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Stir-fried Eggplant and Tofu with Garlic and Chilies

Stir-fried Eggplant and Tofu with Garlic and Chilies
This is a quick and easy way to enjoy two of the most colorful vegetables of summer and autumn, eggplant and chilies. The Asian eggplant has a thinner skin and more delicate flesh than the globe eggplant and generally has fewer seeds as well, making it a good candidate for quick cooking. Serve with steamed white rice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine, dry sherry or unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 6 Tbs. corn or other light vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
  • 2 red Anaheim chilies, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 3 or 4 Asian eggplant, about 1 lb. total, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 lb. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

In a small, dry fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirring continuously, until lightly golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, wine and cornstarch until the cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.

In a wok or large, deep fry pan over high heat, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and serrano chilies and toss and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 2 more Tbs. of the oil and, when hot, add the Anaheim chilies. Toss and stir for 30 seconds more. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and again allow to heat. Then add the eggplant and cook, turning often, until the eggplant has softened and browned a bit, 10 to 12 minutes.

Quickly stir the soy mixture and then add to the pan along with the tofu. Toss and stir to coat all the ingredients, then cover and cook until the eggplant is tender, the tofu is heated through and the liquid has thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Cooking from the Farmers' Market, by Georgeanne Brennan (Time-Life Books, 1999).