Monday, August 23, 2010

Tofu Scramble

Comfort food - what are you thinking about?  For most people, comfort food means something their mother made them as children, often starchy and fatty and of questionable nutrition, but delicious and calming and nostalgic.  Mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and pancakes are some prime choices, among a whole host of others.  These dishes are all notoriously kid-friendly, which may be part of their continued appeal - they remind the eater of childhood and temporarily relieve her of the present-day stresses by immersing her in the idealized memories that the food evokes.

Having said all this, it's mighty strange that the title of this post should be "Tofu Scramble."  Tofu scramble is not starchy, not excessively fatty, and, in my case, not something I ever ate or even heard of as a child.  The phrase "tofu scramble" did not even enter my consciousness until about a year ago (not surprising, this coincided with my immersion into the world of vegan food blogging).
Stranger still is the fact that I didn't even particularly like tofu before then.  It was something I struggled with; as a vegetarian, I felt like I should like tofu (to all budding vegetarians out there - this is not a requirement nor a necessity) and so I went through package after package, always buying extra-firm and pressing it (because my sister said to), cooking it in different ways, slathering it in different sauces, and generally being disappointed with the results.  I liked deep-fried tofu like you get in Thai restaurants because, well, it was fried and I liked it when I battered it and pan fried (again, because it was fried) but in general, I tortured myself with tofu.

Enter tofu scramble.  Suddenly I learned that tofu does not need to be extra-firm, it does not need to be pressed, and it does not need to be cut into regular cubes and strips with perfect right edges.  Tofu can be an imperfect mess, cooked by intuition and without excesses of fat, and most importantly, tofu can be delicious and comforting, a veritable comfort food.

Every veggie blogger and her mama has her own recipe for tofu scramble but I find that they all call for too much stuff - a teaspoon of this, a pinch of that, a slurry, a dash.  It's not very comforting when the recipe calls for such precision and so many dirty dishes.  After trying a bunch of these recipes and discovering new-found satisfaction in the texture of the tofu (my previous downfall) but never in the taste, I finally just decided to deviate and create my own, using the KISS method.  Here's what I came up with:
Tofu Scramble

1-2 tbsp Earth Balance (or oil if you must)
minced garlic to taste
1 package soft tofu (firm is okay too but don't use silken)
salt and pepper
⅓ cup nutritional yeast (or to taste)

Heat a regular or anodized pan on medium and add the Earth Balance.  Once it's melted, add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Squeeze the tofu between your fingers into the pan, so it crumbles - some pieces will be smaller and some larger and that's just fine.  Season with salt and pepper, stir once, and let cook for about ten minutes.  The bottom of the pan should not be too wet or too dry - just a bit of moisture is ideal so adjust the flame accordingly.  After ten minutes, use a metal spatula to flip the tofu, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.  The tofu should be lightly browned.  Let cook for a few more minutes until it's browned on some of the other sides (this is not a science).  Sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top, stir, and cook for another minute or so.  Munch!
You can of course add in some veggies - spinach, mushrooms, onions, et cetera.  I always seem to end up with zucchini in mine because I always forget I have zucchini and have to find some way to use it up.

I should also mention that with the exception of my picky husband, everybody that I have made this for loves it, including a far pickier friend of mine and my anti-tofu mother.  Come to think of it, my husband has never had this recipe so strike that negative vote from the record.  Simple and delicious, this tofu scramble is a sure crowd-pleaser, perfect for any meal of the day.

1 comment:

  1. So simple yet so good! I love tofu, but it makes me all foggy if I eat too much. *sigh*

    I'm so glad you liked the blondies! Thank you so much for letting me know that you made them! Did you make a pretty big dent in that big jar of almond butter? :D