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To-Fu Young

A healthy twist on our favorite classic Chinese take-out dish.  Tofu has a cooling effect on our bodies, as well as being high in protein and calcium--and low in fat.  It’s relaxing energy makes it  great de-stressing comfort food.  The hiziki adds dramatic flavor and lots of minerals; the shiitake gravy cleanses the blood and aids the body in digesting the protein.  And the sautéing brings just the right touch of vitality so you don’t relax into the twilight zone...

Ingredients

1 pound extra firm tofu, finely crumbled
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened organic almond milk
1 cup mung bean sprouts
½ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
6-8 fresh scallions, minced
1/3 cup soaked hiziki, minced
1 cup button mushrooms, brushed free of dirt and thinly sliced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated, juice extracted
soy sauce
avocado oil
several snow peas, trimmed, lightly blanched for garnish


Shiitake Gravy:
1 small onion, diced
5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until tender, thinly sliced
3 cups spring or filtered water
soy sauce
2 teaspoons kuzu or arrowroot, dissolved in small amount of cold water

Directions
Crumble the tofu as finely as you can.  Mix in the flour and almond milk, creating a thick batter.  Fold in sprouts, seeds, scallions, hiziki, mushrooms, ginger juice and soy sauce to taste.  The batter should be fairly stiff, so you may need to add flour if it feels too wet or soft.  The batter should be spoonable, but soft.  

Pour oil in a deep skillet to just cover the surface and place over medium heat. Drop generous spoons of batter onto the hot skillet--you want to create 3-inch pancake rounds.  Cook the pancakes until golden brown, turning carefully to brown both sides.  Drain on paper and transfer to a baking sheet.  Keep cooked cakes in a warm oven while using the balance of the batter to make more pancakes.
  
Make the gravy by combining the onion and shiitake with water.  Season to taste with soy sauce and bring to a boil, covered.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the shiitake and onions are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in dissolved kuzu/arrowroot, stirring until gravy thickens and clears.  Serve on a bed of whole grain noodles or brown rice, smothered in gravy.  Makes 4-6 servings.



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