Spicy black bean tofu and eggplant is easy and flavourful plant based stirfry. Cubed tofu and eggplant are cooked up with a black bean chilli sauce along with aromatics like garlic and ginger in this easy to make meal.
One of my favourite dishes Chinese restaurant dishes has always been anything with black bean sauce. I always thought it was something that I wouldn't be able to make at home - that is, until I discovered black bean sauce at my local Asian grocery store.
I just love its salty, slightly fermented umami flavour - it brings so much depth to anything you cook with it! To make things even better (for all the spice addicts out there) you can even buy a spicy version of it - black bean chili sauce!
This recipe uses black bean chili sauce along with a couple of other specialtiy ingredients you can also find at your local Asian grocer to make an incredibly authentic tasting and restaurant quality dish at home.
Other than the black bean chilli sauce, this recipe calls for Chinese black vinegar and Szechuan peppercorns. If you have had szechuan peppercorns before you are familiar with their strange yet interesting taste. James really loves them, but I find them a little bit soapy tasting if there is too many of them in the dish, so if you haven't had them before, I suggest starting with a small amount to see what your tastebuds think of them. A little truly does go a LONG way, so don't over do it!
As for the Chinese black vinegar, it's an aged vinegar with a malty, woody flavour. If you can't find it, you can substitute with malt vinegar. It won't have all the flavour qualities of the Chinese black vinegar, but it's the closest thing to it.
Why you are going love this!
- it's an easy plant based stir fry that comes together in minutes making it perfect for a meatless meal on busy nights
- it's a restaurant worthy meal made easily at home!
- while some of the ingredients might be new and you'll have to seek them out, they are pantry ingredients making this an easy recipe to make whenever the mood strikes
How to make spicy black bean tofu and eggplant
Like with any stirfry, things move fast once you start cooking so make sure you have your ingredients chopped and ready to go and your sauce all measured, mixed and ready to go.
To make the sauce:
Begin by measuring out your Szechuan peppercorns and grinding them up in a mortar and pestle. Put the ground peppercorns into a bowl and then add the black bean chilli paste, garlic, ginger, Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce and water and then give it all a good mix.
To make the stir-fry:
Heat a large wok over high heat and add the seame oil. When the oil is heated, add the tofu to the pan and stir fry it for 3-5 minutes or until it just begins to brown.
When the tofu has browned a bit, and the eggplant and stir fry for another couple of minutes until the eggplant begins to soften (5-8 minutes) then add the sauce mixture to the wok and stir to coat everything.
Allow the tofu and eggplant to cook in the sauce for another couple of minutes then take off the heat and prepare to serve.
What to serve with spicy black bean tofu and eggplant
I like this stir fry just how it is, but it also goes great with a few different sides.
- soba noodles
- cauliflower rice
Tips and Tricks for spicy black bean tofu and eggplant
- This recipe is really flexible when it comes to the vegetable. If you don't love it the way that I do, easily swap it out for a vegetable of your choice
- If you aren't familiar with Szechuan peppercorns, start with the ¼ teaspoon. you can increase it next time you make the recipe if you don't find the taste of them overwhelming.
- Can't find Asian eggplant?? Standard eggplant works too - just make sure to cut it into bite sized pieces
Dietary Considerations and Accommodations
This recipe for spicy black bean tofu and eggplant is suitable for the following diets:
- vegan and vegetarian
- clean eating
- gluten free & dairy free
- low carb and keto friendly
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Spicy black bean tofu and eggplant
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- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 14 oz extra firm tofu (cut into bite sized cubes)
- 3 large Asian eggplant (sliced and halved)
- 3 green onion (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
For the spicy black bean sauce
- 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns (lightly roasted in a dry skillet then crushed with a mortar and pestle)
- 1 Tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (Substitute with malt vinegar)
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 3 Tablespoon Black bean chili sauce (guizhou)
- 1⁄2-1 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- In a medium sized bowl add the black bean chili sauce, black vinegar, tamari, ginger, garlic, water and ground Szechuan peppercorns to make the spicy black bean sauce
- Heat a large wok over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of sesame oil.
- When the oil is heated, add the tofu to the pan and stir fry for 3-5 minutes, or until the outside of the tofu begins to crisp a bit.
- Add the eggplant to the wok and continue to stirfry another 5-8 minutes. The eggplant should have softened, but not be fully cooked.
- Add the spicy black bean sauce and the chopped green onions to the wok and toss to coat.
- Stirfry for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce cooks in to the eggplant and tofu then serve.