Sichuan-Style Eggplant with Tofu
To reduce the amount of fat found in typical Chinese-style eggplant dishes, in this recipe, the eggplant is first steamed before it is stir-fried with a spicy sauce and just a splash of oil. Black bean–garlic sauce is a Chinese condiment made of fermented black beans, garlic, sugar and red chiles. Just a little lends a lot of savory flavor to stir-fries, soups and marinades, and a jar keeps for months in the refrigerator.
- 1 lb. (500 g) Asian eggplant, cut on an angle into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices
- 1 Tbs. black bean–garlic sauce
- 1 Tbs. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. sriracha or other chile sauce
- 2 tsp. Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) baked tofu, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
- 2 green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs. chopped roasted peanuts
- Steamed rice for serving
Steam the eggplant in a steamer basket set over simmering water until tender, about 8 minutes. (Alternatively, working in batches, arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on top of a double layer of paper towels and microwave on high until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.)
In a small bowl, whisk the black bean–garlic sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, sriracha, vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
In a large wok or deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until aromatic, 10 seconds. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring once or twice, until it begins to brown, 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the tofu and the black bean–garlic sauce mixture, cover and cook for 3 minutes, stirring once and lowering the heat if necessary to prevent scorching.
Divide the eggplant mixture among plates. Sprinkle with the green onions and peanuts and serve with the rice. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2014)