Szechwan Eggplant and Tofu

Course : Chinese
Serves: 4
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3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry or Chinese rice -- wine
1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 medium onion -- thinly sliced
1 large eggplant -- cut into strips, thinly
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
3 medium cakes firm tofu -- cut into
8 medium scallions greens minced -- whites in strips
1 bunch cilantro minced (optional)

Preparation / Directions:

SZECHWAN EGGPLANT and TOFU SAUCE: Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, sugar in a liquid-measuring cup. Add enough water to make up to 1 cup. Place cornstarch in a small bowl, pour in the liquid, pour on the liquid and whisk till dissolved. Set aside. Heat a large wok over a high flame. Add oil and onion and stir fry for about a minute. Add eggplant and salt and stir fry for 8 to 10 minutes till the eggplant is soft. Add garlic, ginger and black pepper and cayenne. Cook a few minutes more. Add tofu and scallion bottoms. Stir the bowl of liquid that has been set aside and add to the wok. Mix well and stir fry for another few minutes till the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and serve over rice topped with scallion greens and cilantro.

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