Crispy Szechuan-Style Eggplant and Tofu
Inspired by the recipe found here.
- 2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 long eggplant cut into 5-cm strips
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed dry between paper towels and cut into 5-cm strips
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil, plus more for frying
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 3 chillies, minced, or as desired
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Chopped fresh coriander leaves
In a shallow dish, combine 2/3 cup of the cornstarch, the salt and pepper. Toss the eggplant pieces in the cornstarch mixture to coat, shaking off the excess; set aside. Repeat the process with the tofu.
Heat 1/2 inch of the cooking oil in a large, deep, straight-sided skillet (I used a wok) over medium heat until it shimmers. Working in batches, cook the eggplant first, tossing gently until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and the tofu.
In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
Carefully drain the oil from the skillet, and wipe out any residue using paper towels held with tongs. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to the skillet and heat it over medium heat. Add the ginger, about 1 teaspoon of the minced chilies (or to taste) and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until just fragrant, about 30 seconds; pour in the chicken stock mixture and bring it to a simmer. Simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cooked eggplant and tofu to the pan/wok and toss gently to combine. Stir in the sesame oil and chopped coriander and remove from the heat.