Eggplant Teriyaki Stir-Fry with Tofu.
Vegan & GlutenFree, this healthy dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes.
I’m just here for the sauce. It’s a phrase I find myself muttering over and over again as I develop and taste new recipes. I’m fairly convinced that I could love any ingredient as long as it’s covered in the right sauce.
A quick peek inside my recipe notebooks only magnifies this obsession. I typically start with a flavor profile and then jump right into crafting the sauce. Once the sauce is perfected, the rest is just child’s play. Pick a vegetable or two, maybe a protein, and a grain. Dinner is served.
There are vegetables you love and vegetables you tolerate. Tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, I could eat you at every meal of every day and still love you. Eggplant, you’re OK, a welcome sight in the middle of summer but quickly forgotten about when the first leaves start to fall.
Until this sauce. Charred eggplant cubes in a sticky, sweet, salty teriyaki sauce and I’ve forgotten about any lukewarm feelings I’ve shared in the past. Tender eggplant with lightly fried tofu and fragrant jasmine rice, this dinner bowl is pure magic.
As much as I’d want to take all create for this combination, this meal was completely inspired by my favorite Thai take-out back in Sacramento. One that I’ve been missing ever since heading to the mid-west. So far, Missouri can do lots of things but Thai food isn’t one of them. I want to be proven wrong, begging to be proven wrong, but so far my stance is fairly accurate.
So I do what I always do in situations like this, I make my own. After consulting a dozen recipe books, it seems that homemade teriyaki sauce is swimming in lots of salt and even more sugar. Sounds delicious, but I didn’t want to completely cover the eggplant and tofu.
After testing, tasting and retesting, this is the sauce I daydreamed. I use a heavy hand of balsamic vinegar because I love the tangy, acidic nature of good vinegar and because I needed to get my Italian flair in there somewhere. Balanced by 100% pure maple syrup, fresh ginger, and miso, this sauce might not be authentic but it’s pretty darn good.
When you make this one, seek out the smaller, Japanese eggplant over the heavier Italian variety. Not only are the less bitter, but the skin is softer and caramelized beautifully when sauteed with the tofu and teriyaki.
- Teriyaki Sauce:
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 tsp. miso paste
- 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 tsp. oil of choice, divided
- Remaining Ingredients:
- 1 16 oz. package tofu, drained and pressed, sliced into 1” cubes
- 1 pound Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1” slices or cubes
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Cooked rice, for serving
- Place ingredients for Teriyaki sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until thick.
- While the sauce is cooking, heat 1 tsp. oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet. Add another tsp. oil and add the eggplant, scallions, garlic and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until soft.
- Add the tofu back in along with the teriyaki sauce. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until combined and thick.
- Serve over cooked rice. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.