Way back in late 2005, I attended a nodermeet at the abode of our own Wiccanpiper, in lovely, er, Heyworth, Illinois. Being vegan, I thought it would be a nice gesture to cook up an epic vegan feast fit for a an assortment of noders.
As a (non-vegan) child, I always enjoyed the chicken stir-fry that my mother would sometimes make. So I decided to create a vegan dish based on it. I suspect that if one were so inclined, one could swap out the tofu in this recipe for chicken thighs, and it would turn out just fine. After a few tiny-proportioned trial runs, the recipe below is what I came up with.
As an experiment on a captive audience prior to the nodermeet, I made this and served it to my carnivorous baby boomer parents, who actually liked it, if that says anything about how appealing this particular entrée can be.
At the nodermeet, it did pretty well going up against Wiccanpiper's sausage soup; if memory serves, almost everyone in attendance (I think there was only one other vegan besides me) at least tried it, and it received quite a few compliments from sated diners, some of whom even helped themselves to additional portions.
So, without further ado, here's the recipe. Please let me know if you end up preparing it for yourself!
You will need the following ingredients:
- 16 oz (450 g) of extra-firm, cubed tofu
- 2 cups (500 mL) of rice
- 4 cups (1000 mL) of (preferably filtered) cold water (in which to cook the rice)
- 1 cup (250 mL) fresh broccoli (chopped)
- ½ cup (125 mL) fresh carrots (chopped)
- ½ cup (125 mL) fresh celery (chopped)
- ½ cup (125 mL) soy sauce/shoyu (your choice of style; I use regular)
- ½ cup (125 mL) white rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of sesame oil
- To prepare the marinade, combine the tofu, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil into a large mixing bowl or a high-walled glass baking pan. I prefer the institutional steel bowls commonly found in restaurant kitchens. Cover it with cellophane. Refrigerate it for one hour.
- When the tofu is finished marinating, put the rice on to cook, ideally in a rice cooker. Then take the bowl containing the tofu and its marinade from the fridge and empty it into a wok. (If you don't have a wok, a large skillet will do.) Set the wok to medium-high/high heat, then add the veggies gradually as it cooks, so that in the finished product, they have a steamed-but-not-fully-cooked texture.
- Cook for ten or fifteen minutes or until everything is at your desired texture.
Serves three or four. Multiply the ingredients to cook for larger settings.
The firmness of the tofu, the crispiness of the veggies, the softness of the rice and the mild tang of the soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger combine to create a fully pleasing and filling meal from top to bottom.
- The scallions can be easily omitted, as not everyone likes them (I sure don't). Generally, whatever neutrally-flavoured veggies pique your fancy can probably be included without consequence.
- I use long-grain white rice, and though I haven't tried any other kinds with this, I suspect brown, basmati, jasmine or sushi rice would all make acceptable substitutes, depending upon the refinement of one's palette.
- The raw ginger root can be swapped for pickled ginger root, served on the side, Japanese style.
- Tofu is easier to handle with a fork, so you may want to have a few ready. It is my definite preference, however, to use hashi whenever the opportunity arises, especially when consuming east Asian food.