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Spicy Chinese Eggplant and Tofu

This Spicy Chinese Eggplant and Tofu is pan seared with a crisp and FULL of spicy, savory, and comforting flavors. Throw on top of a hearty bowl of rice or quinoa for a delicious plant-based meal!
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Chinese, eggplant, plant-based, Szechuan, tofu, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings


  • 3 Japanese eggplant
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour
  • 1 block firm tofu (14 oz)
  • 3.5 tbsp avocado oil divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, sliced
  • 4 green onions
  • toasted cashews (optional)

For the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour for the slurry
  • 2 tsp water for the slurry


  • Remove moisture from the eggplant: chop eggplant in ~1 inch slices (I like to cut diagonally). Lay flat on a baking sheet, and sprinkle salt on both sides. Let the eggplant and salt sit for 1 hour. Pat dry after an hour.
  • Remove moisture from the tofu: chop into cubes, lay flat on paper towels for 1 hour. Pat dry.
  • With your dried eggplant, toss in tapioca flour. (I find using your hands is the easiest way to get consistent coverage)
  • Create the slurry: Mix the tapioca flour briskly with water to create a slurry.
  • Combine the sauce: mix soy sauce, coconut sugar, sesame oil, and red pepper together. Add the slurry and mix well to combine.
  • Heat a stir fry pan with 2 tbsp avocado oil. Once the oil starts to smoke, it's time to fry the eggplant. Spread the eggplant flat in the pan, and don't move it! When it starts to brown (after 2-3 minutes), flip to the other side and allow to brown for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan. (I typically do this in 2 rounds using 1 tbsp per round)
  • Heat the pan with 1 tbsp avocado oil. Once the oil starts to smoke, it's time to fry the tofu. Using the same technique as the eggplant, fry the tofu 2-3 minutes per side, until browned and crisp. Remove from pan.
  • Heat the pan again with .5 tbsp avocado oil. Stir fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  • Add eggplant and tofu back to the pan. Give your sauce a few good stirs (to make sure the tapioca is mixed well) and pour over the eggplant and tofu. Stir/flip a few times to combine well.
  • Serve with brown rice or quinoa, and top with green onions and toasted cashews!