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Chinese Garlic Eggplant with Tofu

By
Andrew Chase
This Sichuan specialty, Yuxiang Qiezi, is traditionally made without tofu, but Canadian restaurants often add it. Buy the hot bean paste and ground Sichuan pepper from a Chinese grocery store; there are really no substitutes. Serve with rice.

Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 oz (375 to 500 g) Asian eggplant (2 or 3 eggplants)
  • 1 tbsp  (15 mL)  soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp  (15 mL)  rice vinegar (preferably black or other aged rice vinegar)
  • 2 tsp  (10 mL)  Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp  (1 mL)  ground Sichuan pepper
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 tbsp  (45 mL)  peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp  (45 mL)  hot bean paste
  • 1 tbsp  (15 mL)  minced fresh gingerroot
  • 6 oz  (175 g)  ground pork
  • 1/4 tsp  (1 mL)  white pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup  (250 mL)  light chicken or pork stock or water
  • 8 oz  (250 g)  regular (medium) tofu, cubed and drained
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  cornstarch
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  sesame oil

Preparation

Fill wok half-full of water; over high heat, bring to boil. Add whole eggplants and boil, turning occasionally, until just a little tender when pinched, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in colander; let cool. Cut into 1/2-inch/1 cm thick slices.

In bowl, mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar and Sichuan pepper. Mince white and light green parts of green onions; thinly slice dark green parts. Set aside.

In wok, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry hot bean paste, stirring, until oil becomes red, 1 to 2 minutes. Add white and light green parts of green onions and ginger; stir-fry until fragrant, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Add pork and white pepper; stir-fry until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in garlic; fry for 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry until almost all liquid is incorporated. Add stock; bring to boil. Add eggplant and tofu. Cook, stirring occasionally without breaking up tofu, until liquid is reduced by half.

Mix cornstarch with 2 tsp/10 mL water; stir into wok and cook until sauce is lightly thickened. Stir in sesame oil and dark green parts of green onions. Transfer immediately to serving dish.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

If dealing with a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity or special dietary needs for a medical condition, always check the label of processed foods (including spices and condiments) to ensure that they’re free of potentially harmful ingredients. If you have any doubt about a product’s ingredients, contact the manufacturer.
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