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PANDA EXPRESS SPICY EGGPLANT & TOFU


Remember this Panda Express favorite? It looks like there are a lot of ingredients but most are just for the sauce/marinade so don't be intimidated, it's so worth it. The recipe calls for vegan oyster sauce, which is just vegetarian stir-fry sauce, but if you don't have that option, use additional soy sauce. No Asian eggplant? Use regular eggplant. No rules, just yum.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb Asian eggplant, 3/4" x 2" slices

15 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 red pepper, cut into chunks

1 white onion, cut into chunks

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, grated

2 green onions, cut in 2" pieces

1 Tbsp cornstarch

(Marinade/Stirfry Sauce)

2 tsp sambal oelek

1/8 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar/mirin/dry sherry

1 Tbsp soy sauce/tamari

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp vegan oyster sauce (optional)

1/2 cup vegetable broth (chicken flavored)

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp white vinegar

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare rice according to package directions. In medium bowl, prepare marinade/stirfry sauce by mixing sambal oelek, red pepper flakes, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, vegan oyster sauce, broth, sugar and white vinegar. Set aside.


2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook tofu until golden brown, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side. Press tofu with large spatula to "dry fry" to remove remaining liquid. Remove from skillet and add to the marinade. Let sit 20-30 min.


3. Return skillet to medium high heat (with additional oil if needed). Add eggplant and fry until browned approximately 4 minutes. Remove from skillet. Add onions and peppers, stirfry approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and continue to saute for 1 minute. Return eggplant and push vegetables to sides of skillet.


4. Pour marinade/stirfry sauce and tofu into skillet, along with the green onions pushing tofu and onions to the sides of skillet with vegetables. Bring marinade to a boil. Combine cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into skillet until thickened. Mix gently to coat with thickened sauce.


5. Serve over rice.



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