When I first decided I no longer wanted to eat meat, I was interested to hear that my mother had been a vegetarian at one point in her life. She encouraged me to learn more about the lifestyle, and even unearthed some of her old vegetarian cookbooks for me to pick through. You know how sometimes you’ll browse different blogs or websites, bookmarking dozens of recipes that sound or look good even though you’ll probably never get around to making them? Well, that’s basically what I did with her cookbooks. I stuck little post-it note pieces between the pages of every single recipe that sounded remotely appealing.
One particular recipe that stood out to me right away was a sukiyaki recipe. I’d never heard of the dish before, but I’d been a long-time lover of all things Japanese, so of course I wanted to try it out. My mom helped me assemble the ingredients and cook it the first time, and it’s been a keeper ever since because my family thought it was so delicious. It does take a bit of work to prepare, so I’d recommend enlisting some help for at least cutting all the vegetables. It’s not one of those quick, thirty-minute recipes to whip up, so you may want to save it for a day you’ll have some extra time to allot to dinner.
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil Canola, Vegetable, or Olive Oil
- 1 lb Firm or Extra Firm Tofu Cut into 1/3 inch slices
- 4 Cups whole white button mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms (if available) I actually like to slice these in half, to make them more bite-sized
- 1/2 Butternut Squash
- 2 Zucchini cut into thick slices
- 1/4 Cup Honey
- 1 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Dry Sherry
- 1/2 – 1 Cup Water
- 6 Cups Coarsely chopped kale, mustard greens, or collard greens I’ve tried using several different greens in it, but the kale option is my all-time favorite. Also, I love vegetables, so I probably use closer to 8 cups of kale…or maybe 10, I don’t really measure it, I just keep going until it looks right to me.
- 1 Onion or 4 bunches scallions, both the green and white parts, cut into 3-in lengths
- 1 Teaspoon Ginger
- Cooked Rice for serving
- Assemble your ingredients. Chop all the vegetables and slice the tofu (believe me, this makes things much easier on you later, rather than trying to chop the vegetables as you go along). Press your tofu a bit first, to help get rid of some of the extra moisture in it.
- Heat about 1.5 t of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Cook the tofu slices on both sides, stirring, until well browned (about 15 to 20 minutes). You’ll be able to tell when it’s time to flip the pieces over because the edges start changing color (as circled in red).
Don’t freak out if your tofu breaks up on you. As you can see, mine isn’t perfect either. I promise it’ll still taste delicious.
- Slide the tofu to one side of the pan (or if the pan you use is too small for both the mushrooms and tofu, you can always take it out and add it back in later). If need be, add another teaspoon of oil and then add the mushrooms, cooking until browned.
- Push the mushrooms to the side, then add the squash, onion, and zucchini.
- Combine soy sauce with the honey, sherry, and ½ c water; pour over vegetables, and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 5 minutes. I actually had to transfer everything to a larger pot, because all the kale wouldn’t fit! This entire pot was filled to the brim. You can see how much it all cooked down.
- In separate piles, add as many of the greens (and scallions and bean sprouts, if using) as will fit in the pan. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes more.
- Stir in the ginger and cook another minute, adding more water (up to the remaining ½ c) as necessary.
- And you’re done! Not the most photogenic dish, but it sure is tasty. Serve over rice.
Source: Adapted from the (1995) Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook, by the editors of the Vegetarian Times and Lucy Moll.