Braised Tofu with Eggplant and Shiitakes

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Braised Tofu with Eggplant and ShiitakesA more-or-less traditional Sichuan preparation, with creamy soft-cooked eggplant and crispy sautéed shiitakes. Substitute green beans for the eggplant if you like.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • Total Time: 40 Minutes


  • 4 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake caps (reserve stems for stock or discard)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1½ pounds eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon Chile Paste (page 664), or to taste (optional)
  • ½ cup vegetable stock (pages 97–100) or water, or more if necessary
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 pound tofu, prepared by any of the methods on page 483 or blotted
  • dry, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil for garnish (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (see page 299) for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions for garnish (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the shiitakes and some salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and, a few seconds later, the garlic and ginger if you’re using it. As soon as the oil sizzles, add the eggplant. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the eggplant browns, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chile paste, if you’re using it. Add the stock and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan if necessary to release any browned bits of eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is very tender, 10 to 15 minutes more, adding a little more liquid if necessary (unlikely, but possible).
  4. Stir in the soy sauce and tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved shiitakes and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with sesame oil, cilantro, sesame seeds, and scallions, as you like, and serve.
  5. BRAISED TOFU SKINS WITH EGGPLANT AND SHIITAKES Replace the tofu with 8 ounces dried tofu skins: To prepare them for cooking, soak in water until soft, about 30 minutes, then roll the sheets together on a cutting board and slice crosswise to make thin noodle strips.

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