I’ve Had Enough. Enough Depressing, Sad-looking Brown Eggp

Thumbnail | Link

I’ve had enough. Enough depressing, sad-looking brown eggplants sitting in my plates. After months of trial, I’ve finally come up with it: the most vibrantly purple eggplants. The secret? A whole lotta purple food coloring.👌🏼

Okay, jokes aside, you can master perfect eggplants with a few simple steps and a pair of agile hands. Once you’ve done it, someone might even accuse you of using food coloring (method below). Here I prepared the eggplants in a vegan version of the Chinese classic — Sichuan Braised Eggplants (素魚香茄子). The dish elicits warmth and luxury, and is marked by the trifecta of sweet, salty, and spicy. Quite the epitome of Sichuan flavors and texture.
(full recipe link in my bio)

2 medium-sized Chinese eggplants
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon distilled vinegar

For Braising
1/8 cup textured vegetable protein (substitute: 50 g crumbled tofu)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
4 dried chilis, deseeded & thinly sliced
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons doubanjiang (spicy broad bean paste)
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup room temperature water
1 tablespoon chili oil

Thickening Agent
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Prepare the TVP. Soak the TVP in warm water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain the water and squeeze out excess liquid from the re-hydrated TVP.

Prepare the Eggplants. Slice the eggplants diagonally, turning the eggplant 180 degrees after each slice. Quickly place all the eggplants in a bowl and add cornstarch, salt, and distilled vinegar. Toss to combine, making sure that each slice of eggplant is well-coated. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, pour out any liquid that has gathered at the bottom of the bowl.

(additional instructions in the comments, ran out of space)