This melt-in-your-mouth Szechuan eggplant is pan fried, coated in a garlicky sweet-spicy sauce and served with crispy tofu over a bed of rice.
As I was getting this post together and looking at the posts I've got planned out for the next few weeks, I realized that most of them feature something that came out of my garden, or a friend's garden, or the farmers market...you get the drift. I'm guessing lots of you have an overabundance of fresh peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and the like in your kitchens. Yesterday's post featured tomato and basil, both harvested from my backyard. Today it's eggplant and scallions, also harvested from my own crops. I can't say every post will be like this (spoiler alert, tomorrow's isn't), but most will.
Moving on to eggplant! If you're like me, you planted the ever-popular purple globe eggplants. Traditionally, however, this dish would be made with Chinese eggplants, which are a bit more tender than globes and other more common varieties. You can get away with subbing another type of eggplant here, and in the U.S. at least, globes are the ones that'll be easiest for you to find. Globe eggplants are what I planted in my garden this year, simply because I can work them into all kinds of recipes. Just stick with a pound of whatever variety you go with and you should be set. Be sure to let me know how it turns out if you try some fun eggplant substitution.
Szechuan Eggplant with Tofu
For the Crispy Tofu
- Cooking spray or a bit of oil
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu pressed at least 15 minutes and cubed
For the Szechuan Eggplant
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. Asian chili paste or to taste
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 ½ tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb. eggplant sliced into thin strips (no thicker than ½ inch)
- 2 scallions chopped
Prepare the Tofu
Coat large skillet with oil or cooking spray and place over medium-high heat.
Add tofu to skillet in a single layer. Cook until browned on each side - about 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Prepare the Eggplant
Whisk broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste and cornstarch together in small bowl. Set aside.
Place vegetable and sesame oil in skillet place over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add eggplant strips in a single layer. Cook about 5 minutes, until strips are browned on bottoms. Gently flip and cook another 5 minutes, until browned on opposite side and tender. You can add a dash more oil if the skillet begins to dry out.
Add soy sauce mixture to skillet and cook about 1 more minute, until thickened and eggplant is well coated.
Add tofu to skillet and toss to distribute.
Divide among plates or bowls. Serve with rice and top with scallions.
Nutrition information does not include rice.