Spicy Eggplant Recipe (Ogoniok)
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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!
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
*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.
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.
Spicy Eggplant Recipe (Ogoniok)
- 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
Cut eggplant into 1 1/2" to 2" pieces.
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.
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.
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
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?
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
I am trying different recipes in my new air fryer, to get used to what works and what doesn’t.
Aubergine is something I’ve found tricky in the air fryer, and I love aubergine, so I’m looking for recipes online. I thought this might work well if I follow the recipe except to brush the aubergine liberally with oil and air fry it on high.
Or do you think it would cook too slowly? Air fryer is great for some things, but I find it hit and miss for these types of things, so any tips are welcome!
(And thank you for your website, I just found it but already love it. It is very accessible and user friendly, it’s a joy to browse.)
I meant to write “eggplant” instead of “aubergine”! I’m in the UK 🙂
Hi Becky! I’m so glad you found my website. 🙂
I actually have not tested that with the air fryer to advise. One of my readers reported good results in the air fryer but I don’t have the details. Another one of my readers reported baking this in baking pans and on parchment liberally drizzled with oil (400•F, 10-15 min per side). I hope that helps.
Hi Natasha. Thank you for this recipe and numerous others, they never fail. I am one of those people that makes this in the air fryer and it comes out great!
On a different topic, do you have a recipe for smetannik. I love that cake so much but haven’t been able to find a good recipe online.
Hi Bella! That’s great to know. Thank you for sharing.
I do not have a recipe for that, but you can see all my cake recipes HERE.
Natasha how can you can this ogonok? I have lots of eggplants and I want to can this dish.
Please let me know.
Hi Nataly, I haven’t experimented with that to advise. If you happen to I would love to know how you like that.
I met an old Italian man many years ago while shopping and he told me this tip. You can avoid a lot of bitterness in eggplant by choosing the male eggplants vs the females. If you look at the blossom end of the eggplant, the males have a circular spot and the females have a longer slit style marking. The female eggplants have a lot more seeds – and the seeds are what makes eggplant bitter. If you don’t have a choice and only find female eggplants, you have to salt them. Male eggplants are usually fine without salting. Hope this helps 🙂
Ps, I am also a nurse working in CCU. Love your recipes!
Thank you so much for sharing that great tip!
I make this recipe all the time! Us it possible to jar them for the winter?
Hi Tatyana, I haven’t experimented with that to advise. If you happen to experiment I would love to know how you like that.
We made this recipe and love it so much that we wondered if you can can it?
Hi Laurie, I haven’t experimented with that t advise. If you happen to I would love to know how you like that.
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!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Inga! Thank you for the wonderful review!
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!
That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite!
What white vinegar I should use? 5% or 9%?
Hi Mila, we used 5% for this recipe.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
Sounds like you found a new favorite! Thank you for that awesome review!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
Hi Jodie, You can definitely refrigerate. Once refrigerated, by the next day, they do soften which is totally normal!
Can I use red spicy pepper?
I don’t have jalapeños on hand…
Hi Ildi! I haven’t tested that but it should work!
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.
That’s so great Ildi! Thank you for sharing that review with me!
I’ve made and remade these eggplants over and over!
All my “mom friends” (Japanese word for friends you make through your kids playing together) are in love with this recipe. Even held a cooking class at my house and this recipe and your marinated mushrooms were the stars ⭐️
Thank you for all your recipes!
Thanks for sharing that with me and for your great review. I hope you love every recipe you try!
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.
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!
Had to stop myself from scarfing it all down. I make a roasted red pepper dish that’s similar but this wins hands down.
That’s just awesome!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review Irina 🙂
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!
That’s so great Diana, it sounds like you found a new favorite!
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 🙂
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!
Hello! Looking forward to making this! What would this usually be served with? Rice?
Rice sounds like the perfect side for this dish! This dish is often served as a side or appetizer
My friend made this for us last night and I had to find the recipe online to grab it for my collection. It is so good! Eating the leftovers today and I’m such a happy camper. I’ve been wanting more vegetable sides to serve with dinner and glad I have this one. Next time will try roasting in the oven instead of frying since I am trying to be more healthy right now.
Sounds like you found a new favorite Heather! Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful review with me.
I was honestly nervous about the vinigar but deciddd to stick to proportions and it’s delicious!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful review!
It sure is delicious! Thank you for sharing your review with us, Lisa
I made these TWICE today! Hope the second batch lasts until the party this Saturday. So yummy!!
You might just have to make a third batch! I’m glad you’re enjoying this recipe!
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… 🙁
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.
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!
I’m happy to hear it worked out better! Thank you!
Hi Natasha! Can i use vegetable oil?
The short answer for this is, Yes! You can almost always substitute the two. Thanks, Angelina!
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
You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear the recipe is a success. Thanks for sharing!
Jalapeno is common in US but not in Europe. What can it be replace with, what do Ukrainians in Ukraine use?
Thank you 🙂
Hi Yulia, you can use any kind of spicy pepper that you prefer.
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. (=
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. 🙂
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…
Absolutely one of the best eggplant recipes I’ve ever tried! My hubby loves it too! Thank you, Natasha!
Alesia, thank you for such a great review! I have to exercise self-control around this dish 😋.
Hi Natasha. Could I fry these in coconut oil? I try not to eat oily foods
Hi Naeema, I haven’t tried that but I think that would work.
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.
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 😉
Natasha, I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing such a nice review with us 😀.
thank you so much for this recipe! I loved it, so so yummy!!
You are welcome Gene and thank you for the nice feedback 😀.
Very good recipe, not spicy at all. Thanks for sharing with us your family favorites. God bless you, and your family. ☺
I’m so glad you liked it!! 🙂
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! 🙂
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!! 🙂
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!
Natalya, I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us and you are welcome!
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 🙂
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 🙂
Thank you Natasha , i just eat whole bowl by myself , BEST EGGPLANT recipe..
Angela, you are very welcome, I’m happy to hear that 😁.
Made this last night. So good!!! Thank you!
You are very welcome Inna 😀.
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!!!!
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. 🙂
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?
Hi Lesia, the eggplant spread or eggplant caviar sound similar to what you’re describing. click here to see all of our eggplant recipes.
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! 😉
Thanks Sheila! I hope you love it 🙂
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
Definitely! It works as a side or app. I hope you love it! 🙂
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 🍅🍆
I haven’t tried with tomatoes, but I hope you give it a whirl with jalapeno. It’s so good!! 🙂
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!!!
I’m totally going to try that with cilantro! That sounds really good! Thanks for sharing 🙂
hi do you have an tomatoe sauce recipe?
Hi Alla, I do have a marinara sauce if that is what you mean. Click here for the recipe.