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.