vegan mapo tofu

Vegan Mapo Tofu

every four years,
i’m surprised when election time arrives,
the level of vitriol increasing incrementally,
this latest season reaching obscene heights.
i became a citizen just in time
to vote in a historical president,
and it seems like we’re on the cusp of
voting in another historical president.
(at the time i wrote this post,
we did not know who the new president would be.)
mayhap with the passing of this season
things will settle,
be less contentious,
our facebook feed will go back to
cat postings
and finally,
i’ll catch up on the Brange drama;
though i wonder in the aftermath
of such hate,
and the tacit permission to be so unkind,
i wonder what the consequences will look like?

growing up tofu was consumed fairly often,
it’s nutritious and cheap.
lentils is a relatively new addition to my repertoire,
it’s also nutritious and cheap.
combining the two,
a western ingredient in an asian dish,
seems about right in this climate.

if only we could be so kind
in the blending of our cultures.

Vegan Mapo Tofu

Vegan Mapo Tofu
drawn from these sources: lady&pups, lucky peach, and burp! appetite.

note: you won’t use all the chili bean paste oil, it can be stored in fridge for a long time, used to top other dishes, like ramen or dandan noodles.
it’s spicy AF, dw was like, WHY IS THIS DISH SO ANGRY?!
note**: i’ve made this a few times, with/out the chili oil, with meat or with lentils, it changes depending on what we have in the pantry. what is the always the same is the tofu, i’m a firm tofu lover, the silken/soft stuff makes me mad. another thing, i always use the french lentils because they hold their shape better.

chili bean paste oil
1 cup of grapeseed oil
1 – 2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
2 TBL chili pepper flakes

combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat at medium. with a spoon break the paste as best you can and fry for about 5 minutes, until the flakes turn brown. take off heat and cool completely. strain into a clean jar/container. keep in fridge until use.

the main event
1 package of firm tofu, wrapped in kitchen towel & pressed down with something heavy to draw out excess water
1/2 cup of lentils, i used black/french, cooked (cooked in water for about 30 minutes)
splash of oil
a knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced/minced dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water
2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
splash of chinese shao-xing wine, rice wine is fine
splash of dark soy sauce
1 tsp of ground sichuan peppercorn, i use penzeys
1 – 2 cups of veg stock
1 TBL cornstarch + 2 TBL cold water

after tofu’s been pressed of excess liquid, cube it and set aside.

heat up a large skillet with some oil and the ginger and garlic, take care to not burn. add in the lentils, along with the mushroom and douban paste. stir it through so that the lentils are fully mixed with the paste. add in the shao-xing wine, dark sauce and ground peppercorn. cook it through for a minute or so and then add the stock and tofu cubes. lower the heat and allow to simmer until reduced by half. (i like my chinese dishes liquidy cus i enjoy pouring the sauce over rice). add in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. gently mix everything and the liquid is fully thickened, and transfer to serving bowl.

top with a tablespoon or so of the chili oil, heated in a small pan. serve with hot rice.


Vegan Mapo Tofu

3 years ago: chicken pho
2 years ago: za’atar socca + middle eastern smashed avocado
1 year ago: only one thing last year, vegan carrot cake

tofu gyoza

Tofu Gyoza

you guys,
the time is drawing closer
so close i can almost
touch it

i will warn you:
in the coming weeks
this space will vomit
love stuff

no fear,
i’ll still have recipes,
a few crafty things,
hopefully pretty
but my stories
will be mainly
about the last two
to the culmination of
you know:
Ball & Chain Time y’all!

i guess i should start
with how we met
but before that,
i do want to acknowledge the
almost 1 year i was Single
i took deliberate time off
from serious dating
i fostered relationships
and god bless,
i confronted being alone
i also reveled in being

Tofu Gyoza

from the moment i left home
i began dating in earnest
i’m what you would call a
Serial Monogamist
and so when i found myself
not being attached
it was daunting

fast forward to the moment i
decided that wading into
the dating pool was something
i wanted to do again
(i was in spain at the time)
it was like a new year’s resolution of sorts

and like how i conduct
the majority of my days,
how my everyday life is,
i met the love of my life

in the swimming pool of
Online Dating
i pretty much dove into the
deep end
i gave myself 3 months
and should nothing happen
i was going to take another
lo & behold
3 weeks in,
4 guys later,
dw emailed me
and that was that

Tofu Gyoza

Tofu Gyoza
*note: i purposefully made the filling bland. my favorite part of eating dumplings/dimsum/wontons/gyoza is the various dipping sauces i can choose from. drowning these little gems in sauce is fun. for this particular meal, i kept it simple with 1:1 of soy sauce & rice wine vinegar, a healthy pinch of sugar & a light drizzle of sesame oil. you can certainly dip in plum/hoisin sauce, peanut sauce, whatever.

1 packet round wonton wrappers
1 container of firm tofu
half an onion, diced
1 knob of ginger, minced
1 garlic glove, minced
1/4 cup of sliced wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in warm water
2 oz somen noodles, cooked according to package instructions
2 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl rice vinegar
1 tbl sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

except for the wonton wrappers, in a bowl, mix everything together. you want the mixture to be clumpy, not a wet mess. the cooked somen noodles will act as a binder

with the wonton wrappers, put a small amount, about a tsp in the middle. wet the edges with water, fold over. and if you’re feeling fancy, pleat them. you want the gyoza to sit up so shape them to be able to sit up but make sure the seams stick

heat up a pan with a bit of sesame oil. put the gyoza in a fan-like pattern in the pan, fry them until the bottoms are nice and crispy. pour in 1/4 cup of water and cover, being careful of splatters. steam for about 5 minutes and remove lid, making sure all the water has evaporated

yields: 36, for 4 gyozas – calories: 30 | total fat: 1.7g | saturated fat: 0.2g | sodium: 262.3mg | total carbs: 3g | sugars: 0.8g | protein: 0.7g

Tofu Gyoza

other dumplings/wontons/gyozas:
angry asian creations – wonton soup
angry asian creations – wonton noodle soup
delicious shots – vegetable potstickers
wandering chopsticks – a variety of dumpling recipes
the little kitchen – (who completely influenced me by via her instagram) chinese potstickers