In my pantry today:
- 1 package extra firm, pre-cubed tofu
- 1 head Napa cabbage
- 1/3 package Hakubaku ramen
- 1/4 c dumpling sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 c water
- 1 cube vegetable boullion
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp vegetable ghee
- 2 tsp safflower oil
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp asafoetida
This meal requires a full day and night of preparation, so plan accordingly and make sure your Big Girl Britches are on. The early afternoon before, drain your tofu and instead place it to soak in your own marinade overnight. Put your dumpling sauce, vinegar, garlic paste and 1 tbsp of soy sauce together and pour over the tofu and let set in an airtight container until the morrow. Take special care to occasionally rotate the container at intervals to fully soak each cube.
The next day, you can go ahead and slice your cabbage while the mustard seeds warm in ghee on M. Add cabbage when the mustard seeds begin to pop and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir fry the cabbage for about two minutes, adding 2 tsp – 1 tbsp of soy sauce, turmeric and asafoetida. Add .5 c water, cover and turn the burner to L. Cabbage should be wilted and tender, not sloppy country-kitchen style. Unless you’d really like that or have no teeth.
Start safflower oil out on M, then turn to MH. When hot, add your drained tofu cubes and begin frying with impunity. This took longer to do than I thought it might, so when they’re beginning to show signs of crispy edges, do this:
Mix vegetable boullion and remainder of the tofu marinade with 2 c water and bring to a boil. Put in ramen.
Move back to your tofu pan and keep the spatula twirling. Squirt in about 2 tsp of soy sauce and stir vigorously to coat. When they begin to share the same medium shade of brown, remove from pan and allow to drain on paper towels while you prepare the bowls. Put some ramen and a little broth in the bottom of your bowl. Top with cabbage, then top the cabbage with tofu.
I have never fried tofu — in fact, this is only my second time cooking with tofu at all. I certainly did not quite expect its ensuing deliciousness! This got to be one of those rare dinners where I enjoyed everything on my plate instead of acting my own critic. Plus I was rather proud of myself for ensuring the tofu did not become part of an incongruous meal where animal products were also involved. To be fair to the ‘fu ‘n all. I am very obviously not a vegetarian simply an admirer of its health benefits — as someone who just months ago was nearly bed-bound I absolutely cannot refute the differences it makes to eliminate a lot of those quintessentially American food choices.
Of course, a 5 spoon meal is reason to dancey-dance all its own.