I am totally thrilled with how this dish turned out. It was easy to make, but is slightly more involved because of frying the tofu. Turns out though that frying tofu is relatively easy. I was surprised! Super comforting on a lazy weekend with a nice cold glass of beer. If you make it, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear from you.
Large shallot, sliced
4 green onions, sliced into large 2 inch pieces
Ginger, 2 slices cut into slivers
4 dried chilis
Thai basil, leaves from 2 or 3 stalks, torn into pieces
1 large Chinese Eggplant, cut into 1” slices, then halve each slice.
1 large tomato, chopped roughly
1 block of extra firm tofu, dusted in corn starch
Chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
Salt & Pepper
Chow Mein Udon noodles (or another wheat or egg based asian noodle will work too)
Large, deep pan with a lid
Fry the tofu
Start by frying the tofu. Cut a block of extra firm tofu into 1 inch cubes, place in a bowl and coat each pieces in a light layer of corn starch. In a large pan coat the bottom of the pan with a layer of olive oil. Heat the oil for a few moments - you can tell if it’s ready to fry if you sprinkle a teeny amount of corn starch in it and it starts sizzling. Fry the tofu pieces in a single layer, cook in batches if necessary. Turn as they start crisping up to fry each side and then lay on some paper towels to rest.
In the same pan, sauté the shallots, dried chilis and ginger in hot oil until fragrant. Add in the eggplant cubes and cook them down a bit. Add some salt & pepper when the eggplants soften. When the eggplants stick to the pan, add the tomatoes and lower the heat to medium. Add in some soy sauce, about one “turn” of the pan. The water in the tomatoes will help create a sauce, use a spatula to scrape up anything that stuck to the bottom. Add some chicken stock, about a cup. The amount of chicken stock will become the sauce, so if you prefer more sauce just add more stock. Place a lid on the pan to encourage steaming.
In another pot, boil some water to cook the noodles. I used chow mein udon noodles which were done in about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water to prevent overcooking.
Meanwhile your eggplant mixture is becoming real nice and saucy. Add in the green onions and Thai basil. To thicken up the sauce, in a separate small bowl - temper 1 tbs. of corn starch with a bit of water. Mix that up so that there aren’t any remaining chunks of corn starch. Stir in the corn starch mixture into the pan and stir. Simmer. When you’re about to serve the meal, mix in the fried tofu and mix. You don’t want to do this too early, or the tofu will lose the crispiness.
Serve in a large deep dish with a serving of noodles and a generous portion of the eggplant sauce. Enjoy because it is freaking delicious. Best comment from the BF: “I’d order this at a restaurant!” :)