Tomatoes and tofu are not ingredients that I’d ordinarily consider to be ideal partners. Because tofu is so neutral, I’d rather combine it with a rich sauce to make it pop. Lately, however, Speedy and I have been experimenting with tofu dishes and it seems that tossing tofu with tomatoes is not a bad idea at all. The trick is to use a whole lot of other ingredients, including spices and seasonings, to create a pleasing flavor and texture.
In this dish, thinly sliced pork, eggplants, tofu and chunky tomato sauce (homemade, of course) were tossed together to come up with a hearty meal that is, at the same time, not too heavy on the meat. The idea was borne in an attempt to make good use of tomato sauce left over from a pasta dish.
- 150 grams pork (neck, tenderloin or butt will all work)
- 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
- black pepper
- 1 generous pinch sugar
- 1 300-gram cake firm tofu
- 2 eggplants (the long Asian variety which are sweeter)
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable cooking oil
- finely sliced scallions to garnish
Cut the pork into thin, thin slices — less than a quarter of an inch thick if you can manage it. Season with fish sauce, pepper and a bit of sugar. Set aside.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Cut the tofu into about 1 and 1/2 inch squares.
Split the eggplants into halves vertically then cut into 3/4 inch slices.
Chop the shallots and garlic.
When the oil is hot, fry the tofu until golden (see tips for frying tofu). Dump into a colander and set aside.
Reheat the oil and flash fry the eggplants for about a minute. Scoop out and drain on a stack of paper towels.
Pour off the oil until only about a tablespoonful remains.
Saute the shallots and garlic until fragrant. Add the pork slices and stir fry until the edges start to brown (thin slices of meat take a very short time to cook).
Return the tofu and eggplants to the wok or frying pan. Pour in the tomato sauce. Toss and cook until everything is heated through.
Turn off the heat. Taste and add more seasonings (fish sauce, sugar or pepper, or all of them), if needed.
Sprinkle with scallions. Serve hot with rice.