Kid-friendly Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo" + Filipino Fried Rice + Island Fruit Flips Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Fabulous Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo" + Fantastic Filipino Fried Rice + Island Fruit Flips

Family Meal Plan: Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo" + Filipino Fried Rice + Island Fruit Flips

Fabulous Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo" + Fantastic Filipino Fried Rice + Island Fruit Flips

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Pixel-Shot/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Fabulous Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo"

Please pardon the extra alliteration with this recipe. We’re just that excited about it because it is so good and so easy! Technically, Adobo is just five ingredients: vinegar, soy sauce, chicken (or vegetables), sugar, and garlic. Salt, pepper, and green onions are add-ons. Adobo is a cooking method, too, and it involves mixing together an easy marinade and reducing it in the pan with whatever your main ingredient is. While Chicken Adobo seems to be the most widely-adopted version, we thought eggplant would be delicious too. And it is! Eggplant is kind of a wild-looking vegetable, and your kids may be hesitant to try it at first. A purple vegetable?! Take this chance to explain that eggplant has a special nutrient that makes its skin purple in color—the same nutrient is in blueberries, red cabbage, and red or purple grapes. Eggplant come in many more colors and shapes than what we see at the grocery store, too. In fact, years and years ago, the variety most people were used to looked a lot like goose eggs, so that’s what they called them! Have fun traveling to the Philippines with this recipe!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • Fresh:
  • 1 large purple eggplant **(for EGGPLANT ALLERGY sub zucchini)**
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 large, ripe banana (see Lesson Plan Tidbits for method to ripen bananas faster)
  • Pantry:
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1/4 C vinegar
  • 1 T sugar or honey
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 8-oz pkg pre-cooked white or brown rice
  • 2 C pineapple juice (or orange/apple juice)
  • 1 C coconut milk (or rice/plain soy milk)
  • Optional: flaked coconut, for drink garnish
  • Have on hand:
  • 2 T water
  • 1 C ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • garnish :

    to decorate a dish or plate of food to enhance its flavor or appearance, using things like parsley, fruit slices, or edible flowers.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mince :

    to chop into teeny tiny pieces.

  • peel :

    to remove the skin or rind from something using your hands or a metal tool.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • snip :

    to use scissors to cut something with quick, sharp strokes.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Medium skillet
  • Measuring spoons
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Medium skillet + matching lid
  • Wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula
  • Kid or kitchen scissors


Fabulous Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo"

  • 1 large purple eggplant **(for EGGPLANT ALLERGY sub zucchini)**
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 big pinch salt
  • 1/4 C soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1/4 C vinegar
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 green onions

Fantastic Filipino Fried Rice

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 8-oz pkg precooked white or brown rice
  • 1 big pinch salt

Island Fruit Flips

  • 1 large, ripe banana
  • 2 C pineapple juice (or orange/apple juice)
  • 1 C coconut milk (or rice/soy milk)
  • 1 C ice
  • flaked coconut (optional)

Food Allergen Substitutions

Fabulous Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo"

  • Eggplant: Substitute zucchini for eggplant.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.
  • Soy: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.


Fabulous Five-Ingredient Filipino Eggplant "Adobo"

peel + chop

Peel 1 eggplant. Chop off the stem, then chop eggplant into bite-sized pieces. Smash, peel, and mince 4 garlic cloves and set garlic aside.

sauté + whisk

In a medium skillet, sauté eggplant in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until browned (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add 1 big pinch of salt to the eggplant. Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 pinch of black pepper, and the minced garlic. Once the eggplant is golden brown, add the sauce to the skillet.

cover + snip

Cover the skillet and reduce heat to low to simmer the sauce. Continue cooking the eggplant for a few minutes until it becomes soft and silky. Meanwhile, kids can use kid's scissors to snip 2 green onions into bits.

reduce + garnish

Then remove the cover for the last 30 seconds of cooking, turn up the heat, and let the sauce reduce. Serve eggplant over Fantastic Filipino Fried Rice and garnish with green onions! Enjoy!

Fantastic Filipino Fried Rice

add + sauté + salt

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium skillet. Then add 1 package of precooked rice. Add 1 big pinch of salt and sauté until rice is golden brown in spots. Serve with Fabulous Filipino Eggplant "Adobo" (see recipe)!

Island Fruit Flips

peel + measure

Peel 1 banana and add it to a blender (or pitcher + immersion blender). Add 2 cups pineapple juice, 1 cup coconut milk, and 1 cup ice to the banana.

blend + pour

Blend until smooth and thick! Then pour into cups and enjoy! Top with flaked coconut for an extra tropical feel!

Surprise Ingredient: Eggplant!

back to recipe
Photo by BearFotos/

Hi! I’m Eggplant!

