Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eggplant and Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce

Eggplant and tofu are not that amenable to picky palates, so I understand if this doesn't exactly wet your whistle. Many people think that eggplant is slimy and best experienced slathered in breadcrumbs, pan-fried, and doused with cheese and tomato sauce. But after making this dish, my favorite eggplant preparation is cooking it down so much that it falls apart, creating a thick sauce that is amenable, in this case, to Asian flavors. In fact, the flavor of this was so complex -- spicy, sweet, salty, garlicky, etc. -- that it tasted very much like something from a little ethnic restaurant, particularly served over brown basmati rice.

As you might notice, this recipe calls for a lot of ingredients,  though many of them are pantry staples for me now. Acquiring many of them took me a while, but now that I have them, they get a lot of use in stir-fries and other dishes. It makes it really easy when I see a recipe like this to know that I already have hoisin sauce and sesame oil in the house. So if you're wary of making the plunge to buy some of these things, go ahead and do it!

Eggplant and Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce
adapted from: Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Yields 4 servings

1 pound extra-firm tofu (not silken)
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup water
6-8 garlic cloves, minced–about 2 tbsp.
1-inch peeled fresh ginger, grated
3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tbsp vegetarian hoisin sauce
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp hot chili sauce (like Sriracha) (original recipe calls for 1/2-1 tsp if you prefer it more mild)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
sprinkling of sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices and press them lightly between towels to get some of the moisture out. Combine the 3 tbsp. soy sauce with the 2 tbsp. water and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Dip each slice of tofu into the mixture and set on a plate.

Heat an oiled, non-stick skillet until hot. Place the tofu slices in the skillet and cook until browned. Turn over and brown the other sides. When the tofu is completely browned on both sides, remove it from the skillet and place it on a cutting board. Cut each slice into 8-10 cubes. Set aside.

Heat an oiled, non-stick wok and add the eggplant and 1/3 cup water. Cover and cook, stirring often, until eggplant begins to brown. Uncover and add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add all remaining ingredients except the tomato, sesame seeds, and tofu. Simmer uncovered until all the eggplant slices are completely cooked–they will be very soft and start to fall apart. Add the tofu cubes and tomato and cook until heated through. Serve over rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

5 Answers for 5 Questions

Cara over at Cara's Cravings (definitely one of my favorite blogs) tagged me to answer a few questions.

1) What was on your To-Do list today:
- do laundry
- blog (check!)
- read chapter 11 of Christian England by David Edwards
- exercise
- grocery shopping

2) 5 Snacks you enjoy:
- cucumbers or carrots with hummus
- apple and cocoa roasted almonds
- Chobani Greek yogurt with fruit
- Fiber One bars
- cheese and crackers

3) 5 Places you have lived:
- Dallas, TX (where I grew up)
- Interlochen, MI (where I spent two years in high school)
- Houston, TX (where I went to college)
- Sacramento, CA (where I spent a summer)
- Nashville, TN (home for now!)

4) What were you doing 5 years ago:
- turned 21
- was in college getting my degree in voice
- was in between relationships
- did a ministry internship at the church where I grew up
- decided that God was calling me to be ordained

5) 5 things you would do if you were a Billionaire:
- travel back to Puerto Rico and to Chile and Argentina, Paris, London, Thailand
- still work for the church but without having to worry about a paycheck
- buy a condo/house in San Juan
- adopt more cats
- donate money to Episcopal Relief and Development, my high school, and my alma mater