Tofu, quick!

Sometimes I love my parents. You know what I mean. I love them, but sometimes I love them even more. Especially my dad. After my sisters and even my mom went vegetarian a couple of years ago, he’s the only meat eater in our family. And he never complains about all the “rabbit food” eaters around him.

He used to be a cook and when it comes to food, he loves to try new things. My mom cooks during the week, but on the weekends my father has always been in charge of cooking. And I have to say that he is better at cooking than my mom. My mom doesn’t really like to cook. Which is totally okay, if you ask me. Especially since she still does it (and does everything else in our house). But because she isn’t really interested in cooking, she barely tries new things. I think I gave her a hard time when I went vegetarian because at first, she didn’t know what to cook. We figured it out together and I started cooking my own meals, so it was okay. But I still sometimes feel bad for probably giving her a hard time. When I went vegan I had moved out long ago and when I visit my family, I cook for them a lot. So my mom didn’t really worry about it this time.

But my dad did. Because he used to make a lot of stuff for us and didn’t really like the idea to cook without butter or eggs. Especially since he used to make some vegetable fritters for us, which became kind of his signature dish. And he always prepared them with eggs. So when I went vegan he didn’t know if he could still make them for me.

But then my dad discovered tofu. I swear, I never even mentioned it! One day when I was home he told me that he had made those fritters. The whole family really loves them and I was a bit sad and told him that I wouldn’t eat them because of the eggs. But he replied I shouldn’t worry, he had made them with tofu. (And this is also awesome about him. He cooks vegan dishes for the whole family!)

Really, you should have seen me. I think I made a pretty stupid face. I just thought that tofu and my dad sounded like Christmas and shorts. Those things just don’t go together so well, if you ask me. And then I had some very awesome vegetable fritters for lunch. Dad told me he would never have thought the recipe would work without eggs. He said he had done a little “experimenting”, added a little flour and some tofu and so it worked!

I see my parents only about twice a year. My dad usually picks me up from the station and asks me if I am hungry. And then tells me what kind of food will be waiting for me at home. It’s so fantastic to come home to my parents and have a meal prepared especially for me. This time he told me he had made tofu. I started sweating a bit. I didn’t know what to expect.

When I sat down and he brought me the plate I saw a vegetable and tofu stir fry and some rice. And the tofu was fantastic! My dad said: “You know, you have to marinate that stuff. It doesn’t taste very well if you use it straight out of the package. You need to make a marinade with oil and spices and lemon and you have to let it sit for several hours so it will taste good.” My dad seriously told me how to prepare tofu. It was so cute. I mean, he could have called and ask me, but instead just did some of his famous “experimenting” again and came up with the recipe all by himself. After all he’s an educated cook.

Now you are probably going to ask for the recipe. Well, there is none. My dad rarely uses recipes. I think he owns two very old cookbooks. And there’s no use in asking about recipes. “A little bit of this and a little bit of that. You know…” That’s all he’s ever going to reply. So yeah, this story has nothing to do with the following recipe. I just wanted to share that my dad is awesome.

At least this is a recipe for tofu. I used my favourite method of preparing it and I think next time I am home with my parents, I am going to share it with my dad. Because if you don’t want to “marinate that stuff for several hours so it will taste good”, you just have to dry fry it.

I had some leftover tofu and some leftover tempeh, I don’t know exactly how much it was. Maybe about 280 g (10 oz), maybe a bit more. I used pumpkin seed oil for the marinade, which is my pantry challenge ingredient of the day. It’s definitely one of my favourite oils but I don’t use my bottle so often because it has a very distinct taste. (I blogged about it before here and here.) I don’t think there’s a very good substitute for it, but you could probably do like my dad and “experiment” a bit with hazelnut, sesame or other oils with a strong flavour on their own. I served this with stir fried peppers and fresh parsley. You can press the tofu before frying it so it will soak up more marinade. But in this case it also works great with firm tofu which isn’t pressed.

Tofu with Pumpkin Seed Oil Marinade (serves 2)

280g (10 oz) tofu (or a combination of tempeh and tofu)*
60 ml (1/4 cup) soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
pepper to taste

*Maybe more. I don’t remember how much I used.

Prepare your marinade by combining all ingredients. Cut the tofu (and tempeh) into bite size pieces, about 1/2 cm (1/8 inch) thick. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Don’t add any oil. Transfer the tofu pieces to the pan and cook until golden brown, then flip and brown the other side. Pour the marinade into the pan and cook the tofu until it has absorbed most of the liquid. This will take between 5 and 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

17 thoughts on “Tofu, quick!

  1. Diese Methode des “dry frying” klingt sehr interessant, danke für den Tipp. Ich werde es morgen gleich mal ausprobieren :-)

  2. That’s awesome about your sisters/mom being vegetarian! My mom eats “a plant-based diet” for health reasons, which I think is really cool. It just makes eating with family a little easier. :) And of course your dad sounds super awesome and accommodating! Him telling you how to prepare tofu is way too cute. :)

  3. What a sweet post! I wish my parents were anywhere near that cool about veganism… but I am always super happy to hear about folks who have that kind of support. Good on yours! :)

  4. My dad loves my food and would be interested in going vegan if it were just made for him :-) My mom won’t let him in the kitchen!

    I am dying for some pumpkinseed oil and some barberries!

    It’s so funny because I did a Pumpkin Marinated Tofu recipe today on my blog (I would have LOVED to add pumpkinseed oil!!).


  5. Your family sounds like a gem! And I would be like you too if my mom all of a sudden started experimenting with tofu–definitely weird. The marinade looks lovely, too. Hooray for great parents like yours!!

  6. That is so sweet indeed. My dad doesnt cook at all. but mom’s been picking up some of my recipes lately and they are both trying to be as vegan as possible!:)

  7. What a great story — your dad sounds like terrific guy. I love that he made you tofu and that he figured out how to make fritters without eggs. The marinade sounds pretty good, too.

  8. You’re totally making my miss my parents right now! This was such a lovely post, your dad sounds like an awesome guy.
    Your tofu is similar to one of my favorite recipes, I’ve yet to experiment with pumpkin seed oil though, gonna have to give it a try.

  9. I really loved reading this story about your dad, Mihl! I can’t remember even one meal my dad has ever prepared for me, and that includes toasting a bagel or a pb sandwich. You are so lucky!!

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