Am I the only one who occasionally gets a real bad craving for tofu? (All of my meat eating friends are rolling their eyes right now and mouthing something like, “stupid,” or “bitch, please!”) Most of them don’t understand how I can be in a relationship with a vegetarian. I actually had one friend look me straight in the eye and say, “I’m sorry,” when I told them that John.e was a vegetarian. It was as if I told them he was dying by means of some tragic, terminal disease!
Vegetarianism is really not that bad! I would never be one; I love pig too much, and not in a Charlotte’s Web or Babe kind of way, but more in a slathered with barbecue sauce, piled high on a toasted bun, with creamy coleslaw, kind of way.
But tofu is good too! (Repeat to self three times.) Seriously though, once you get your head past the blandness that we believe tofu to be, like me, you’ll be experimenting with all kinds of ways to cook with it. Bonus: it is so much cheaper than meat!
- 1 package extra firm tofu, drained, dried, and cut into one-inch cubes
- 6 cups broccoli florets (about two bunches of fresh broccoli)
- 1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, julienned
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- ½ cup whole cashews
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start by pan-frying the tofu cubes in vegetable oil. On medium heat, allow the tofu to slightly crisp before turning. Turn each piece of tofu on each side to very lightly fry and brown. This is tedious, but crispy tofu is much, much better than soft, heated through tofu. Once done, remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Next, sauté the onions, peppers, carrots, garlic, and ginger. Add some salt and pepper and sauté until the onions are just cooked. Do not overlook as these ingredients will be cooked more later. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To the pan, add ¼ cup of water and bring to a slight boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook on medium high heat for exactly three minutes. Don’t forget to season with salt. Remove from pan and set aside.
- At this point, you should have a bowl of fried tofu, a bowl of peppers and onions, and a bowl of broccoli.
- With your large sauté pan on medium heat, add a little vegetable oil, the soy sauce, and the hoisin sauce. Move the pan around to mix the three ingredients together.
- Reintroduce the tofu to the pan. Carefully turning the tofu into the sauce, cook for three minutes. Add back the onions and peppers. Continue to cook for another three minutes. At this point, add the chilli flakes and the sesame seeds. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
- Add the broccoli back into the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes until the broccoli has finished cooking. For all that is sacred and holy, do not over cook the broccoli. There’s absolutely nothing worse! Well, maybe terrorism, but that’s about it!!
- You’re almost done. Toss in the cashews, toss the whole mixture together and you’re ready to eat! I would serve this with some plain cooked brown rice or just as it is!