I grew up not liking eggplants, and this is now one of my favourite dishes!
Braised eggplant (鱼香茄子) is a must-order for me each time I’m at a Chinese restaurant. It’s commonly cooked with minced pork, but I’ve swapped that out with some crumbled tau kwa (firm tofu) this time, and I loved it just as much!
It goes dangerously well with rice!
Fun fact: 鱼香茄子 translates to ‘fish fragrant eggplant’, but no fish sauce is used in this recipe or the original! Watch the video below to find out why…
1 large eggplant (~400g), sliced into thick matchsticks
225g firm tofu, crumbled
3 tbsp cornstarch
1" ginger, minced
3 cloves ginger, minced
2 tbsp dou ban jiang sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (optional)
1.5 tbsp rice vinegar/chin kiang vinegar
1 tsp sugar
- Prepare eggplant: eggplants are spongy, meaning they are great at absorbing the sauce they’re in, but it also means they can absorb a lot of oil and get really greasy by the time they’re fully cooked. To help with this, soak the eggplant chunks in some salted water for 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and coat evenly with 2 tbsp cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, coat the crumbled tawkwa in 1 tbsp cornstarch, and set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine all ingredients for the sauce, and set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp oil to a wok/pan and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the eggplants in a single layer, flipping from time to time, until it turns soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- In the same wok, fry the ginger, garlic and doubanjiang sauce in 1 tbsp oil until fragrant.
- Add in the crumbled tofu and fry till well coated. Then, add in the eggplant and stir to mix.
- Finally, add in the sauce and cook till well incorporated. If it’s too dry you may add some water. If you’d like more sauce, you can prepare a cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water).
- Serve with spring onions and a drizzle of sesame oil.
- I use the longer/slimmer variety of eggplants, otherwise known as the Japanese/Asian eggplant. If you can’t get these, the rounder Italian eggplants are fine too.