This Szechuan-style dish gets its heat from the chili sauce. Look for chili sauce or garlic chili sauce that has red chilies as its primary ingredient. Try to find the kind with the seeds intact, not the smoother type. Then adjust the amount to your desired level of spiciness.

1 pound extra-firm tofu (not silken)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
4 small eggplants, about 1-1/2 pounds total, peeled and sliced into strips 2-inches long, 1-inch wide, and 1/4-inch thick (or use one large eggplant)
1/3 cup water
6-8 garlic cloves, minced--about 2 tbsp.
1-inch peeled fresh ginger, grated
3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tbsp vegetarian hoisin sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
1/2 - 1 tsp hot chili sauce (available in Asian markets)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
sprinkling of sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Makes 4 servings


Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices and press them lightly between towels to get some of the moisture out. Combine the 3 tbsp. soy sauce with the 2 tbsp. water and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Dip each slice of tofu into the mixture and set on a plate.

Heat an oiled, non-stick skillet until hot. Place the tofu slices in the skillet and cook until browned. Turn over and brown the other sides. When the tofu is completely browned on both sides, remove it from the skillet and place it on a cutting board. Cut each slice into 8-10 cubes. Set aside.

Heat an oiled, non-stick wok and add the eggplant and 1/3 cup water. Cover and cook, stirring often, until eggplant begins to brown. Uncover and add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add all remaining ingredients except the tomato, sesame seeds, and tofu. Simmer uncovered until all the eggplant slices are completely cooked--they will be very soft and start to fall apart. Add the tofu cubes and tomato and cook until heated through. Serve over brown  rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds.