(a mix of seasonal vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, turnip, onion, bell pepper, sweet potato, pumpkin)
¼-½ cup of starch (corn or potato
½ each teaspoon onion, garlic, chili powder, salt
For the crust
½ cup of starch
1 tsp – 1 tbs onion powder (to taste)
1 tsp – 1 tbs garlic powder (to taste)
1 tsp – 1 tbs chili powder (to taste) (optional)
1 cup of bread crumbs/panko
1 cup milk or plant based milk
For the sweet and sour sauce
¼-⅓ cup sugar (brown or white)
¼-⅓ cup rice vinegar
1 tbs catsup
¼ cup soy sauce (light is preferred, but dark will do)
1 cup liquid (water or pineapple juice or a blend)
2 tablespoons of starch (corn or potato)
Drain the water from the package of tofu.
Place between a dish towel and place something heavy upon it.
Let the tofu press for 30 – 60 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Prepare the crust
Combine ½ cup of starch with the spices and sift. Set aside.
Pour 1 cup of milk or plant based milk in a bowl and set next to the starch.
Pour 1 cup of bread crumbs into a bowl and set that next to the milk.
Prepare the sweet and sour sauce
Combine the sugar, vinegar, catsup and soy sauce in a bowl and stir to dissolve the catsup and sugar. If the sugar does not dissolve, you can heat it in a small sauce pan.
Combine 1 cup liquid with the starch and stir to dissolve. (The starch will settle at the bottom. This is normal.)
For the meatless balls, fried
Peel and mince your vegetables. The smaller the cut, the easier they are to incorporate into the mixture.
When the tofu has pressed, crumble it in a bowl and mix in the vegetables.
Add ¼ cup of starch and mix. Squeeze a handful of the mixture in your hand. If it holds together, shape into balls. If not, add more starch until you can form balls. You can also press the mixture into shapes.
Roll the balls in the spiced starch.
Dip the balls into the milk.
Coat the balls in the bread crumbs and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan to fry.
Fry the tofu balls in the hot oil until well browned.
Drain on paper towels.
In a saucepan combine the sweet and sour sauce and the slurry.
Bring to a boil stirring constantly. It will thicken after the boil.
Dip the fried tofu balls into the sauce and serve over rice.
For the tofu balls, baked
You can either mist the tofu with oil or bake directly in a very hot 250C/400F oven for 30-40 minutes. The oil will give the tofu a very firm crunch.
After the tofu balls are fried, stir fry 2 – 3 cups of sliced vegetables in hot oil.
When done to your liking add ¼ of the sweet and sour base and bring to a boil.
Add the slurry.
Bring to a boil. The sauce will thicken.
Add the tofu.
Serve over rice.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. As I’m learning how to blog, if you have any suggestions on how I can improve, please write them in the comments below. Also, let me know what you think of my recipe.
In the video, I prepared three different fried rice versions: a vegetarian, a chicken, and a (traditional) pork. Today I’ll post the vegetarian version with brown rice and later in the week the remaining two.
10 grams minced ginger
15 grams minced garlic
50 grams of the green part of a scallion, sliced
Up to 2 cups of minced vegetables (carrots, broccoli, red/yellow peppers, corn are good starts, but use what’s in season)
2 cups cooked brown (or white) rice
1 teaspoon konbu salt (optional — recipe below)
½ teaspoon MSG (optional, but restaurants use it)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional, restaurants use it)
Up to ¼ vegetable oil
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sake or Shaoxing Wine (optional, but used in restaurants)
Prepare the garlic and ginger, set aside in its own dish.
Prepare the scallions, set it aside in its own dish.
Prepare all your vegetables, set them aside in their own dish and toss them with the konbu salt, if using.
Beat two eggs with salt in its own dish and set aside.
Heat a wok or deep fry pan, add your oil and gently sauté the garlic and ginger until it’s nicely browned.
Strain. Keep the browned bits of garlic and ginger for later
Add the oil back to the pan.
Cook your vegetables in the flavored oil about five minutes until almost done.
Remove them from the pan.
Add the flavored oil back to the pan.
Turn the heat up to the maximum setting and all at once add the eggs to the hot oil. Quickly stir. When the whites are set but the yolks still wet, add all the rice at once.
Mix the rice into the egg — do not lift the pan from the fire.
Restaurants cook at a much higher temperature and can toss the rice at this point, but the home cook should not. You want to cook the egg and dry the rice, so keep the pan on the burner until that happens.
When the egg and rice are thoroughly mixed add the scallions and cook one minute.
Add the vegetables and the browned garlic/ginger and mix well.
Pour the soy sauce around the edge of the pan and mix well.
Add the MSG and sugar, if using and mix well.
Add the sake or Shaoxing Wine around the edge of the pan and mix well.
Taste and correct for salt — you’re done.
To ½ cup table salt add 5 grams of dried konbu. Put it in a heavy duty blender and blend at full power until the konbu is pulverized with the salt. Strain through a wire mesh filter and use as needed. Discard any larger pieces that you filter out.
Flakey tart shells filled with sweet potato or pumpkin puree and topped with grilled or fried mushrooms.
I came across a picture for a beautifully plated, grilled ‘Hen of the Woods‘ (aka Maitake) mushroom months ago. These are inexpensive where I live and so I started grilling them. Maitake have a wonderful mouthfeel and are full of umami; I wanted to turn them into a healthy, inexpensive meal, and so started making them into tarts. Here the tarts are put on a puree of sweet potato or winter melon (I use Japanese kabocha) to fix the mushrooms into place in the tart while adding a new texture and layer of flavors.
For the Mushrooms
Size varies by location. Any mushroom will work but we enjoy maitake and shimeji mushrooms because they grow as a unit and are much easier to shape because of it.
In a well oiled iron fry pan, layer your mushrooms.
Salt to taste.
Cover them with something heavy (such as a smaller fry pan) and put them on high heat for five minutes and check. They will be fully cooked. Cook them to your desired color and texture.
Flip the mushrooms and cook till they reach the color and texture you want
Sweet Potato Filling
Sweet potatoes are delicious in savory dishes. A steamed sweet potato has more moisture and, in my experience, is easier to work with. But you can make a delicious filling with a baked sweet potato.
1 large sweet potato (about 400 -600 grams), steamed or roasted.
Salt to taste
Up to ¼ butter or up to ¼ cream
½ tsp cumin or ½ tsp each thyme and tarragon
1 tsp lemon juice
Up to ¼ cup chopped walnuts
Puree the sweet potato in a food processor with the salt and any combination of options ingredients (except the walnuts) and process until smooth.
Mix in the optional walnuts, if using, after the sweet potatoes are pureed.
Layer the bottom of a tart shell
Layer on top of the shell grilled mushrooms and any other roasted vegetables you like.
Winter Squash/Kabocha Puree
If you can not find Japanese squash in your markets, a pumpkin, butternut or other winter squash will do nicely.
400 – 600 grams of Winter Squash/Kabocha, steamed or roasted
Salt to taste
Up to ¼ cup butter
¼-½ tsp chilie powder
roasted garlic (to taste) and ½ tsp thyme
1 tsp sherry vinegar
Up to ¼ cup walnuts
Puree your steamed or roasted squash with salt and whatever combination of the optional ingredients you like (except the walnuts).
Mix in the optional walnuts, if using, after the squash is pureed.
Layer in the bottom of a tart shell and layer with mushrooms and your favorite roasted vegetables.
After you’ve made your fillings, simply spread one of your fillings into a tart shell and layer the mushrooms on top. I add lots of other roasted vegetables to make pleasing presentations.