Home RecipesVegetables Summer Fry Up! Asian Pan Fried Zucchini

Summer Fry Up! Asian Pan Fried Zucchini

by Paula

In this second post for #zestforzucchini, I’ll share one of the easiest zucchini recipes I’ve done – Asian Pan Fried Zucchini!

So I’ve always been jealous of people who can eat eggplants. For some reason, I’m allergic to eggplants since I was a kid. I’ve never heard of anyone who has the same allergy, but it’s a real bummer when there are tons of recipes that I’ve been dying to try out. But since the ‘dying’ part has the potential to be quite literal in my case, I’ve backed off regrettably.

The good news is that I’m not allergic to zucchinis! It’s probably the closest that I can substitute for eggplants, but hey, it totally works. This Asian Pan Fried Zucchini recipe that I’m sharing is a product of those late night trawls of the internet, when I was looking at pictures of pritong talong (pan fried eggplants) and tortang talong (eggplant omelette).

I first tried to make tortang zucchini, but while the smoky taste from grilling was perfect, the time it took to properly scorch the skin for mashing was too much. Not to mention that the texture is different from eggplants. Instead of keeping its shape when you mash it, zucchinis tend to separate. So I shelved that idea for now.

My initial idea was to do straight adaptation of pritong talong. Cut the zucchini into bite-size chunks, fry them, and serve with a soy sauce and vinegar. Nothing wrong, it turned out tasty enough, but maybe, it was a bit too blah? That’s when I hit on the idea of adding the sauce during cooking instead.

Trivia Time

Small to medium-sized zucchinis are tastier! If your zucchini tastes unusually bitter, you’d probably be better off tossing it out. Cucurbitacins is responsible for this bitterness in zucchinis and squashes, and can cause an upset stomach.

Asian Pan Fried Zucchini Recipe Breakdown

The first part of the recipe is cutting up the zucchinis into bite-sized pieces. I chose to go with larger pieces because the larger size holds the shape well after frying. I had 2 zucchinis cleaned and scrubbed thoroughly. Once I’ve done that, I cut them into pieces and sprinkled salt over them. As I mentioned in this recipe, zucchini contains a lot of water, so I let it stand for 10 minutes to drain it of excess water.

The sauce itself is a piece of cake. It’s made of ingredients that you’d normally find in any Asian kitchen, so I had them on hand. I made a slurry with cornstarch and water and then added soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil. If you like a little spice in your food, you can add some chopped chili or gochujang (red chili paste). You can even slice some bell peppers to stir fry.

And since I was primping the base recipe, I decided to add a few more bells and whistles. I pan roasted some chopped cashew nuts to add to the sauce. I reserved a handful to sprinkle over the pan fried zucchini. This is entirely optional but I like how the crunchiness of the nuts contrast the softness of the zucchini.

After draining water from the zucchini, pat the chunks with paper before frying until each side is brown. Transfer to a bowl with a paper towel to catch the oil. Meanwhile, in the same frying pan, add the garlic and then the sauce. The sauce will thicken fast so quickly add the zucchinis back to the pan. Mix them well until the each chunk is coated. Turn off the heat and add the cashew nuts.

Tada! Now you have a fresh plate of Asian Pan Fried Zucchini for your meal! It goes well with rice and I usually eat it for lunch.

P.S. Don’t you think that it kinda looks like unagi?


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Asian Pan Fried Zucchini

  • Author: Paula


  • 2 small zucchinis (about 500 grams), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • oil for frying

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tsps cornstarch
  • 2 tsps + 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar
  • 2 tsps vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

For the Toppings (optional):

  • sesame seeds, roasted
  • cashew nuts, chopped and roasted
  • spring onion, chopped


  1. In a colander, toss the zucchini with the salt. Let it stand for 10 minutes to drain the excess water.
  2. In a small bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch and the 2 tsps of water. 
  3. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the slurry and mix well. Set aside. 
  4. Once the zucchini has been drained of water, pat dry with a paper towel.
  5. Heat up enough oil in a frying pan to fry the zucchini chunks. 
  6. Fry the zucchini until each side is browned. Set aside in a bowl. 
  7. If there is a lot of oil left in the pan after frying the zucchini, remove some of the oil until only about a tsp of oil is left.
  8. Lower the heat before adding the minced garlic. Fry until you can smell the garlic, about 10-15 seconds.
  9. Add the rest of the sauce, stirring constantly to avoid burning it.
  10. Add the zucchini chunks and mix thoroughly to coat each chunk with the sauce.
  11. Remove from the heat and serve with the toppings chosen.


  • If you are adding chili or bell peppers, add it with the garlic in step 8. 
  • If you are using gochujang, mix it with the sauce instead. 

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