Serve these hot and crunchy balls as an appetizer or over rice noodles with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce for a quick vegetarian meal.
- 1 cup firm tofu, pat dried with paper towel to remove any extra water
- 1/2 of a medium size eggplant, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 dried red chilies
- 1 tbsp black bean sauce
- rice vermicelli to coat the balls (optional)
- 1/4 cup hot water
- vegetable oil for frying
- Preheat the oven at 350 F. Spray a baking tray with some oil.
- Place bite size eggplant on the tray and sprinkle with some salt. Using your fingertip mix the eggplant to distribute the salt evenly. Cover the tray with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes or till the eggplant turns soft. Keep aside, let cool.
- Soak the red chilies and fennel seeds in hot water for about 30 minutes. keep aside.
- In a blender pulse tofu and cooled eggplant to form a smooth-ish paste. Transfer in a big mixing bowl.
- In a mortar and pestle add the soaked red chili and fennel seeds. Add garlic and a few pinches of salt. Pound and crush with the pestle to make a paste. Keep going at it till most of the chili skin has turned into a paste. You can do this step in a blender as well.
- In a saucepan heat up a few teaspoons of oil and saute the onion till it starts turning pink.
- Add the chili paste and continue to cook for a couple of minutes or till it gets all fragrant.
- Add the onion mixture to the tofu and eggplant paste.
- Add the black bean sauce & cornstarch. Mix till everything is well incorporated.
- Taste to adjust seasoning.
- Make 2 inch balls out of the mixture and roll them in rice vermicelli. Keep aside in a plate.
- Heat vegetable oil in a wok and deep fry the balls till they turn golden brown from all sides.
- Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and rest on paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
- Serve right away with a sweet chili dipping sauce of your choice.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Category: Appetizer