Took a bit of a hiatus due to personal things going on but now I’m baaaaaaack :)
This year for Lent, when my brother Ray said he was going vegan (to give up eating all animal products), my hubby Steve & I jumped on that opportunity. We’ve really been trying to eat more vegetarian for a while now, so going vegan would be a new challenge for us. And, I have to say, it has been!
But we all bounced ideas off each other for good recipes and this one in particular was a huge hit, even with my parents who weren’t doing the vegan thing. This was definitely my most cooked vegan meal and it’ll be on rotation even after. It was THAT. GOOD. I remember eating this a lot in college when my awesome friend (& roommate!) Karen would whip this up for our us and our friends. It was so easy (and cheap to boot!) and now it’s one of my go-to recipes.
With Karen’s permission, I’m sharing with you one of the best Asian recipes I’ve ever had, hands down – made by her super cool mom (a.k.a. Momma Chiang — Thank you!!) What really makes it is the spicy garlicky scallion sauce. SO. GOOD. :-D (yes, I said it again!)
So without further ado…
Momma Chiang’s Crispy Tofu with Spicy Scallion Sauce
- 1 block of firm or very firm tofu
- 1 bunch of scallions
- 1 small head of garlic (or 6-8 cloves)
- ~3 Tbsp of soy sauce or tamari
- Sriracha sauce (about 1 tsp or 1 Tbsp, to your tastes)
- Slice the tofu into thin blocks so they are about 1/2″-3/4″ thick.
- Drain the water from the tofu by placing it on a plate lined with paper towels. Put more paper towels and another plate on top and gently press down. Do this until most of the water comes out and the tofu feels firm.
- It’s useful to do this the night before – you can place a weight on top of the plates to let it drain on its own. You can cut thinner tofu slices for crunchier tofu or thicker for something a bit chewier.
While the tofu drains, make the sauce:
- Mince all of the garlic and chop up all of the scallions.
- In a sauce pan, heat oil (I used ~2-3 Tbsp of olive oil). When it is hot, add the garlic and cook until fragrant or slightly golden brown.
- Add in the scallions. Add more olive oil if needed; you want a nice sauce. Saute for about 2-3 minutes, just until the scallions are cooked and wilted.
- Add soy sauce to the sauce pan and stir.
- Add in the Sriracha sauce and stir until it has become a thick and almost paste-like consistency.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
To cook the tofu, there are 3 options. Karen recommends frying (it is the best way to have it) but if you’re eating it fairly often like I’ve been, try baking and broiling the tofu. All 3 ways are delicious. See below:
- To fry: Fill a deep pan with about 1/4″ thick of your oil of choice and heat for ~3-4 min. (You want enough oil to cover the tofu half-way.) Fry until golden (or desired crispiness) and flip to cook the other side. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- To bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 min until golden (or desired crispiness), flipping half-way through.
- To broil: Turn broiler on to high. Place on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 min (or desired crispiness), flipping half-way through.
- Place the sauce on top to your desired amount/taste.
ENJOY with your favorite vegetable stir-fry over rice or noodles!
For those interested, here are some thoughts on Veganism…
First of all, I believe that no one diet works for everyone. And it couldn’t have been truer this time around. My brother, husband and I all agreed that this diet made us all hungrier (we wanted to eat more and more often!) yet we all lost weight. We also found that it was very, very hard to eat out as a vegan – definitely a plus for our waistlines and our wallets. But each of us had slightly different reactions.
I felt pretty good most of the time, though I craved red meat more than usual. Seriously. A burger, some steak, something! (Probably shouldn’t have watched all those Diners, Drive-ins and Dives episodes…) I think it’s telling that my body needs more of the iron that comes from red meat. My husband had ups & downs with it – he’s felt okay overall too but has had headaches and stomach issues at certain points. Not his favorite diet to say the least. And my brother was definitely more experimental – he tried seitan, tempeh and soy cheese. He did fine with those products, but they weren’t his favorite (especially the “cheese”). Overall though, he reacted similarly to me – no major issues but he said that his love of animal products “grew tenfold”. Lol.
Steve and I concluded that we’re not going to be vegan forever, but we may continue the good habits of incorporating a lot more vegetables in our diets and really reduce our consumption of meat and dairy (tough for me because I love cheese!)
- Everything in moderation - We gave up all animal products cold turkey – not a good idea. If you’d like to try veganism or any diet, do it gradually and add in!
- Don’t deprive yourself of anything – You’ll only want it more.
- Follow what your body needs – It knows what it needs, so don’t ignore it.
- Cook & eat more whole foods, less processed foods. – Cook when you can, adding in more & various types of veggies at every meal, less boxed/canned/bagged stuff
Thanks for reading! xo