Spicy Eggplant & Tofu with Oyster Sauce

I dropped by the Farmer’s Market yesterday and bought some vegetables and seeing the shiny purple eggplants made me think of a favorite dish that my mom makes for us. None of the restaurants I’ve been to makes it the way she does so I have to make it myself using her recipe. I have every ingredient in my pantry but to my dismay, I realized I only have silken tofu and the dish calls for firm tofu. I didn’t feel like going out to get it so I just settled for what I have on hand.

I’m telling you, laziness really gets me in trouble and this is one of those moments. Of course my tofu will never be brown now matter what I do because it is not meant for frying. Anyway, I did stubbornly fry the soft pieces for a little bit and those equally stubborn guys really stood up for themselves and refused to get even the slightest brown. As a matter of fact, they looked even whiter after the oil bath ha ha ha. I just took them out of the pan to drain while I work on the eggplant and the sauce. Ah but I got the taste right- spicy and with just a whiff of sweetness. And what makes my mom’s recipe different is fresh cilantro which she adds before serving. But although I got the taste right, the texture of the tofu remains the drawback here so I need to have the right kind the next time I am making this to give justice to the dish.

Spicy Eggplant-Tofu with Oyster Sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil
10 oz tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp garlic chili paste
pinch of sugar
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into strips
4 Asian eggplants, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
cilantro-just remove the root part and cut in two

In a bowl, mix oyster sauce, sesame oil; pinch of sugar and garlic chili paste; set aside.
Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick over medium-high heat.
Sauté tofu about 5 minutes, browning on all sides.
Remove from pan. Reduce heat to low and add remaining olive oil and garlic
Sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and eggplant.
Crank the heat to medium. Flip eggplant after 5 minutes to cook on each side.
Add oyster sauce mixture; stir well. Add tofu and cilantro to pan and mix. Serve immediately.


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