A Healthy Quick Pickle: Eggplant or Augerbine with Apple Cider Vinegar and Flaxseed Oil | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

A Healthy Quick Pickle: Eggplant or Augerbine with Apple Cider Vinegar and Flaxseed Oil

A Healthy Quick Pickle: Eggplant (Augerbine) with Apple Cider Vinegar and Flaxseed Oil

This is quite like a salad. Yet, do you know salad is a foreign concept to Chinese?

If you listen to how ‘salad’ is pronounced in Chinese, then you might find a clue there …

In Mandarin speaking areas like Mainland China or Taiwan, the term used is 沙拉 (sha la) and here in Hong Kong, where most of us speak Cantonese, it is called 沙律 (sa lad), both of which are actually derived from the English pronunciation.

But we do have dishes to serve as side or appetizer with main, similar to salads – this is one of them.

I have been using sesame oil for dressing up this Chinese cold appetizer; it is perhaps the natural needs in my brain that drives me to that omega-3-packed (EPA and DHA, etc.) ingredient, a forgotten bottle of flaxseed oil in fridge. That’s my memory!

A Healthy Quick Pickle: Eggplant (Augerbine) with Apple Cider Vinegar and Flaxseed Oil

Mr Google, when discussing the many benefits of flaxseed oil, also tells me that it is not recommended for use in cooking since it is far too easily oxidized. But it’s fine to add flaxseed oil to foods after they have been cooked (source: whfoods.com).

Fine! That suits my plan. Following the same routine, I just salted and sweated the eggplants before seasoning them by freshly ground black pepper, garlic, vinegar and oil.

The new member – flaxseed oil – then has proved to me that it does get along well with the eggplants and the other seasonings. So I know, after this endeavor, I have found another lovely use of flaxseed oil and this variation will be another keeper.

A Healthy Quick Pickle: Eggplant (Augerbine) with Apple Cider Vinegar and Flaxseed Oil

  • Ingredients
  • ~150g eggplant or aubergine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • ~1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp flaxseed oil
  • ~1/8 tsp chili flakes, optional
  • yields 1 serving
  • For salting and blanching eggplant
  • ~1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 C water


Peel eggplant, trim away the top part with stem, then cut each crosswise into about 1-2mm thick slices (half it lengthwise if your eggplant is more than 4-5 cm thick). Toss them with 3/4 tsp of sea salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Discard the liquid that has leached out. To avoid discolouration, salt eggplant right after slicing.

Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, honey, and black pepper; set aside.

Bring water to a boil, dump in eggplant, and keep boiling it for about 1-2 minutes, or until softened.

Drain in a colander, let cool a while (until cool enough to touch). Clean your hands and squeeze out water from eggplant.

Put eggplant in a bowl, mix in the sauce and drizzle oil over, tossing well. Let it stand for about half an hour before serving (I serve this at room temperature). You may also cover and store it in fridge for a few hours if you like serving it cold. Dish up, garnish with chili flakes, if using.

A Healthy Quick Pickle: Eggplant (Augerbine) with Apple Cider Vinegar and Flaxseed Oil


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  1. tigerfish

    I think the Chinese’s 小菜/冷菜 is the salad version of our Western counterparts.

    This summer, I have been making both Chinese and Western “salads” quite often. In fact, I am making some 冷菜 today using 莴苣, 小黄瓜, and enoki mushrooms – 3 appetizer dishes. But probably with soy sauce or sesame oil dressing.

    Is your flaxseed oil cold-pressed? I remember Mr Google telling me that cold-pressed oil typically cannot (or better not) be cooked.

    Does the flaxseed oil has an earthy musky taste that is over-powering? I wanted to buy a bottle few weeks ago but did not. Maybe I should try.

  2. TasteHongKong

    Yes, the bottle of flaxseed oil with me says, ‘Expeller cold pressed, containing 8000mg ALA Omega-3 per tablespoon’. And it suggests 1 to 2 tablespoons a day or mix with foods such as yogurt, … salad, soups, rice, veggie, and etc.

    By the way, it is also gluten-free and is 100% vegan.

    The flaxseed oil in the dish here tastes rather light especially when comparing with sesame oil. I must not be sensitive enough to detect that earthy taste, or, probably due to the small amount added and being masked by the tastes of garlic and pepper.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas on Chinese cold dishes 涼拌/冷菜.

  3. Juliana

    So interesting this pickled eggplant…I must admit that I never had eggplant like this…in salad, sounds really easy and tasty with all the pickling ingredients…somehow I would see myself adding sesame oil instead of flaxseed oil 🙂
    Thanks for this recipe Maureen and hope you are enjoying your week 😀

  4. Mary Moh

    That’s a healthy dish. I think I’ll enjoy it alone if I make this, in fact any dish with aubergine. My family never like aubergine. Wonder why……hmmm. It’s so good. I like how we cooked it at home….spicy……mmm. Just last week a friend called from home and taught me how to cook it with dried shrimps. Sounds very delicious. Need to try it one of these days. Bet I’ll only be eating aubergines for that whole week….haha

  5. Irina @ wandercrush

    Ahh I love these Chinese pickled dishes, especially on a hot summer day. Mum makes them with broccoli stems, but we’ve never tried aubergine before…and never with flax oil! Great idea, can’t wait to try it.

  6. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    I LOVE flaxseed oil…so good for you!
    The salad looks so appetizing.

  7. kristy

    Gosh, this recipe sounds incredible. Have never tried anything like this before especially cold eggplant. I’m really curious about the taste.