eggplant tofu

Garlic Eggplant & Crispy Tofu

eggplant tofu

Easy and delicious stir-fried tofu and Chinese eggplant, tossed in a super flavorful garlicky sauce. The tofu takes on a crispy outer texture thanks to the cornstarch coating and pan frying. This pairs nicely with the tender Chinese eggplant, giving the dish some variety with each bite.

Key Tips – Garlic Eggplant & Crispy Tofu

Chinese eggplant are distinct from typical eggplant found in the US.

  • Chinese eggplant are long and skinny compared to standard US eggplant. When diced, this results in more pieces that have the eggplant skin in every bite. This helps the eggplant hold up a little better as it’s stir-fried, and I prefer it for this kind of dish.
  • Some American grocery stores will carry Chinese eggplant, but it’s easiest to find at Asian grocery stores in the US.
  • If desired, you can substitute regular eggplant. One large eggplant should be about equal to two medium Chinese eggplant.
Chinese Eggplant
3 large Chinese eggplants

Press your tofu to remove excess water.

  • Tofu comes soaking in water, but we want to remove as much as possible before pan-frying. Pat the tofu dry with paper towels and gently squish it to remove excess water.
  • For best results, press the tofu in a tofu press (like this one) for about 30 minutes. Or wrap the tofu block in paper towels and place on a rimmed plate, then rest a heavy object (like a cast iron pan) on top for ~30 minutes.
eggplant tofu
extra crispy tofu (1/4 cup corn starch on tofu)

Use a small mesh strainer to dust the corn starch.

  • I use a small mesh strainer to help evenly dust the eggplant and tofu pieces with corn starch. This works so much better than trying to evenly sprinkle it on top.

Check out my guide on freezing fresh garlic to save some time in the kitchen.

  • If you’re looking for the convenience of pre-minced garlic, but the flavor of fresh garlic, freezing your own minced garlic is a great option! You’ll be surprised to find that the flavor of frozen garlic is nearly as good as fresh, without the sticky prep and clean-up. Read more about it here: How to Freeze Garlic.
eggplant tofu

Dietary Restrictions – Garlic Eggplant & Crispy Tofu

This dish is naturally Dairy-Free.

This dish is naturally Gluten-free

  • Just make sure you’re using gluten-free soy sauce, some soy sauce contains wheat. Tamari soy sauce is always gluten-free.
  • Some oyster sauce contains gluten, make sure you’re using gluten free oyster sauce.

Make it Vegan/Vegetarian

  • The only non-vegan ingredient in this dish is the oyster sauce, which can easily be substituted for vegetarian oyster sauce to make the dish fully vegan.
eggplant tofu

A Note On Serving Sizes

Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. While this is listed as 4 servings, many people would prefer to have more than one serving. I typically serve this dish as 2-3 large dinner servings or 4 small lunch servings. Pictured here are two servings per bowl.

eggplant tofu

Garlic Eggplant & Crispy Tofu

Stir-fried Chinese eggplant and tofu, tossed in a simple garlicky sauce and topped with green onion.
4.63 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 230 kcal


For Sauce:


  • Press the tofu in a tofu press, or wrap in paper towels and place under a heavy object for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture. Cut the tofu into ~¾” cubes. Dust the tofu with about 2 tbsp of cornstarch and toss to fully coat. (For an extra crispy coating, use even more cornstarch on the tofu, about 1/4 cup)
    pressed tofu
  • Remove the tops from the Chinese eggplants then quarter them longwise (creating 4 long strips per eggplant). Cut the strips into ½ inch pieces to create many small chunks. Dust the eggplant with about 2 tbsp of cornstarch and toss to fully coat.
    eggplant tofu
  • Combine all of the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  • Heat a swirl of veggie oil over medium-high heat in a wok or large skillet. Add the eggplant chunks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is crispy in some places and soft all the way through, about 5-7 minutes. Try to position the eggplant so the cut sides are in contact with the pan. The eggplant will likely absorb the oil, but there’s no need to keep adding more. Once cooked, remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
    eggplant tofu
  • To the skillet, add another generous swirl of veggie oil. Once warm, add the cubed tofu pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is golden and crispy on most sides, about 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove to a plate.
    eggplant tofu
  • Add a little more oil to the skillet, once warm add the garlic and the whites of the green onion. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the sauce and mix everything together, then add the tofu and eggplant back to the skillet. Remove from heat and mix everything together. Top with the green onion greens and sesame seeds, serve immediately with white rice.
    eggplant tofu


Serving: 0.25 batchCalories: 230kcal
Keyword Eggplant, Stir-Fry, Tofu, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. 5 stars
    Hey I saw this post this morning and just made a version of it! So good, thank you! My SO loved it too. Added sliced mushrooms, green beans, and a julienned carrot as well as more ginger and garlic (and more vinegar in the sauce.) I used a non-Chinese eggplant and it came out really nice; I have never tried adding it to a stir fry before. I wonder if it would be worth it to add maybe a half tablespoon more cornstarch next time as i don’t think I achieved a full coating.

  2. 5 stars
    It turned out amazing! I’m fairly new at cooking. Tofu and eggplant scare me. I always ruin one or the other, but this came out perfect.

  3. 4 stars
    I made this about 20 minutes again. First of all, it’s SLAMMIN’!!! This was a huge hit. I followed the recipe to a T. My wife loved it. My kids loved it (3 and 7). I loved it. This is my first time using tofu. This is now in the rotation. Thank you!!

  4. 5 stars
    We made this meal last night and it was delicious! We went with using 1 normal eggplant, and used ginger powder rather than ginger paste and were really happy with the results. Super doable on a weeknight and I’m excited to try this again!

  5. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe and loved it! I made a few substitutions:
    1. I used regular eggplant
    2. I used pre-seasoned tofu
    3. I added golden flaxseed to the sauce to thicken it ( and add fiber to my diet-i do that wherever I can so that my SO and I get more fiber)

    For those in the US, it’s probably easier to find regular eggplant, unless it’s sold per number of eggplant vs by the pound; I pick smaller ones if it’s by the pound. That way the skin to eggplant is more like Chinese eggplant!

    I added sliced onions to the recipe as I love onions, and it added extra flavor, if you have the time just throw in thin sliced onions and let them cook up for a bit (5-10 minutes). If not, the recipe is great as is.

  6. 2 stars
    Really salty and the flavor is unbalanced. The stir fry instructions are also misleading as the both the eggplant and tofu stuck to the pan despite using a good amount of oil. 1.5 stars.

    It really was not good and took too much time for how it ended up. Terrible.

    • Hi Moe, I’m sorry to hear that this recipe didn’t turn out for you. Since myself and most others have not had an issue with this recipe sticking, I believe the problem may be with your pan. If you’re using a traditional wok or cast iron pan the seasoning may need to be redone. The coating on modern non-stick cookware breaks down overtime, and most need to be replaced after a few years for best results.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this!! There’s a Chinese restaurant near me that has a tofu and eggplant dish that I absolutely love, its honestly the only way I really enjoy eggplant so I wanted to figure out how to make it. Did some googling and found this recipe and its SO close to the restaurant version!! I didn’t realize these long skinny eggplants existed but I was able to find them at the Chinese grocery store. Thank you!!! So excited to be able to eat this more often!

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