sounds so good 😋😋😋 I usually make it in the same way, but without jalapeño , with cilantro and fresh chopped tomatoes 😋 I’m obsessed with eggplants and tomatoes 🍅🍆 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 28, 2016

      I haven’t tried with tomatoes, but I hope you give it a whirl with jalapeno. It’s so good!! 🙂 Reply

  • TATYANA IVANKIN
    August 27, 2016

    That was the best eggplant after my late mama’s cooked eggplant with garlic under press! But forgive me I added bunch of cilantro as I can’t go without that!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 27, 2016

      I’m totally going to try that with cilantro! That sounds really good! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Reply

  • alla
    August 27, 2016

    hi do you have an tomatoe sauce recipe? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 27, 2016

      Hi Alla, I do have a marinara sauce if that is what you mean. Click here for the recipe. Reply

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