Top | Main Dishes

Braised Eggplant with Tofu in Garlic Sauce

(recipe, Katie Hickey)

Introduction

This is a Kenji Recipe, and it is great. We didn't have preserved mustard root when we first made it, and it is still great. Chinkiang vinegar is a black vinegar that can be found at most Asian supermarkets. Rice vinegar can be used in its place. Preserved mustard root can be found in the canned or jarred section of an Asian supermarket, sometimes labeled preserved or pickled Sichuan vegetable (check the ingredients label for mustard root). The eggplant can be par-cooked in the microwave if you don't own a bamboo steamer. To cook, line a large microwave-proof plate with paper towels. Place eggplant on top and microwave on high power until eggplant is completely tender, 5 to 8 minutes (be careful, plate will be very hot).

Ingredients

  1. 2 lb. Chinese or Japanese eggplant (about 4 small), or small Italian eggplant, cut into 2-inch chunks
  2. 2 tsp. Chinkiang vinegar (see note above)
  3. ¾ cup Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  4. 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  5. 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  6. 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  7. 1 Tbsp. fermented broad bean chili paste
  8. 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  9. 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  10. 2 whole cloves garlic, smashed with the back of a knife, plus 4 more whole cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  11. 2 scallions, whites and greens thinly sliced and reserved separately
  12. 2 to 3 Tbsp. finely minced preserved mustard root (see note above)
  13. 1 12.3 oz. box firm silken tofu, cut into 1-inch chunks
  14. 2 to 3 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Steps

  1. 1
  2. Par-cook eggplant in microwave, per th enote above OR Place eggplant in a large bamboo steamer and set over a wok filled with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, cover steamer, and cook until eggplant is completely tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. 2
  4. While eggplant is cooking, make the sauce. Combine vinegar, wine, and cornstarch and stir with fork until cornstarch is dissolved. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, and sesame oil. Set aside.
  5. 3
  6. Wipe out wok and dry carefully. Add oil and whole garlic cloves. Heat over medium heat stirring and turning garlic cloves occasionally until light golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Discard whole cloves then increase heat to high and heat oil until smoking. Add sliced garlic, scallion whites, and preserved mustard root. Cook, stirring and tossing constantly until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir sauce to re-incorporate corn starch, then add to wok, stirring constantly. Add eggplant and tofu and fold gently to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, folding and stirring occasionally until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in scallion greens and cilantro and serve immediately with white rice, if desired.