Eggplants have an earthy, nutty flavor that goes well with many dishes, including curries, stews, braises, and salads.
They’re also great at adding moisture and texture to soups.
In recent years, they’ve been used as a substitute for meat in vegetarian cooking — especially when it comes to Chinese cuisine.
Eggplant has long been known as “the poor man’s meat,” so its versatility makes it ideal for vegetarians who want something meatlike but without all the saturated fat or cholesterol.
But if you’re looking for another way to enjoy eggplant besides being fried, mashed, boiled, sauteed, grilled, roasted, stewed, baked, stuffed, or even pickled, then eggplant tofu might be right up your alley!
What Is Eggplant Tofu?
The word “tofu” refers to any type of soybean product, whether made from fermented soybeans (tofu), fresh soybeans pressed into blocks (soymilk), or ground soybeans mixed with water (miso).
But what about tofu made out of eggplant instead of soybeans?
That’s called eggplant tofu, which can be served on its own or combined with other vegetables as part of a dish like stir-fry.
It doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? Not really.
But the combination of flavors in eggplant tofu isn’t too bad either.
Its mild taste works perfectly with a variety of sauces, such as peanut sauce, sweet chili sauce, hoisin sauce, and more.
Eggplant tofu can be flavored and colored using whatever spices and herbs you prefer.
You could add basil, cilantro, ginger, garlic, scallions, sesame oil, and/or chile peppers to make it spicy, and use turmeric, green onions, or lemongrass to give it some color.
It also tastes good marinated in olive oil or vinegar.
The only thing left to do is cook it.
And once you try it, you won’t need anything else to get excited about!
What Are The Ingredients In Eggplant Tofu?
The base of most eggplant tofu recipes is tofu, which is made from soybeans.
The tofu can come pre-made in several different varieties like silken, soft, firm, extra firm, and super firm (or just plain old regular).
It can also be cut into cubes, strips, or slabs.
Next on the list is eggplant.
This vegetable is rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, potassium, copper, folate, magnesium, iron, and other nutrients.
It’s also very low in calories, making it a good option for those watching their weight.
Finally, there are spices, herbs, sauces, and seasonings.
These add depth of taste and variety to the dish while keeping it nutritious.
You could use any number of these — ginger, garlic, onion, lemongrass, cayenne pepper, etc.
But we recommend using two types of seasoning: one that adds sweet richness, such as brown sugar or maple syrup, and one that adds smokiness, such as chili paste or sriracha.
To get more specific about what goes into each part of the dish, keep reading below!
How Do You Make Eggplant Tofu?
To make eggplant tofu, first prepare the eggplant by slicing it into 1/4 inch thick slices (you can use a mandoline slicer).
Then pour some oil onto a hot skillet and add the eggplant.
Sauté them until they become golden brown on both sides.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Next, combine all the remaining ingredients except the soy milk in a blender.
Blend everything together until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
Add the cooked eggplant and mix everything gently.
Slowly add the soy milk while mixing continuously.
Continue blending until the mixture becomes firm enough to form small patties.
You may need to stop occasionally and scrape down the side of the container.
Once done, let the mixture sit for 15 minutes before proceeding.
Heat some oil in a pan over medium high heat.
Place the eggplant patties in the pan and cook them for about 5 – 7 minutes per side.
When ready to serve, place the patties on top of white rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.
What Is The History Of Eggplant Tofu?
The first written mention of eggplant tofu dates back to 1828, when American author Charles Dickens wrote about his visit to Japan.
In his diary, he mentions eating a dish made from eggplant, which was called kabocha (Japanese) or gobo (Chinese).
The Japanese version had a creamy consistency, while the Chinese variety was much firmer.
It wasn’t until the 20th century when eggplant tofu became more popularized by Asian restaurants and grocery stores as a health food item.
But like most foods, the concept spread throughout the world thanks to modern technology and globalization.
What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Eggplant Tofu?
If you make tofu out of soybeans, you can expect some health benefits from it, like helping lower bad LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure and helping prevent heart disease.
But what about eggplant tofu?
While it doesn’t contain any of these things, it does provide several other nutrient benefits that may help boost your overall diet quality by providing protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and more.
The following nutrients found in eggplant tofu include:
- Vitamin A
These nutrients come from the eggplant itself, not from added ingredients.
The only thing you need to add is seasoning, such as salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, etc., which will give your dish just enough kick while still remaining mild.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Eating Eggplant Tofu?
If you’re thinking about trying eggplant tofu out on your own, here is what you need to know before you start experimenting:
- You should always wash fresh vegetables thoroughly before using them in recipes.
- The eggplant tofu should only be made by experienced cooks.
- It’s important not to overcook your eggplant tofu (or anything else).
- For best results, use Japanese eggplant instead of regular ones. This variety has thinner skin which will give you more space to cut tofu from the vegetable.
- Make sure to remove the stem on each piece of eggplant before cutting it into cubes.
- Always cook your eggplant tofu until the inside is completely firm.
Can eggplant tofu spoil?
Yes, it can, but the chances are slim.
The biggest risk is bacteria that could grow in the cut surfaces of the eggplant tofu pieces.
