I love the weather when where is a bit of chill in the air yet the daytime is warm enough for short sleeves and shorts. The sun rises a little later now, and soon we will be setting the clocks back once again.
It is on those early nights that I enjoy one pan type meals- comfort food, and make dinners that can be enjoyed several times during a week.
One of my favorites is simple stirfry of tofu and aubergine or eggplant. It can be dressed up or down, made sweet, spicy or hot -- whatever you wish (personally I love the spice). The trick to this dish is the get all the water out of the tofu- so draining the tofu several hours on paper towels works well. Pick ripe eggplants - the smaller the tastier -- there are different varieties - I do perfer the long Japanese veggies- and I always leve the skin on. Take care not to soak the eggplant in oil or such as it is a greedy little sponge - just a little oil and constant toss, stir will do. Let's get on with it, shall we!
Spicy Tofu and Eggplant Recipe
One 14 oz pack of extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 lb Japanese eggplant, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoon agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns,crushed
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon black bean chili sauce (fermented black beans and chili peppers)
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 green onions, minced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoon sesame oil
Drain the tofu and pat it dry. Place several layers of paper towels on a table. Place the drained tofu in the middle of the paper towels. Wrap the towels firmly, but without breaking the tofu, around the tofu block . Wrap this in an absorbent kitchen towel. Place a plate over the tofu parcel. Put something heavy on top of the plate--I use a cast iron skillet. Drain like this for several hours.
In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil. Add the eggplant cubes in a single layer, without crowding. Fry the eggplant cubes on high heat till they are golden, about 3 minutes. The eggplant will be just browned on the outside. Flip the eggplant pieces and brown the other side. Set the eggplant aside on a plate.
Cut the tofu into ¾ inch cubes. Wipe the skillet clean. Turn heat to medium. Arrange the tofu cubes in a single layer on the skillet. Don’t move around or disturb the tofu cubes while cooking. When brown on one side (about 10 minutes), flip the tofu cubes and brown the other side. When the tofu is light brown on all sides, remove it and place it in a plate. You can also brown the tofu in the oven - place the tofu on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or so.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the tamari, agave, pepper, vinegar and water. Heat a large wok with oil on high heat. Carefully add the chili bean sauce, ginger and garlic, and stir for 30 seconds. Remove the wok from the heat and add the whisked ingredients. Return the wok to the stove and add the green onions, eggplant, tofu, and 1/2 cup water. Toss gently and cook on high for 5 minutes or till the eggplant has softened( not mush). Add more water if the dish is too dry. Taste the dish and add more chili bean sauce if you like.
Drizzle sesame oil and serve with brown rice. Feeds 4.