Ever try pairing eggplants and tofu in one dish? If not, you need to try this Indonesian fried tofu and eggplant in spicy coconut sauce. It is a bit involved since we need to fry some tofu first, but once you have that, the rest is simply dump and cook in one big frying pan.
If you have access to Asian market, especially the ones selling mostly Chinese goodies, you may find plenty of fried tofu in the frozen section. Before using fried tofu from supermarket, remember to soak the fried tofu in boiling water first to remove excess oil. For everyone else, you do need to fry your tofu first, although if you skip it and use non-fried version, the dish will still turn out okay.
Exotic Indonesian Ingredients
Depends on how familiar you are to Indonesian cuisine, some of the ingredients may sound alien to you. So, here is a list of ingredients that you can buy online from Amazon:
- Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
- kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
- palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
- candlenut (Indonesian: kemiri)
- 1 block firm tofu (14 oz./400 gram), drained well
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup oil
- 4 tablespoon oil, divided
- 1 eggplant (~1 lb./450 gram), cut into wedges
- 3 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
- 5 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
- 1 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), cut into 3 to 4 sections and bruised
- 400 ml (1 can) coconut milk
- 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable stock/water
- 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar), or to taste
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
- 5 dried red chilies
- 8-10 dried red chilies (or 4-5 fresh red fresno chilies)
- 50 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 4 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
- 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
- Once the tofu is drained, cut into 6 pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dust with all purpose flour.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry tofu until all sides are golden brown. Set aside over a strainer/wire rack to remove excess oil.
- Once the tofu is cool enough to handle, cut each into 2 triangles.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Sauté eggplant in hot oil for 2 minutes, set aside the eggplant in a platter.
- In the same frying pan, heat another 2 tablespoon oil over medium high heat, then sauté spice paste, Indonesian bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass until fragrant. About 5 minutes.
- Pour in coconut milk and vegetable stock/water, season with salt and palm sugar. Stir well.
- Once the sauce boils, add fried tofu triangles, mix well, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Return the fried eggplants to the pan, mix well, and cook for 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, add in sliced jalapeno and dried red chilies, and stir. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with steamed white rice.