Spicy Szechuan-Style Eggplant
This recipe is based on one of my favorite Chinese take-out dishes—spicy eggplant—with a lot less oil than its restaurant counterpart. I’ve devised this lower-fat version as a way to satisfy my craving for it. Add tofu to make it more of a main dish. This can be served over noodles or rice. If you love eggplant, it’s really tasty any way you present it.
- 2 medium-small or 1 large eggplant, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, to taste minced
- 1/4 cup dry sherry or red wine
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or more to taste
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, diced
- 4 large celery or bok choy stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce, or more to taste
- Asian hot sauce (such as sriracha), Thai red chili paste,
or other hot condiment, to taste
- 3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Chopped fresh cilantro to taste
- Hot cooked rice or Asian noodles, optional
Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan or large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then slice the rounds into thick strips.
Add the sherry, eggplant strips, and ginger to the pan, along with about 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the eggplant is just tender. Lift the lid once or twice during that time to stir.
Stir the tofu, celery, and hoisin sauce into the pan. Cook just until everything is heated through. Season to taste with soy sauce and hot sauce.
Stir in the scallions and cilantro, or use them as garnish. If you’d like, serve the dish over hot rice or noodles.