"I'm the star of this dish, the exciting Eggplant! You might think of me as a vegetable, but I'm actually a berry! Not only that, but I'm large and oblong (that's a long oval shape), and I'm purple! Some of my eggplant cousins are short and plump, and have white streaks, but we all wear the same perky green cap, and we're all good to eat!"


  • The eggplant was called the Mad Apple for hundreds of years before people were actually brave enough to try eating it. People worldwide thought it was poisonous, so it took a long time before someone was brave enough to take a bite.
  • Eggplant is widely believed to be native to India. In fact, it is known as the King of Vegetables in India. Eggplant still grows wild in India!
  • Chinese emperors enjoyed eggplant way back to as early as 600 BC. How's this for an interesting fact: Ladies of China found it fashionable to stain their teeth black way back in 600 BC, and they would use eggplant skins to make a black dye for their teeth!
  • Eggplant eventually made their way around the world with global explorers, but people used them more for table decoration than food for hundreds of years because they were afraid they'd be poisoned if they ate them!
  • One story tells that when eggplant was brand new to France, King Louis XIV wanted to impress guests at his royal table, so he had his gardeners plant eggplant in his garden. Do you think his diners were impressed? They were not! They described the eggplant as "fruits as large as pears, but with bad qualities." 
  • King Louis XIV cooked them and served them to his guests anyway, without them knowing. And they didn't get sick! This is because he had done his research first and found out that once eggplant mature, they are safe to eat and are actually quite delicious!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Eggplant are technically berries, not vegetables! Are you surprised? What are some other fruits commonly mistaken for vegetables? How about cucumbers and tomatoes?
  • Did you know that eggplant and tomatoes are related? That's right—they both belong to the Nightshade family, along with potatoes and peppers. 
  • The standard eggplant is oval or pear-shaped, glossy-skinned, or purple. However, there are many different varieties of eggplant around the world. For example, eggplant can be white, green, round, small, long, purple-and-white speckled, cream-colored, or deep purple.
  • With eggplant, bigger isn't necessarily better. The smaller the eggplant, the sweeter it tends to taste.
  • Eggplant does have seeds, but once they've developed seeds, their flesh becomes pretty bitter. That's why it's best to harvest eggplant before their seeds become too big. 
  • Europeans gave these berries the name "Eggplant" in the middle of the 18th century because the variety they knew looked exactly like Goose Eggs! 
  • Another name for eggplant is "aubergine" (ober-zheen), adapted from the original Arabic name al-badinjan.

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • When buying eggplant, look for smooth skin, even color, heavy-in-the-hand, and no bruises. Squeeze the eggplant gently with a finger and then let go. If the eggplant is fresh, it will bounce back again. The stems should be bright and green. 
  • Store eggplant overnight at room temperature and plan to use it soon after bringing it home. If you are storing it for longer than a day, wrap it in a plastic bag and place it on a shelf in the fridge. 
  • The skin of the eggplant is edible, but many recipes advise peeling the skin before cooking because the flesh is sweeter and more tender, while the skin can be tough. 
  • Eggplant is a very watery vegetable, and this is why many people like to salt their sliced eggplant before frying them to remove some of the excess moisture. They also used to be much more bitter, so people would add salt to them to cut the bitterness. Eventually, growers bred the bitterness out of the plants. 
  • Eggplant can be roasted, baked, fried, sauteed, grilled, braised, stir-fried, and stuffed. The only way we wouldn't suggest eating eggplant is raw. While it is not harmful in small doses, eggplant is so much more delicious when cooked. 
  • Eggplant is in peak season from August to March—they love hot weather!


  • The color of a fruit or vegetable tells us what nutrient it contains (nature is amazing!). Orange vegetables and fruits have special nutrients. So do green vegetables. Purple eggplant also contain a nutrient that gives them their color: anthocyanin. It's an antioxidant also found in red or purple grapes, blackberries, blueberries, plums, red cabbage, red onions, and prunes. 
  • Brains! Did you know that the brain is made up primarily of fat? Eggplant has a unique nutrient that's been shown to protect the fats in our brain. When we safeguard the fats in our brain, we make it possible for brain cells to send signals back and forth to each other—which is a very good thing! We need our brain cells to talk to each other!
  • Fiber! We often talk about fiber when we reveal our Surprise Ingredient, and that's because vegetables and fruits contain a lot of fiber. Eggplant are no exception. What does fiber help with? Digestion! And which body parts are responsible for digestion? Many, but namely our stomach and intestines. We definitely want to keep those running in tip-top shape!


What is Adobo?

