Satisfyingly spicy and numbing, this Vegan Mapo Eggplant is perfect enjoyed over steamed rice.
Mapo Tofu is a very popular Chinese recipe originating from the Szechuan province. It’s well known for its used of fermented broad bean paste or doubanjiang and often douchi, or fermented black beans.
I actually grew up enjoying mapo tofu at home. We usually use either silken tofu or firm tofu depending o the availability. I personally prefer silken tofu cause of its really smooth texture. Though for this recipe i used eggplant (Chinese eggplants to be exact) instead of the usual tofu.
I also used TVP or textured vegetable protein instead of ground meat for this recipe.
TVP or Texturised Vegetable Protein
TVP comes dried and you can easily rehydrate them with some hot water.
USING OTHER PLANT-BASED MEAT SUBSTITUTES OR MUSHROOMS
You can also opt to use other plant-based ground meat substitutes or even diced mushrooms for this easy yet really savoury and tasty meal.
As for the spice, the secret to that numbing flavour comes from szechuan peppercorns.
The spice from these peppercorns are unlike black pepper. I purchase these whole and just process them in a food processor so I can easily keep a bottle of ground szechuan pepper.
I also added some of my chili garlic sauce for that extra spice. You can get my homemade chili garlic sauce recipe here.
Now let’s move on to the cooking process!
I basically sliced up my eggplants into small 1″ thick pieces:
I heated up a large pan/wok over medium before adding in the oil and szechuan pepper:
Afterwards, I added in the garlic, onion, and green onions:
Sautéed the garlic and onions until aromatic.
I then added in the rehydrated TVP.
Added in the seasonings:
Gave it all a good mix until well-incorporated.
Afterwards, I added in the sliced eggplants.
I then poured in the sauce mix.
Once the sauce boiled, I prepared the cornstarch slurry.
Poured in the cornstarch slurry while stirring over medium heat.
I mixed it all together until the sauce thickened from the cornstarch.
Turned off the heat and served the mayo eggplant over some rice. So good and super satisfying!
Check out the full recipe below!
You might enjoy these other Chinese recipes:
- Chinese Green Bean and Mushroom Stir-Fry
- Crispy Wontons
- Vegetable Dumplings
- Chinese Chive Pies
- Pan-Fried Cabbage and Noodle Buns
- Wontons in Chili Broth
- Scallion and Sesame Buns
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Chinese Szechuan Mapo Eggplant (Vegan)
- 1/2 cup dry TVP (texturised vegetable protein) makes 1 cup rehydrated (see notes for subs)
- 4 pieces Chinese eggplants or other eggplant (500g total)
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 tsp ground szechuan peppercorns I simply process my whole peppercorns and store ground pepper in a jar
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 onion diced
- 2 tbsp chopped scallions or green onions
- 1 tbsp shaoxing wine or other rice wine
- 1 tbsp spicy broad bean paste or doubanjiang
- 1 tbsp black bean garlic sauce or fermented black beans
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce or chili oil, optional/adjust according to desired spice, homemade recipe here
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Salt to taste, if needed
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp room. temp water
- Chopped green onions or scallions for topping
- Steamed rice
- See step-by-step photos in the post above.If using TVP, place it in a bowl and pour boiling hot water. Leave to rehydrate for 5 minutes then drain the water.
- Slice the eggplants into 1” long pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a large wok or pan over medium heat. Add in the oil. Add in the szechuan pepper.
- Add in the ginger, garlic, onion, and green onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over medium heat in the pepper and oil mix. Add in the rehydrated TVP, vegan mince, or mushrooms. Turn up the heat and add in the wine. Leave to cook for 2-3 minutes until the wine has evaporated.
- Add in the broad bean paste and black bean sauce. Mix and cook the vegan mince or mushrooms for 3-4 minutes until it’s well incorporated in the sauce.
- Add in the eggplants and pour in the water. Leave to cook over medium high heat until the eggplants cook down and are tender to your liking. Add in the chili garlic sauce, sugar, and salt (if needed). Note that you can adjust the salt and not add any if the sauce is already salty from the black beans.
- Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Carefully pour into the eggplant while stirring. Leave to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat. Garnish with some chopped green onions, if desired. Enjoy hot with some rice or noodles.
PROTEINFOR THE TVP, these can be subbed with:
- Minced mushrooms of choice (such as shiitake mushrooms or baby bella, etc).
- Other plant-based meat alternative of choice