Tonight was a night of cooking for me since Thogg had already eaten an early dinner at a work happy hour. One of the things I’ve never gotten him to enjoy is zucchini so I decided to make my zucchini-starved self a special treat.
I served this over some brown rice I’d made the day before (although you can find pre-cooked brown rice these days in the freezer sections of a lot of stores). This recipe is very fast but a few pantry staples are needed. They can all be found at Asian markets and most can be found these days at many large chain American grocery stores although Kikkoman and Lee Kum Kee brands seem to predominate there. Don’t be intimidated by these ingredients, most can be found for just a few dollars each, especially if you shop at Asian markets. If you really feel that you’re not interested in having more condiments sitting in your fridge you can probably get away with soy sauce, and hoisin. You may want to add a small dash of ketchup to give it a slight sour flavor that you’d be missing from the plum sauce and then add a dash of sugar if you feel you need it. It will taste different from this recipe, but should still be very satisfying.
- 4 ounces of sprouted tofu (or any other firm variety of tofu you like)
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 small to medium onion – roughly chopped
- 3 or 4 large crimini mushrooms – cleaned and sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil or other cooking oil – divided
- 1 heaped tsp of frozen pre-minced lemon grass (you can find this frozen at asian markets or you can finely slice the lower portion of a stalk yourself)
- 1 piece of ginger about 1/2 a thumb size – skinned and finely minced
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic – finely minced
- a few pinches of salt
- several grinds of black pepper
- brown rice to serve with
For the Sauce/Marinade:
- 1 tsp soy sauce of your choice
- 1 tsp plum sauce (Kikkoman makes one that’s pretty good)
- 1 tsp vegetarian oyster sauce (I cheated and used real oyster sauce because I was out of my vegetarian variety)
- 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 to 3 tsp sherri, sake or other dry cooking wine
- a few pinches of red pepper flakes
- Drain your tofu and dice it into 1 inch cubes. If you wish to prepare your tofu in advance you can marinade it in the sauce overnight to give it a stronger flavor. This will help entice meat eaters to enjoy it more but if you’re short on time and want to do this in 15 minutes simply drain the tofu and dice it before using. To marinade your tofu, place the diced pieces on a flat strainer (splatter screens work well) and place that over a large dish. On top, place a large baking sheet and use a 32oz can of something like tomatoes on top of the sheet as a weight. Leave it in place for about an hour. Place the drained tofu in your marinade mix, recipe is below and leave it for several hours or ovenight.
- Rinse your zucchini and slice the ends off. Cut it, length-wise in half and then in lenght-wise half again to make spears. Then dice them into cubes about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick.
- In a pan over medium heat or high heat add 1 tsp of oil. Once it gets hot add your onions, a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper and cook, stirring often but allowing to take on carmel notes. Once the onion begins to soften add the mushroom, zucchini, and ginger and cook for two minutes or until they begin to soften and get some light carmel notes on the outside.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant. Add the rest of the cooking oil, your tofu, the marinade, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds or until the sauce begins to thicken but not burn.
- Serve over rice.