Friday, July 22, 2011

dry-pan eggplant and eggplant-tofu stir-fry

When we go to Doc Chey's, I almost always order eggplant in garlic sauce. I get it with tempeh or tofu, and I ask for it to be extra spicy. I'm obsessed with it. The eggplant is smoky and the sauce is savory and spicy, and I love every bit about the dish. I desperately need the recipe for that spicy garlic sauce, but in the meantime, I won't try to recreate it. Instead, I'll make other stir-fries with eggplant, and work on getting the textures right.

For lunch on Thursday, I made Eggplant-Tofu Stir-Fry.* That recipe includes already prepared Dry-Pan Eggplant*, so I made that first.
Mark Bittman says dry-pan cooking is a great way to prepare eggplant, because it "turns the skin into a thin, crunchy, smoky delight, and it makes the flesh creamy and tasty." Sounded perfect.

The directions for this recipe seemed clear: "put the eggplant in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning the eggplant as they blacken on each side..." and do that "...until the skin is blistered and black all over and the flesh collapses (you'll know when it happens)."
Um. I'm not sure I knew when it happened. I cooked it for about 20-25 minutes, which maybe wasn't long enough. It definitely darkened and blistered a bit, but not completely. I was cooking brown rice at the same time, and that finished and I was ready to make the stir-fry, so I may have pulled my eggplant too soon. I pulled it out a few minutes after this phote:
Once the eggplant was cool enough to handle (and really, it wasn't, I just forged through), I chopped it into largeish pieces. I fried up my tofu, then added the eggplant and a bunch of green onions. Once those were heated, I stirred in equal parts ketchup, soy sauce, and water, and lunch was ready.
The tofu texture was great, and I liked the eggplant quite a bit. Every once in a while I had a bite that had that delicious smoky flavor I wanted, but I definitely didn't dry-pan cook all the eggplant long enough to get that in every piece. The sauce was pretty average, but with a generous squirt of sriracha, I was in lunch heaven.
Again, EDW will have this for leftovers while I'm in Raleigh for a bridal shower this weekend (hi, Emmel!), so I don't have his review for you yet. I think he'll like it.

Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. "Eggplant-Tofu Stir Fry." p. 300
Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. "Dry-Pan Eggplant." p. 294-5.

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