It’s possible that some people may get sick after eating this dish because of bacteria present in their food preparation environment, like dirty kitchen utensils.
Also, the water content in raw eggs can cause salmonella poisoning, so make sure that all ingredients, including the tofu itself, are cooked properly before consumption.
If you’re making a batch of eggplant tofu for yourself or others, you’ll probably store leftovers in the refrigerator, where temperatures are lower than those found in other parts of the house.
How Can I Incorporate Eggplant Tofu Into My Diet?
Eggplant tofu is made by blending cooked eggplant with soybeans, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, salt, sugar, and water until smooth.
It can then be pressed into blocks or sheets before drying.
The result is firm, chewy, textured, and slightly sweet.
There are several different varieties of eggplant tofu on the market, each with its own unique properties.
Some are more tender than others, while others have a stronger flavor.
If you prefer milder flavors, try using white eggplant, which doesn’t develop much of a taste during cooking.
You can buy both fresh and frozen eggplant tofu, though the latter tends to be less expensive.
Fresh eggplant tofu will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
If you don’t like the idea of eating eggplant tofu straight out of the package, you can make it last longer by freezing it first (though you may need to thaw it overnight).
Simply place one half-slice per serving onto a microwaveable plate and cover them with plastic wrap.
Microwave them for five minutes, flip them over, and repeat twice more for a total of 10 minutes.
Remove from the microwave and let cool completely before consuming.
What Are Some Creative Ways To Use Eggplant Tofu?
Tofu is made from soybeans, which means it contains no animal protein (unless you count insects).
If you don’t like the idea of eating raw beans, there are other types of vegan meats available on the market that mimic the taste and consistency of real meat.
These products come in different flavors, textures, and consistencies, making them perfect substitutes for those who do not eat eggs or dairy.
One such product is called “textured vegetable protein,” or TVP.
It’s often found in vegetarian versions of ground beef and chicken nuggets, and is similar to soy flour because it’s made from soybean pulp.
Like tofu, it’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates, so it works well in any dish where you need a boost of protein, such as chili con carne or spaghetti Bolognese.
Another alternative is tempeh, which is made by fermenting whole soybeans until they reach their full size.
Tempeh provides a lot more nutrients than tofu, including iron, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber.
It’s also higher in protein than most plant proteins and much less dense than regular tofu, meaning it won’t weigh down whatever you add it to.
If you prefer using eggplant tofu instead of one of these alternatives, try incorporating it into Asian dishes, like pad thai or lo mein.
You can also serve it alongside steamed vegetables, pasta, rice, noodles, or potatoes.
Or pair it with a hearty salad topped with crunchy veggies and fresh herbs.
What Are Some Popular Eggplant Tofu Recipes?
There are plenty of different ways to make eggplant tofu, from simple stir-fry dishes to more elaborate noodle based creations.
Here are just a few examples:
- Mushroom and Eggplant Stir Fry (Vegan)
- Eggplant and Peanut Sauce Fried Rice (Vegetarian/Vegan)
- Easy Vegetable Ramen Noodles (Japanese)
- Crispy Shrimp and Scallion Eggplant Fritters (Asian)
The possibilities really are endless, but there’s one thing we know for sure: eggplant tofu is pretty good!
We’ll take a look at how to prepare eggplant tofu next…
Where Can I Find More Information About Eggplant Tofu?
If you’d like to learn more about eggplant tofu, the internet is full of resources.
Here are just a few of them, which we hope will help get you started on your journey towards making eggplant tofu.
- The Tofurky website offers lots of helpful tips for preparing eggplant tofu, including how to choose fresh eggplants and what to do once you cut them open.
- Vegetarian Times magazine has a whole section dedicated to tofu made from vegetables other than soybeans, including eggplant.
- For more ideas, check out these vegan eggplant recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, appetizers, sides, desserts, drinks, and more.
- And don’t forget that there are plenty of ways to use tofu beyond simply frying it in oil. Try baking it instead of pan-frying it—it turns into crispy golden brown goodness. You can also make it into a pizza crust by spreading it onto a baking sheet, covering it with tomato sauce, and broiling until hot and bubbly.
- 400 g eggplants
- 300 g firm tofu
- 1 tbsp chopped spring onion
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 2 dried chilies
- Toasted white sesame
- Vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp chili bean paste
- 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorn
- 1.5 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- Large, two-inch-long sticks made from the eggplant.
- Mix thoroughly after adding salt and vinegar to the eggplant chunks.
- Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on paper towels after ten minutes to absorb any remaining liquid.
- Large strips of eggplant should be cut, then they should be seeped-fried for two minutes over medium heat. In order to steam the eggplant, please refer to the text.
- Tofu should be cut into 1-inch pieces before being deep-fried in oil over a medium-high heat until golden brown. Place aside.
- In a tiny bowl, combine the seasonings
- The wok is heated with oil. Garlic, ginger, dried chiles, and the white part of the spring onion should all be stir-fried until fragrant.
- Wait until it returns to a boil before adding the sauce.
- Bring the tofu and eggplant cubes back to the wok.
- Stir-fry for 30 seconds over medium heat.
- To serve, scatter some spring onions.