It’s time to take another look at tofu.
I’m sure before switching over to a vegan diet, tofu made up a very small part of my overall diet. I probably ate deep-fried tofu in Chinese takeout. In that case, though, I didn’t really think of it as tofu. I just thought of it as an unidentified crispy, yummy thing I covered in a delicious sweet and sour sauce. Some people overlook tofu as something only vegans and vegetarians eat. Some view it as a threat to masculinity and refuse to touch it or even talk about it. Silly people.
Since my diet switch, I LOVE tofu! I love the texture. I love the way it takes on the flavors of different recipes. I love it baked, stir-fried and scrambled (like eggs).
Not too long ago, I met up with my cousin Carla and her husband, Hung, who grew up in Vietnam. Hung asked whether Pete and I ever tried fresh tofu. We hadn’t! We only ever ate the kind found readily in the grocery store, packaged in a tub. It’s good. We like all those brands and textures, but now I was curious! I wanted to try fresh!
This past weekend, Pete and I ventured down to Philadelphia, not in search of tofu exactly, but in search of cheesesteaks. (You know there’s a catch, don’t you, you smart thing?) We were in search of VEGAN cheesesteaks. (See? You ARE so smart.)
The great thing about the internet and looking around different social media platforms, is that you learn what’s going on with your people. Our people are vegans. Well, lots of them are anyway. (Our people are a diverse group.) They know where to get the grub, and Blackbird Pizzeria, an all-vegan pizzeria on South Sixth Street, is where many agree you can get the best vegan Philly cheesesteak. Pete and I needed to see for ourselves, because that’s just how we are!
So what does that have to do with tofu??
Um, nothing, you astute reader, you.
Except that I found a fairly large Vietnamese grocery store not far from the pizzeria. We decided to visit and see if we could rustle up some fresh tofu!
Who could resist snapping a picture of this beautiful dragon fruit?
And we were successful! We took our fresh tofu home for dinner and forgot all about the “cheesesteaks.” (No we didn’t.)
I made this:
I say it makes a great meal idea for #MeatlessMonday!
- For the stir-fry:
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 red pepper, chopped or sliced
- 1 small, white onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 cup cubed tofu (more or less)
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 tablespoon green chilies, or more to taste, chopped
- 1 dried, red chili, chopped (include seeds)
- ½ cup chopped, fresh basil
- For the sauce:
- 1½ tablespoons vegan fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar or lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Serve over 16 oz. noodles, cooked according to package directions (wheat or rice)
- In a frying pan, stir-fry the onion, red pepper and garlic in the canola oil. After about 5 minutes, add the tofu for another 3 minutes.
- Add the snow peas, green chilies and red chili. Heat just until snow peas turn bright green and red chili softens.
- In a separate pot, prepare the sauce, mixing and stirring all the sauce ingredients until combined and heated through.
- Pour the sauce over the stir-fry ingredients until incorporated.
- Serve the stir-fry over prepared noodles.
The texture of fresh tofu is just a little nicer than packaged brands. I’m struggling to describe it, but it’s yummy. You’ll have to try it and see for yourself!
And if you find it difficult to decide between cheesesteaks and tofu, stop the silliness and have both 😉