Sichuan Tofu and Eggplant

Inspired by Mark Bittman's recipe in "How to Cook Everything."

Source: Jim Weber

Ingredients

1 package
extra firm tofu
4 tablespoons
neutral oil plus a few drops of sesame oil
2
large fistfulls shiitake mushrooms
3 cloves
garlic, chopped and finely minced
1
thumb ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2
medium eggplants
1 tablespoon
chili paste (check to make sure it's sugar-free)
3 tablespoons
soy sauce or coconut aminos

Instructions

Prepare the tofu:Slice the tofu into four 1/2 inch slabs. Place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel. Cover with more paper towels. Press flat with another cookie sheet to drain well. In a large bowl, mix the chili paste and soy sauce. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss into a bowl with chili and soy sauce. Set aside.Prepare the eggplant: Grate and crush ginger and garlic. Wash and cut the eggplant (with skin) into 1/2 -1 inch cubes. Discard the stem. Crisp the mushrooms: heat half oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Remove stems and chop into small disks. Start cooking the stems. Slice the caps into 1/4 inch slices. Add to pan once the stems have softened. Cook until crispy, 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cook the eggplant: Add the remaining oil to the same pan. Add the garlic and ginger, saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft -- about 20 minutes. Add a little water when necessary to de-glaze the pan. Finish: Stir in the tofu. Cook 3-5 minutes until warm. Taste for salt and heat. Add soy and chili paste as needed. Serve topped with crispy mushrooms.