My First Tofu (VeganMoFo #2)

Chinese Sweet and Sour Tofu Balls from Tofu Cookery

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)
Mix in:
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.

Here’s a bonus pic of Pad Thai, just because it’s one of my favorite dinners.

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  1. Posted October 2, 2008 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    sounds great! thanks for the recipe :)

  2. Posted October 2, 2008 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    That looks so good!

  3. Posted October 2, 2008 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great cookbook, but I haven’t tried this recipe yet. Looks excellent! For the longest time, I had no idea how to prepare tofu and so I wouldn’t eat it. Glad that’s changed!

  4. Posted October 2, 2008 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I have to say that tofu was rough for me too. The first dish I liked was tofu scramble. I ate it almost every morning. This recipe looks really good. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Posted October 2, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always liked tofu, maybe cuz when i first had it smothered in tasty sauce and fried!

  6. Posted October 2, 2008 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    being raised on many (vegan) soyfoods to due my asian background, i haven’t found anything that repulses me yet. but then maybe i am too unpicky šŸ˜ haha

  7. Posted October 2, 2008 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Your pictures are always so beutiful and your meals look so tasty I wanna come over for dinner every time you post something!

    Tofu was hard for me too. I also had to experiment a lot and read up a bit to like it. But now it’s one of my best friends.

  8. Posted October 2, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Those sound right up my alley and look easy, too! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Posted October 3, 2008 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Hmmm. Vegan food hurdle? Great question! Maybe its been tempeh for me. Seems so grainy. I really only like it in the Vegan with a Vengeance’s Reuben recipe. That is fantastic!

  10. Posted October 3, 2008 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    The first couple brands of soy milk I tried 7 or 8 years ago were awful… they practically made me gag. So it was hard to give up milk. But now soy milks are so creamy and delicious that it’s certainly not a hurdle at all!

    Thanks for the recipe, it looks so yummy!

  11. Posted October 3, 2008 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Mmmmm… that looks great!

  12. Posted October 3, 2008 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    I love tofu! My brother is having trouble liking tofu. The recipe looks really tasty!

  13. Posted October 3, 2008 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    I’m going through an anti-tofu thing right now. I’m very sick of it being in almost every vegetarian recipe. Makes me crazy. Also I think many people eat it instead of veggies which I find difficult to understand. But I do like some fake meats – so I kind of get it. I’ll get back into it eventually I suppose.

  14. Posted October 3, 2008 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    That looks great! I have never had anything against tofu, but I wasn’t the type to eat it very often either. Then I discovered scramble …

  15. Posted October 3, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    My vegan food hurdle is definitely nutritional yeast. I have tried for years and years to like the stuff. No dice. I can tolerate a couple of teaspoons in a dish, but more than that makes me want to gag just reading the recipe. Bleh. :-(

  16. Posted October 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough my hurdle was also tofu. The first time I tried to cook it I was 14 and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I think it was soft tofu and it wasn’t drained and I tried to bake it in cutlet form. Ewww.

  17. Posted October 3, 2008 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    That looks so delicious!! I am definitely going to get that book!!

  18. Posted October 3, 2008 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Phew, it’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one who kept tofu at arm’s length.

    Little One, I think for people who aren’t crazy about tempeh, that reuben is the way to go! I’ve got a scallopini recipe in one of my older posts that’s pretty good, too. We love it in tempeh noodle soup, too!

    Mad about Udon, I still don’t drink soy milk straight, but I like it in stuff. I was never a milk drinker anyway.

    Nikki, yeah, I think we all hit phases.

    Seona, I hate to say it, but you probably won’t ever like nooch. If it’s not your thing, it’s hard to learn to like it. But I’ll keep hoping for you!

  19. Posted October 3, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    That looks lovely. I love tofu, but sweet and sour is not a dish I normally like, however it looks yum, so you might have me convinced to try!

  20. Posted October 4, 2008 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I love me some tofu and could eat it twice a day! I have made a conscious effort to branch out to other things. My hurdle has been seitan…it’s just so meaty!(Maybe that’s a weird vegan hurdle but even as a kid meat turned me off).

  21. Posted October 5, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I love tofu and that looks great!

  22. Posted October 6, 2008 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    I think I’ve tried this recipe before, a long time ago.

    That book also has 2 other recipes that I like: tofu foo young and the enchiladas that have peanut sauce in them.

    The enchilads recipe makes a lot, so beware. it was the first recipe that i made that froze tofu for a different texture.

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