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Laura Hunt

Cooking for Couples

Slow-Braised Eggplant with Smoked Tofu

For couples with no cooking experience and for those who enjoy cooking - find out how much fun it is to create a meal together.
The following recipe was contributed by Larry Piaskowy, Chef de Cuisine, Blue Heron Catering.

My girlfriend - the president of the eggplant-lovers club - absolutely loves this wonderful, easy-to-prepare vegetarian entr├ęe. As the eggplant bakes, it absorbs the miso sauce and its flavor deepens and become richer.

It has the classic smoky, sweet and sour combination of flavors often found in Pan Pacific cuisine. As with many of Asian dishes, there is lots of chopping work to be done - it’s perfect for a couple to do together.

Serves 6 as a main course.


6 Japanese eggplant
7 oz. smoked tofu
1 yellow onion
3 carrots
1 green bell pepper
1 Tbl. finely chopped ginger
┬Ż jalape├▒o chili
2 cloves garlic
Peanut or canola oil
2 Tbl. yellow miso paste
1 cup water
3 Tbl. sugar
3 Tbl. soy sauce
1 Tbl. fresh lime juice
Asian fish sauce to taste

Chef One:
Cut the eggplant crosswise on the diagonal ┬ż-inch thick.
Cut the tofu into 3-inch by ┬Ż inch batonettes. Cut the onion in half and then slice in thick half moons.
Cut the carrots in half lengthwise, then slice on the diagonal into ┬Ż-inch slices.

Chef Two:
Core and remove the seed from the bell pepper cut in half crosswise then slice into ┬ż -inch wide batonettes.
Peel and finely mince fresh ginger.
Remove the stem and seeds from the jalape├▒o and finely mince.
Finely mince the garlic.

Chef One:
Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl except for the fish sauce.
Mix until the miso blends into the remaining ingredients.

Chef Two:
Put the oil in a large saut├ę pan or wok and heat until just before smoking.
Brown the eggplant lightly.
Set aside.
Stir fry the onion, carrots, bell peppers, ginger, jalape├▒o and garlic until soft but not brown.

Combine all of the ingredients, including the tofu, and the sauce into the wok, bring to heat and then transfer to a baking dish and cook in the oven until everything is soft, hot and blended, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy over steamed jasmine rice. You might pair this dish with a glass of light Alsatian Riesling or a Merlot with low tannins.

Cook’s notes:

Be sure to wash your hands, knife and cutting board well after working with the jalape├▒o pepper.

Either Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce will work. It has a strong taste so start by putting in a little and increase to taste.

Bon Appetit!

The president of the eggplant-lovers club

More Cooking for Couples

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