Uncategorized · Vegetarian

Exploring the Alternative Protein

Eggplant and Tofu Noodle Stir Fry

Tofu does not have a good reputation amongst our circle of friends. They just do not enjoy its texture, flavor or appearance. It’s hard to even trick them into trying it! Once they see something that may even resemble a block of soybean curd, they recoil with fear and most of the time disgust. They also wonder why do non-vegetarians bother eating tofu anyways? Well, that’s a good question. A good answer is “Why not?” Tofu is easy to incorporate into millions of recipes, and it’s the blank slate that can take on any flavor. Tofu is inexpensive, and its variety of textures make it easy to appeal to whatever your tastes may be. If you treat it right, it will do you right. Then, maybe, you will become a convert like so many other folks out there.

There has only been one recipe on this site with tofu, but it was a good one. Although this recipe would work well with chicken, beef, pork or shrimp, tofu is the choice here. Almost all tofu must be pressed to squeeze out all of the moisture before using it in recipes. The more liquid you remove, the more flavor you will pick up from a marinade, sauce or glaze. It’s also much easier to brown your tofu, obtaining those crispy golden edges, when most of the water has been removed. This does not work for the softest varieties of tofus as you need that moisture to keep them soft and silky. As for the Chinese long beans, look for them in your closet Asian market. Occasionally, Indian markets will sell them as well. The beans can grow up to three feet long. Just chop them up into pieces, and you’re good to go. If you have any fear of tofu, this is one recipe to try. You just may find yourself adding it to your shopping cart on a regular basis.

Eggplant and Tofu Stir Fry – Serves 6
3/4 pound Chinese egg noodles
12 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed*
1/4 pound Chinese long beans, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 pound snow peas
2 Japanese eggplant, sliced
1/2 serrano pepper, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup water

1. Cook the noodles according to package directions, then set aside.

2. Toss the long beans, snow peas, eggplant, serrano peppers and ginger with the lime juice. Set aside.

3. Pour the oils into a large, deep frying pan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the tofu cubes and brown slightly on all sides, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the veggies, toss well and cook until the eggplant begins to soften, approximately 3-5 minutes.

4. Whisk the soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar and water together, then pour over the vegetables and tofu and combine well. Incorporate the noodles, then cook until the sauce begins to thicken slightly, approximately 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

*To remove extra moisture from your tofu, wrap it in a couple of paper towels or go the eco-friendly route and wrap in clean dish towels. Place the tofu in the middle of two study objects–two hefty cutting boards, two cookbooks, a plate and a cast-iron pot, etc. Press for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour. Halfway between pressing, you may want to change the paper towels or wring the towel dry, then rewrap. This method does not apply to silken tofu, which needs its moisture to remain smooth in recipes.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


Chrystal is in the running to present a panel discussion on food blogging at Blogging While Brown 2011. Click HERE to give her panel a ‘thumbs up’. Your support is always appreciated!

14 thoughts on “Exploring the Alternative Protein

  1. I adore tofu. There are a couple of dishes I recommend to people who don’t like tofu: mabo-tofu (Chinese ground pork and tofu dish) and Agedashi tofu (Japanese fried tofu in broth). In both of these, the tofu just melts in your mouth, and anything associated with the texture people don’t like, is lost.

  2. Tofu is something I wish I could embrace in my diet because of the health benefits. However, it can also create a hormone imbalance that I’m sensitive to, so I have to be careful about avoiding it. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this beautiful stir-fry…I just have to omit the tofu 😦

  3. Even though I’ve started eating meat again (I mean, I’m cutting the stuff up in class so … why not?) I still love tofu! Of course it’s not all created equal – nice to see this flavorful dish incorporating it.

  4. I’ve never liked the tofu I’ve cooked for myself, but I’ve had some incredible dishes at the hands of those far more talented than me. My husband still recoils when he thinks of the tofu coated with yeast that his parents made him eat when growing up. So I guess it could be worse.

  5. When I buy tofu I take it out of the package and press it for about a half hour and then throw it in the freezer. Later, when it is thawed, it takes on sauces and marinades even more and has a meatier texture. This recipe looks great!

  6. I admit I’m not fond of the stuff, but certain cuisines do it well. I love a good spicy eggplant and tofu or some age tofu in a Japanese restaurant. Bravo for you for trying this. I can never get it to come out right.

  7. I am actually a HUGE fan of tofu even though I am absolutely and totally non-vegetarian. This recipe sounds fantastic! I firmly maintain that it’s not that people don’t like TOFU it’s just that they’ve never had it prepared the right way!

  8. I think the bum rap that tofu often gets is totally unfair, but I can understand it. There’s a lot of tofu that is just not prepared well out there. I’m always surprised when I’m at a salad bar or something and see just plain cubes of tofu. Who would want to eat that.

    This looks fantastic though and definitely worth savoring.

  9. Okay, I’ll leave out the eggplant and add more tofu! Actually after I press the tofu, I toss it in corn starch – gets a nice slighty crispy coating, yet still tender on the inside.

    I’ll go vote! 😀

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