Chinese Braised Tofu and Eggplant with Ground Pork

Chinese Braised Tofu and Eggplant with Ground Pork

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1 block firm or extra firm tofu
1 medium Japanese eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil, separated
1/2 lb ground pork, beef, turkey or chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cool water
1 (generous) tsp cornstarch
kosher salt
2 scallion2, green and white parts, thinly sliced on the bias
1/2 tsp sesame oil


Drain the tofu and place on towels or paper towels.  To get rid excess water in the tofu, place another towel on top of the tofu, then place something flat and heavy (like a cutting board or a cast iron frying pan) on top.  You can weigh the cutting board down by putting a couple of cans of soup on top.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Cut the tofu into several slices 3/4" thick. Season on both sides with s&p. 

Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat.  When hot, swirl in the cooking oil. Very carefully add the tofu slices in one layer.  Fry for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is nicely golden-brown, then flip to fry the other side for 1-2 minutes or until both sides are golden-brown.  Remove the seared tofu to a clean plate.  Set aside.  Add 1-2 tbsp oil (depending on how dry the pan is when you take out the tofu).  Once the oil is hot, add the eggplant cubes and stir-fry until it begins to turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Add eggplant to the plate with the tofu.

To the same wok, add in the ground meat. Saute until browned, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and the ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds.

Add in the chicken broth, oyster sauce and soy sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and the cornstarch.  In the wok, stir in the water and cornstarch mixture and bring everything to a simmer.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Let simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened.  Add eggplant and simmer for 5 minutes.  Return the tofu to the pan and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in scallions and sesame oil (if desired).

Serve with rice.