Eggplant Mirza (serves 4)
1-1/2 pounds eggplant (I use 3 baby eggplants, see the note at the end if you use one large one)
2 plum tomatoes, cored, dropped into boiling water for 3 minutes, then rinsed in cold water, skins peeled off, and the flesh coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
About 1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika (or more to taste)
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
4-6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1 large egg
Prick the eggplants in several places with a fork and roast them on a baking sheet in a 400-degree F oven for 40 minutes to an hour, until they are quite soft and nearly collapsed. You can also cook the pricked eggplants on high power in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate for 10-14 minutes, depending on the power of your oven. Let the eggplants cool until you can handle them.
Cut off the tops of the eggplants, then split them in half lengthwise and scrape out the flesh with a spoon. You want to get as much of the flesh off the skin as you can, then roughly chop the flesh and set it aside.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet until shimmering hot. Add the garlic and stir, preferably with a heatproof spatula, for 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant. Add the turmeric and cook for a few more seconds. Then add the eggplant, tomato, cinnamon, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, stir well, and cook over medium heat until the mixture is nearly dry, about 10 minutes. Clear a space in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste, cook it for about a minute to toast it – it should get dry and look like it’s starting to stick to the pan. Then stir it into the rest of the mixture. Gently stir in the tofu, then clear a space in the center of the pan again and turn off the heat. Crack the egg and drop it in the clear spot, use the spatula to scramble the egg and keep stirring until it’s about half-cooked. Then stir the egg into the other ingredients. Taste for salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Note: If you’re using a large eggplant you may want to salt it to make sure it’s not bitter. Cut off the top and cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the flesh with a knife without cutting through the skin. Salt the cut surfaces and let them rest cut-side down in a colander for an hour to drain. Rinse the eggplants and dry them with paper towels, then roast the halves cut-side up in the 400-degree F oven until soft.