This recipe is dedicated to my mom who is a pescatarian and LOVES Panda Express’ eggplant tofu dish. This stir fry eggplant tofu is so simple to make and I love that you know exactly what goes into your food!
Panda Express’s version is drenched in sauce. But with this eggplant tofu recipe, you have such a rich savory sauce bursting with flavor. You don’t need to flood your plate with sauce.
Each of the ingredients in this recipe has an important part to play and when they’re combined, it’s an explosion of flavor!
Promise, this recipe will not disappoint!
The Secret to Cooking Eggplant Perfectly
Eggplant can be hit or miss. I’ve had bland and boring steamed eggplant (does anyone actually like it that way?!) and soggy or mushy. I don’t blame anyone for having a hard pass on eggplant when they’re prepared this way.
With a couple of cooking hacks, you can create beautifully charred eggplant that’s deliciously smoky.
Not interested in soggy & mushy eggplant? No problem! Release some of the excess moisture by soaking the vegetable in saltwater before cooking. Then, pat dry and toss them in cornstarch. This helps them crisp up and create a wonderful sear.
Extra level of flavor? YES PLZ!
This stir fry eggplant tofu dish is so versatile, you can serve as a main entree or side dish. Either way, you’ll be licking your plate clean!
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Stir Fry Eggplant Tofu
- 2 Chinese eggplants cut into 2-inch slices
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 block extra-firm tofu pat dry & cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch divided in half
- 2 shallots finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 Thai chili thinly sliced, optional if you want it spicy
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds optional for garnish
- 1 green onion thinly sliced, optional for garnish
- In a large bowl or container, place sliced eggplant and fill with water just enough to cover them. Sprinkle in salt, stir, and let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes. You can use weight, such as a plate or lid, to ensure the eggplant stays submerged.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Pat dry the cubed tofu to remove as much moisture as possible, then toss tofu in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
Cook the Tofu & Eggplant
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, then add about a tablespoon of oil. Sear tofu in the pan until golden and crispy. Work in batches if needed to prevent overcrowding, otherwise, your tofu won't become crispy. Transfer cooked tofu onto a paper-towel lined plate. Keep the pan on medium-high heat to cook eggplant.
- Drain eggplants and pat dry. Toss the eggplant in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and coat thoroughly.
- Add about another tablespoon of oil to the pan then sear the eggplant until it has a nice char on the flesh sides. Work in batches if needed to prevent overcrowding. Remove eggplant and set aside.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add in shallots and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, ginger, and chilies, then cook until soft and fragrant.
- Add the eggplant and tofu back to the pan. Saute them with the aromatics for about a minute, then pour in the sauce. Mix well, turn off the heat, and top with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired. Serve on the side of rice or cauliflower rice. Enjoy!
- Tofu: Firm or extra-firm tofu are great for this recipe because they can hold their shape well - avoid using softer tofu. To get crispy tofu much more easily, drain as much liquid from the tofu as possible. I like to lay paper towels underneath the sliced tofu and place a weight (such as a pan or plate) on top of the tofu to drain for about 5 minutes.
- Vegetable Stock: If you don't have vegetable stock, you can substitute it with chicken stock or water, however, you'll have much more flavor using a stock over water.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and provided for informational purposes. Nutrition may vary based on product availability, methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients, etc. For the most accurate nutritional information, use your preferred nutrition calculator, actual ingredients, and quantities used for the recipe. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if more precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.