Thai Basil Eggplant

Recipe originally posted on Vegetarian Gastronomy.

Ingredients

  • 1 large Italian eggplant, or 2 medium Japanese or Chinese eggplants
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 white onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 14 oz firm tofu, block
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil, such as coconut, grapeseed, or avocado
  • basil leaves

For the sauce:

  • 4.5 tbsp hoisin sauce, see notes below for brand recommendations
  • 1/2 cup tamari, or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp chili sauce, such as Huy Fong Chili Sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Instructions:

To Prepare the Eggplant:

  1. Cut off the top and bottom tips.

  2. If you are using Italian eggplants: Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 3/4-inch slabs. Then cut each slice lengthwise into 3/4-inch slices. Cut each slice into 2 or 3 pieces diagonally (see picture above for an example of how the eggplant pieces should end up looking).

  3. If you are using Chinese or Japanese eggplants: Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Then diagonally cut small sections about 3/4-Inch thick all the way down both halves.

  4. In a large non-stick pan or stainless steel pan, heat 2 or 3 Tbsp of cooking oil on medium heat.

  5. Add the eggplant pieces and toss to coat them in oil. Add a little amount of water, turn the heat down to low-medium, cover, and let the eggplant cook.

  6. Stir the eggplant pieces every few minutes. Add a little more oil or water to help cook the eggplant and keep it from sticking to the pan if needed (if adding water to help cook the eggplant, be sure to add a small amount each time so that you don't end up with watery mushy eggplant). While the eggplant is cooking continue on to preparing the rest of the dish.

  7. The eggplant is done once it is tender but still firm so it holds shape. Turn off the heat and set aside in the pan. 

To Prepare the Tofu & Veggies:

  1. Cut the tofu block in half. Place each half in a clean paper towel one at a time and squeeze gently to remove excess storage liquid (without breaking up the tofu).

  2. Cut the tofu into 1/2-Inch cubes and pan fry on medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp cooking oil (in another non-stick frying pan).

  3. Turn the tofu frequently until all the water is burned off and the tofu is lightly golden brown on most sides (be sure not to burn the tofu). 

  4. Once the tofu is done, add it to the eggplant.

  5. In the same non-stick frying pan, add 1 tbsp cooking oil and heat on medium-high. Add the thinly sliced onions and bell peppers. Saute until they are cooked but still crispy. Add the minced garlic half way through and saute it into the onions and bell peppers.

  6. Once the veggies are done, add it to the eggplant and tofu.

To Prepare the Dish:

  1. Whisk all ingredients listed under sauce above. Mix until all the cornstarch has dissolved. Add more chili sauce if you prefer additional spice.

  2. Heat the pan containing eggplant, tofu, and veggies once more. 

  3. Once the pan is hot, add the sauce, turn down the heat to low-medium and mix frequently until the sauce slightly thickens and coats the eggplant and veggies. This should only take a few minutes.

  4. Turn off the heat and add some freshly chopped basil. Mix once more and serve hot with some cooked quinoa or brown rice!