This is one of those recipes that is incredibly simple, but tastes like it is really fancy and complicated so will therefore impress your tastebuds/friends with minimal effort. It’s just all win, basically.
This amount easily serves four people. It’s really good reheated though, so make plenty.
1 eggplant/aubergine, depending on linguistic preference
a similar amount of tofu to eggplant
2 cloves garlic
lump of ginger
chilli (fresh or dried)
fish or soy sauce
sweet chilli sauce
If you want to be extra fancy:
1-2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
a good slug of shaoxing cooking wine or lemon juice
#1 Eggplant Tip:
If you don’t want the eggplant to soak up all the oil (and I won’t judge you if you do want that) cut it up first and leave it in a bowl of salted water while you get everything else ready. The eggplant absorbs all the water and then you can use much less oil in cooking.
Using less oil is good, because this tastes so much better if the tofu has been deep fried. You can do it with normal tofu, but trust me on the fried thing. You can fry your own, but I feel it is rude to ignore the fact that someone has gone to the trouble of deep frying tofu and selling it in convenient packs so that I might be lazy about frying my own tofu, but each to their own.
Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and sauté. If you are using the hoisin, put it in now and fry it a bit. Add the drained eggplant and fry until it gets some colour. Next up is the fish or soy sauce -- how much depends on how salty you like things.
Add the tofu and sweet chilli sauce, again to taste. If you’re being fancy, now is the time to add the shaoxing wine or lemon juice. You often need to add some water at this stage so it all mixes and doesn’t burn. Don’t worry, it will boil off and you get a lovely sticky chilli sauce on everything by the time it cooks.
That’s it! Let it cook and stir regularly till the eggplant is tender and the sauce has thickened. Depending on how big you cut the eggplant, this can take from 3-15 minutes.
Serve with rice and bok choy or other green vegetable if going for aforementioned fanciness.
Stuff your face.
Thanks to Kath for the photos!