For years, one of my favorite dishes to make on Sukkot was egg foo yung. I love all the crunchy vegetables (I love vegetables, period), and somehow find it an appropriate entree for the fall harvest season. So I was wondering how to make a vegan version of this dish, and the flax seed version just didn’t fly. Someone suggested I try substituting tofu for the eggs, and with a bit of experimentation, have come up with a recipe I love. They’re really good, and a special treat on Shabbos. Even the non vegans in my house are happy to eat them. It may look like a lot of steps, but you can simplify this one an awful lot. For example, you can just mash the tofu with your hands instead of in the food processor to save time and dish washing. But I love my food processor, in case you didn’t notice!
Here then, is my recipe. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you would prefer, using the ideas I’ve given in the recipe below, or choose others you’d be happy with. Hint: this is a great way to use up leftovers, if you’ve got them. (grated carrots, shredded cabbage, thinly sliced onions, shitake mushrooms, are some possibilities).
You’ll notice that I’ve asked for half the can of both the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Using the whole can makes the patties too dense and they break when you try to transfer them to a plate, as I learned in my early experiments with this recipe. So your options are: either make this two weeks in a row to use up the leftover vegetables, as I do because we like them so much, or else use up the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots by adding to a green salad, with some orange slices and slivered almonds for an easy Asian salad.
Betayavon! Eat Hearty. Enjoy.
One pound of tofu, rinsed, weighted down so all the moisture will drain from it
1 Tablespoon sesame oil, plus another 2 teaspoons
1 Tablespoon Tamari sauce, plus another 2 teaspoons
2 bunches of scallions
3 inch piece of fresh ginger root
4 oz. water chestnuts (half a can) drained, and sliced in thin strips
4 oz. bamboo shoots, (half a can), drained and cut into halves lengthwise
10-12 oz. bean sprouts, washed and drained
6 small or three large mushrooms, sliced thin
No stick olive oil spray or olive oil
cutting board and sharp knife
cast iron pan or wok, spatula or large spoon for stirring
Large ovenproof pan, preferably cast iron, spatula
Open package of tofu, rinse and dry pat it dry. Slice tofu in half lengthwise, and weight it down with a cast iron pan or plates so that the tofu will expel the excess moisture that you want it to release. In the meantime, open the cans of water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and rinse and drain them in
the colander. Peel and dice the ginger root, wash and slice the scallions-just the while part and the very beginning of the green part. Wash and dry the mushrooms and slice them thin. Rinse the bamboo shoots and let the water drain through the colander. By now, the tofu has released moisture that you should drain off.
Put the tofu into the food processor with one tablespoon of sesame oil and one tablespoon of tamari, and pulse until your mixture resembles scrambled egg whites or runny mashed potatoes. You now have mashed tofu. You could accomplish this step using only your hands, just mashing it up between your hands or with the back of a spoon or fork, and get the same results. But as you know, I use my food processor a lot. Remove the “S” blade from the bottom of the food processor, or if you mashed the tofu with your hands, it will be in a large bowl to which you’ll add the vegetables as soon as you’ve prepared them.
Here’s how to prepare the vegetables. Just wipe off the bottom of the wok or cast iron pan that you used as to weight down your tofu, and heat 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, add half the scallions and half the ginger root. You will use the remaining scallions and ginger root when cooking the patties.
Sauté for 2 minutes, and then add the bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and mushrooms. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 2 teaspoons of tamari, and stir another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes before combining with the tofu mixture.
Preheat the oven to 425. Spray or grease a large pan. From this recipe, I usually make seven or eight tofu yung patties per batch, so use a big pan if you have one or two smaller ones. Before placing the mixture on the pan, I put the remaining (raw) scallions and (raw) ginger root in the center of where I plan to put the six patties, which sounds much more complicated than it is, but I love the taste the raw and cooked ginger and scallions combine to give this dish! Feel free to skip this step entirely.
Now form the patties and place each one on top of your little pile of scallions and ginger.
Bake your tofu yung patties in a 425 degree oven until they hold together, approximately 40 minutes. Let them cool on the pan before removing to serving platter, dinner plate, or glass
container, if you will store them for another time. They store well and can be reheated in a hot oven for a few minutes until they are warm and crisp.