poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

Five Spice Eggplant Tofu


Here’s a yummy and easy recipe I came up with earlier this year. It took me another 6 months to test it, and I’m happy to report that it’s a winner! The version below is vegan, but I think it’d also be mighty tasty with ground pork or sliced chicken. Just make sure you marinate the meat in some soy sauce and rice wine, then cook it separately (before the eggplant) and set it aside. Add it back in at the same point in time as the tofu below. Enjoy!

Five Spice Eggplant + Tofu


– 4 Tbsp soy sauce
– 2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
– 1 Tbsp corn starch,
– 2/3 cup water or broth
– 1-2 Tbsp hot sauce of your choice (I like chili garlic)
– 1 tsp rice vinegar
– 1/8 tsp five spice

2 Japanese eggplants (~ 1 pound total), cut in half moon slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks green onion, sliced thinly (1 stalk = 1 “bulb”)
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
3 Tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, stirring regularly.
  2. When the eggplant is more than halfway done, push it to the side of the pan. Add 1 Tbsp oil and fry garlic and 2/3 of green onions in the center of the pan for about 1 minute.
  3. Stir the sauce, making sure to dissolve the corn starch, and add to the pan. Mix thoroughly. Add water if necessary.
  4. When eggplant is ~85% done, turn down the heat to medium low. Add the tofu.
  5. Mix thoroughly for another minute, taking care not break up the tofu. Turn off the heat. Garnish with the remaining green onion.

Serves 4.


Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

4 thoughts on “Five Spice Eggplant Tofu

  1. For cornstarch: I like to dissolve it in a little cup of hot water first; it never clumps and makes incorporation a piece of cake!

    Did you try microwaving/salting/some sort of dehydration method before you cooked the eggplant? I’ve still never done much with eggplant, so I’m not sure how it behaves, but all of the Italian recipes I’ve tried have involved some sort of dehydration.

    • Our family’s tried-and-true cornstarch method is thus: mix cornstarch and a minimal amount of water in a small bowl with your fingers. Ta-dah!

      As for eggplants… for this recipe, no salting is needed, since the eggplants are fried at high heat. To get them more tender, you might need to add more oil than I did in this recipe. However, I don’t mind an al dente eggplant. For other recipes (sauteeing, roasting), I have salted (or “sweated”) the eggplant with kosher salt. It’s a must if you’re cooking Italian or globe eggplants that are enormous and have a high water content. Otherwise they will take too long to cook.

  2. Looks great! Can’t wait to try it.

  3. This looks delish! Been eating very vegetarian lately, lotsa eggplant and tofu, can’t wait to try this variation!

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