Tofu was really hard for me. I mean really, really hard. I couldn’t get enough flavor into it and the texture turned me off. We went vegetarian* 26 or 27 years ago when the only protein source you could grab in the grocery store (besides peanut butter and beans, of course) was tofu. For me, it was kind of a double edged sword. I wanted to like it, it was readily available, but it just disgusted me.
Except this recipe. It was the first way I learned to like tofu and I will always be grateful to Louise Hagler and The Farm for putting out Tofu Cookery. I’m not exaggerating to say that this is the only way I ate tofu for years. Probably about 20 years. By the way, it looks like there are newer editions, but I linked to my old copy.
Keep reading, you’ll get to the recipe.
Food wise, things have really changed since then. I’ve learned to love tofu now. We have the tofu scramble from VwaV once a week and frequently have the marinated tofu cutlets and pad thai. From there, I’ve branched out and really enjoy tofu in a variety of ways. It’s taken a long time, but now I can officially say I love tofu. Now we buy it by the case from our co-op. We have tofu probably 3-5 times a week. We’re actually having tofu marsala for dinner tonight.
Did you have a food hurdle in going vegan? Something you wanted to like, but couldn’t? What was it? Do you like it now?
Chinese Sweet and Sour Tofu Balls
Louise Hagler, Tofu Cookery
Mash in a bowl:
1 1/2 pounds tofu (I use 1# of pressed tofu)
1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter (I use 2 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup parsley
8 green onions, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
1 8 oz can water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
1 cup green peppers, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
Form 2 inch balls, roll in flour and fry in 1/2 inch oil, browning on all sides. Do not let the oil smoke. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot over rice with Sweet and Sour Sauce.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Combine in a saucepan over medium heat:
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
Whisk out all lumps and heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
*After 2 or 3 limited bouts of veganism and one of macrobiotics in the mid ’80s, we are going on our 3rd year of veganism now. There’s no turning back.