A a large part of my ability to put dinner on the table, sometimes at the last minute, depending on the genius of good ready-made ingredients. Specifically, I am talking about silken tofu, tahini and crispy chilli, all of which feature in today’s recipe and which are excellent friends in the kitchen. Good-quality silken tofu is a textural pleasure that can barely hold itself together; it’s gentle, savory and soothing. It rubs well with creamy hot aubergines, and the pair of them together are very receptive to the most delicious flavors – such as ginger, soy and crispy chilli – that you can throw at them.
Aubergine and silken tofu with tahini, crispy chilli and spring onions
The oven and ready-made ingredients do a large part of the hard work here. You can buy silken tofu and crispy chilli from most large supermarkets; failing that, try a Chinese food shop or online. Serve with rice (either jasmine or glutinous) and light soy sauce on the side. You’ll need two large baking trays.
Prep 15 min
½ tsp fine sea salt
3 aubergines (900g), cut into 2½cm-thick discs
1 x 300g pack of silken tofudrained and left whole – I use Clearspring, which is the most widely available in supermarkets
2cm piece fresh gingerr, peeled and very finely chopped
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp white-wine vinegar
6 spring onionstrimmed and finely sliced
2 tbsp crispy chilli in oil – the Laoganma brand is my favorite so far
½ tbsp tahini
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 and line two oven trays with baking paper (mine’s reusable). Mix four tablespoons of oil and the salt in a small bowl, then brush the oil on both sides of the aubergine slices and arrange on the trays in a single layer. Put the tofu block on a small, nonstick oven tray, then put all the trays in the oven, bake for 20 minutes and remove the tofu tray; give the aubergine another 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown, then remove those, too.
While the tofu and aubergines are baking, make the sauce. Put six tablespoons of oil in a small pan with the ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, spring onions, crispy chilli and tahini, bring to a swift and brief boil, then take off the heat.
When the tofu is just cool enough to handle, cut it into 1cm-thick slices. Layer two slices of aubergine per slice of tofu in an alternating pattern on a lipped or high-sided platter, then anoint with the hot spring onion chilli oil and serve with rice.