Photo by Liudmyla Chuhunova/
  • "Adobo" is the Spanish word for "marinade." It refers both to a popular Filipino dish and an indigenous Filipino cooking method. 
  • Why a Spanish word for a Filipino dish? Well, the Spanish Empire colonized the Philippines from 1521 to 1898. It was during the 1500s that the Spanish first encountered the adobo cooking method of native Filipinos. The Spanish named the dish "Adobo" and thereby referred to any dish marinated before being cooked as "adobo."  
  • Native Filipinos used the vinegar in the adobo marinade to preserve their meat—long before refrigeration was invented.

Let's Learn About the Philippines!

Photo by Reynante Lacbain
  • The official name of the country is "The Republic of The Philippines." A person from the Philippines is a "Filipino."
  • The Philippines is an archipelago or a collection of islands. In this case, the collection is vast, spanning over 7,000 islands total!
  • The history of language in the Philippines is rich and a little complicated! The official languages of the nation are Filipino and English. Filipino comes from Tagalog and is the standardized version. Filipinos speak the language primarily in Manila, the capital, and neighboring provinces. People who speak both languages can understand each other.
  • During Spanish rule, the official language of the Philippines was Spanish. There are about 182 languages and dialects throughout the islands of the Philippines. 
  • Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines in the 1500s and claimed the archipelago for Spain. As a result, the Philippines were under Spanish rule for 300 years until 1898. At the end of the short-lived Spanish-American War, at the Treaty of Paris, Spain handed over the Philippines to the United States. The US had control until 1946, when the Philippines officially regained its independence.
  • Rice is a staple, and Filipinos eat it in some form at every meal. "Kamayan" is a family or community buffet of Filipino food. Hosts lay banana leaves on a table and then serve seafood, grilled meats, vegetables, and rice on top. In Tagalog, kamay means "hand," so a kamayan feast indicates how you eat the food. First, you put a mound of rice into the palm of your hand,  then add lechon (roasted pig), seafood, or other meat, and stir-fried veggies, and bring it all to your mouth to eat. Guests stand side-by-side to eat together at the long table. 
  • Although a version of the yo-yo has been around since Ancient Greece, a Filipino immigrant who came to the US in 1915 popularized it and started the first yo-yo company. He strung his yo-yos differently, using a loop around the axle rather than a knot, allowing tricks like "sleeping," etc.
  • The world's longest snake comes from the Philippines. It's called the Reticulated Python, and it can grow to almost 29 feet in length! Yikes!
  • In the Tojoman Lagoon, there are millions of "stingless" jellyfish! The lagoon is located in Sohoton Cove on Bucas Grande Island in the province of Surigao del Norte. The jellyfish aren't technically stingless, but their sting often doesn't penetrate skin or cause a reaction.
  • Filipino/Tagalog for "Hello": "Kamusta" (pronounced "kah-moo-STAH").
  • Filipino/Tagalog for "Thank you": "Salamat" (pronounced "sah-lah-MAHT").

What's It Like to Be a Kid in The Philippines?

  • Kids play basketball, which is the country's most popular sport. They also play soccer and badminton. Kids may participate in the national martial art called Arnis or Eskrima, which uses blunt, wooden sticks.
  • The school year is from June to April, and school hours are usually from 7:30 am to 4 or 5 pm. In some areas, schools may not have cafeterias, so students go home for lunch or eat outside in the schoolyard under the shade of trees. Their lunch may consist of dried fish and rice wrapped in banana leaves.
  • One of the sweets Filipino kids eat is "leche flan." It is similar to crème caramel, but sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are used instead of cream. "Tsokolate" (Cho-co-lah-TAY) is a drink that is popular with kids. The word means "chocolate," and the drink is thick hot cocoa made from tablets of ground roasted cacao beans, dissolved in water and milk. It is common to drink "tsokolate" with breakfast and at Christmastime.

That's Berry Funny

What would you call two banana skins? 

A pair of slippers.

That's Berry Funny

Did you hear the tall tale about rice? 

There wasn’t a grain of truth behind it!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call an eggplant that fell off the kitchen counter? 

A faceplant!

The Yolk's On You

What's purple, delicious, and fun to decorate for Easter? 

A hard-boiled eggplant!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why are bananas never lonely? 

Because they hang around in bunches!

Lettuce Joke Around

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who’s there?"

"Ben and Anna."

"Ben and Anna who?"

(no answer—Ben and Anna (banana) split)

Lettuce Joke Around

What did one rice say to the other rice? 

"I hope I see you a-grain!"

THYME for a Laugh

Where do chickens grow? 

On egg-plants!

That's Berry Funny

When is an apple not an apple? 

When it’s a pineapple!

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