Panda Express Eggplant Tofu
photo by Kahi_Mami
- Ready In:
- 1 lb Japanese eggplant, peeled and sliced into strips 2-inches long, 1-inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick
- 1 (16 ounce) package firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1⁄4 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 2 tablespoons rice wine or 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with
- 2 tablespoons water
- Drain and cut firm tofu into cubes or triangle. Press tofu pieces between cloth kitchen towel and press out any water. Add tofu to wok or seasoned cast iron skillet and cook over medium-low heat. Press the tofu with a spatula to help remove the water. When the tofu is firm and golden flip over and cook on the other side, pressing the liquid out, until golden.
- In a medium bowl mix together the chili paste, wine, soy sauce, broth, sugar and vinegar.
- Add the dry cooked tofu to the marinade in bowl. Let sit 20-30 minutes.
- Slice eggplant diagonally, keeping at 1-inch thickness. Set aside.
- Heat oil in wok until hot. Add eggplant and deep fry until brown. Add peppers and stir fry until cooked. Add garlic and ginger, saute approximately 1 minute, be careful not o brown the garlic. Remove all vegetables from wok, drain and set aside.
- Drain marinade off tofu into the wok. Bring to a boil. Slowly stir in cornstarch to thicken. Add tofu, eggplant, peppers and green onions. Mix gently to coat with thickened sauce.
Questions & Replies
The 3 stars are more a commentary on my lack of skill and patience. I'll do it again and follow the recipe more closely. I love this dish as Panda Express makes it but it's hard to find in my area of California in the Central Valley. As a result, I've almost stopped going there. In the future I think I'll add just a tad bit more sugar, double the red bell pepper, use a little less oil. Thank you for putting it out there. You have no idea how much I've missed this dish!
I loved Pada Express' Eggplant Tofu when I lived in CA but even there it seemed like one of their less popular entrees and after nearly 10 years of living in GA, I'm yet to find it offered at a single restaurant. This recipe came very close. The picture doesn't match the recipe as it is missing the red bell pepper which, along with the purple skin of the eggplant, Chilli paste and green onion, makes for a beautiful dish. As for the flavor it was excellent. One must adhere to the direction to add the cornstarch S L O W L Y at the end; I dumped in the whole tablespoon in my first attempt and got a lumpy mess. Luckily, the marinade was easy to remix so I did it again adding the corstarch very slowly and it came out great. My only reason for giving it 4-star instead of 5 is because it doesn't quite taste like the Panda Express version but, in honesty, I did make it gluten free by changing the soy sauce to a soy sauce substitute. My family all liked it but thought I should increase the sauce level which would be simple to do as it is prepared independently of the other items before being mixed at the end.