Sunday, 24 July 2016

Braised eggplant and tofu

Eggplant (aka aubergine) does not appear often in our kitchen.  So I was very pleased with myself when I recently made a braised eggplant and tofu dish for dinner.  I asked E what he thought.  "Passable."  So I asked what he didn't like about it.  "The fact that it was eggplant and tasted like eggplant".  Oh!  Well, I told him, that is what I will be serving tomorrow night unless you feel like eating a raw potato!

Indeed it is a challenge to make eggplant dishes in our house.  Though to be fair, E did eat it the next night and conceded he enjoyed the flavours.  (Better than a raw potato!)  The recipe is based on a family recipe that Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella shared which used eggplant and chicken.  I did my best to be really organised before I began and cooked the eggplant until it melted in the mouth.  I wanted to make sure there were no accusations from E about it not being cooked enough.

The finished dish looked very different from the dark saucy dish that Lorraine shared.  I had not been quite sure how to cook the tofu.  So I crumbled firm tofu.  However I always have problems with frying tofu tossed in cornflour.  It just sticks to the pan.  So I decided not to bother much with it.  Later I wondered how the dish would be if I had fried cubes of tofu without bothering about the cornflour and then added to the braising. 

The way I cooked the tofu, it ended up as soft as the eggplant.  Not a bad thing.  It was a very soft comforting dish with lots of seasoning and a slight heat from the ginger and chilli.  I am not sure that E would encourage me to make it again.  I would like to try it again with the tofu fried crispy and to try coconut sugar instead of white sugar.  It is a really lovely dish that I could see working well in a Chinese buffet.

I am sending this dish to Kimmy and Mary Ellen for Healthy Vegan Fridays, Cindy for Gluten Free Fridays, Jac for Meat Free Mondays,

More eggplant recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Baked eggplants with cashews
Chocolate peanut butter fudgies (v)
Macedonian eggplant salad (gf, v)
Stargazy pie (v)
Vegetarian cassoulet

More eggplant recipes elsewhere online:
Eggplant patties - Vegan Eat Yummy Food Too
Maggie's burnished eggplant and leek tart - Where's the Beef
Mary Berry's eggplant wrapped nut roast - Good To Know
Szechzan spicy garlic eggplant and string bean stirfry - Eats Well With Others
Vegan eggplant crunch burger - One Green Planet

Braised eggplant and tofu
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella
serves 4

Oil for frying
300g very firm tofu
2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 medium eggplant (aubergine) sliced about 1cm thick
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium red capsicums (peppers)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tsp dried ginger (or 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated)
1/2 tsp chilli paste
1.5 to 2 cups water

3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tamari
Dash of white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Prepare everything before you start:
  • crumble tofu into a bowl and mix with cornflour, salt and sugar.
  • mix sauce ingredient in a small bowl
  • chop onion, red pepper and garlic
  • slice the eggplant

To make the dish:
  • fry eggplant in 2 tablespoons of oil until soft (but not necessarily browned) and set aside
  • fry onion, red capsicums and garlic in the same saucepan (I used my largest saucepan/stockpot until softened
  • add sauce, tofu, eggplant (I chopped mine up a bit) and a good splash of water
  • cook (or braise) over a medium to high heat stirring regularly and adding more water once water absorbed (in about 3 to 4 lots of water)
  • it is ready to serve when water mostly absorbed and eggplant soft and falling apart at the touch of a spoon

On the Stereo:
Best of John Denver


  1. Ha, I have eggplant haters in my family, too. I often just cook it down a lot, for example in curries. Combining it with tofu sounds like a great idea and I would probably also try to get the tofu as crisp as possible. The way you cooked it it sounds like this would work well for a tofu scramble, too.

    1. Thanks Mihl - this dish is a bit like a tofu scramble now you mention it - and I think silky soft eggplant would be lovely in any tofu scramble

  2. This sounds quite good. I don't mind a bit of eggplant.

  3. I laughed so hard at your opening paragraph - Mr Bite is exactly the same and to get 'passable' for an eggplant dish would count as a win. I like the sound of this so perhaps we need a meal where our husbands dine elsewhere and we appreciate the vegetable!

    1. Thanks Kari - I though I had done quite well with the eggplant and was quite surprised by the passable but I should have set my standards lower! An eggplant lover dinner would be fun while the eggplant haters go elsewhere

  4. This sounds so good! I always have problems with frying tofu tossed in cornflour as well. Mine always sticks to the pan. I'm not sure how other people get it not to stick!

    As soon as the weather gets cooler here I'm going make this! It looks so comforting!

    1. I also meant to tell you you're being featured this week on Healthy Vegan Fridays! Thanks so much for joining up! :)

    2. Thanks Mary Ellen - nice to know it is not just me with the tofu sticking - all I can think is that it might work in a really good non stick saucepan (though then again I read recently that non stick saucepans don't make food crispy) Thanks for featuring the dish

  5. You have indeed amused me with this post and so has E with his reaction. Fortunately for us, we have both come to like aubergines, so it make a appearance in our kitchen. By the way the first photograph is stunning, i have given up sharing pics with Foodgawker, I just don't seem to tick there criteria.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - thanks for your feedback on the photo - I do despair of foodgawker but reassuring to know others also feel the same

  6. I love aubergines! I should be in some sort of aubergine cheerleading squad. Next time you're having difficulties persuading people of the joys of aubergine, I'll come round and bang the drum (and eat some of this aubo and tofu deliciousness!)

    1. Thanks Joey - we definitely need an aubergine cheerleading squad - you will definitely get a big bowl of this dish when you lead the squad!

  7. I face similar challenges with eggplants in my household, my partner isn't very fond of them and I only like the properly cooked ones like here. I should cook more eggplant dishes, as this is quite an interesting combo!

    1. Thanks VegHog - seems there are a lot of eggplant haters out there - I need to push myself to cook them more too

  8. Hehe well I'm glad that you liked it even if E didn't (well it sounded like he did but didn't?). Subbing ingredients and changing recipes will make it look very different from the original though! Tofu is like a sponge so it soaks up liquids so that's why yours looks so different.

    1. Thanks Lorraine - sometimes a meat dish really appeals and I have to try a veg version but you are right that it is never the same as the original - hope it would not horrify your mum to know I used tofu!

  9. I love aubergine..... although Miss GF is NOT a fan! I think they are pretty versatile, but definitely seem to be a bit 'marmite' : people either love them or hate them! I'd happily eat this if you served it up 2 nights in a row!!!

    1. Thanks Kate - I like comparing eggplants to marmite - they really do seem to be dividing the families of so many in the comments!


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