Has anyone watched the documentary on Netflix called “What the Health”? I really like food documentaries, but I do find them to be biased and fear mongering, and this one was definitely on the extreme fear mongering side. My first reaction after watching “What the Health” was to immediately become a vegan! But I know that is impossible – I love all kinds of food way too much and my husband would probably divorce me if I told him we were going to become a vegan household!
However, I do think there are legitimate health reasons to eat more plant-based foods and to limit animal and dairy products. I think ‘moderation’ is an approach not taken enough – our society tends to embrace the ‘all or nothing’ approach when it comes to diet and exercise. Also, our society tends to like labels – vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, etc. Can we just stop it already with the labels? What’s wrong with just trying to eat healthy most of the time without giving your food choices a label? Personally, I think labels introduce guilt and judgment, and life is hard enough without inflicting those emotions on myself and others!
Also, on a related side note: I’m always curious about those vegans who eat imitation cheese or imitation meat. Those imitation products are so processed – you can’t tell me that those processed imitation products are healthier than just having a piece of real cheese once in awhile?!
For me, I could never become an ‘all or nothing’ vegetarian or vegan, but I can take steps to limit the animal products that I eat and that my family eats. For one, I am going to make more of an effort to order the vegetarian option when I go out to fancy restaurants now. Most of the time, these vegetarian options are dishes that require more effort than I am willing to put into my cooking so I should take advantage of it! Secondly, I am going to make an effort to have one vegetarian dinner per week in our household, a “meatless Monday” if you will (except I can’t guarantee that it will be Mondays all the time).
So getting my husband to even adopt one meatless dinner per week is going to be tough. He’s a small town Saskatchewan boy, he likes his meat and potatoes, and he is a big eater. If I’m going to make a vegetarian dinner, it needs to be hearty!
My first ‘meatless Monday’ dish was a braised mushroom and tofu dish, Asian-style. You guys, this was my first time buying tofu! I went to the Asian food store in Regina here, and bought the tofu as well as a dark and light soy sauce since we had run out.
I bought my shiitake mushrooms at the Asian food store as well. I was looking for dried shiitake mushrooms as they have more flavour than fresh, but they only had fresh ones. You can use dried shiitake if that’s what you have, just soak them in water for about 20 minutes before cooking. For the tofu, you’ll have to deep fry it for a few minutes until it is golden brown. I just used a small pot with enough canola oil to submerge the tofu pieces. I wish I had an Acti-fry though – that would be a healthier preparation for the tofu. I’ll have to put Acti-fry on my wish list of kitchen supplies.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! I served this dish with some jasmine rice and a side of sliced cucumbers to dip into the delicious sauce. The husband said it tasted great, but both he and I were still kind of hungry after (we are both big eaters though!).
What are some of your favourite vegetarian recipes?
Braised Mushroom and TofuPrint Recipe
- 1 box firm tofu
- Canola oil to deep fry the tofu
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8-10 shiitake mushrooms (if dried, soak in warm water for 20 minutes before cooking)
- 2 bunches of bok choy, wash and chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp water + 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 stalk green onions, chopped
Cut the tofu into 1-2 inch rectangles and pat dry with paper towels. Heat up a wok/deep fryer/pot with enough oil to submerge the tofu pieces and deep fry them until they are golden brown (about 10 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon and set them aside on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
Heat up a medium sized pot and add 1 tbsp of oil. Add the minced garlic, and stirfry for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, bok choy and the fried tofu.
Add the soy sauces, oyster sauce, sugar and water, and give it a stir.
Cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat to low, and let it braise for 15 minutes.
Add in the corn starch slurry, stir and let the pot sit on low heat for 5 more minutes uncovered on the stove.
Add in the green onion and serve immediately with jasmine rice.