I grew up vegetarian; I have had meat three times in my life, two of which were accidents (children raised vegetarian will have difficulty identifying meat, especially when it looks like a veggie dog. They learn fast though, as their little bodies have a hard time digesting meat, having never had to before, and they will be quite ill from the experience. Those memories die hard.) and another was childhood curiosity. In the latter case, my mother let me try chicken that a neighbour was making and she knew her child well enough to know I’d be utterly disgusted by it. Living as a vegetarian family in Ottawa, the Green Door was our restaurant. It’s this amazing, bright, delicious, buffet-style place right next to a natural health food store, bookstore and eclectic clothing store. In addition to being a vegetarian child, I was also a very picky child and for years, all I’d eat at the Green Door was nacho chips and sesame seeds that were meant to be sprinkled on salads. I had lunch there today with my parents and they laughed at me, commenting how far I’d come: my plate was packed and almost 8 hours later, I’m still completely stuffed.
My mom gave me a copy of the Green Door cookbook when I moved out and it is very well-used; the pages are dog-eared and food-splattered. My favourite dish at the Green Door is this one, a tofu and vegetable stir fry. Did I also mention that I hated tofu for years? Yeah. I didn’t make life easy for my parents.
Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry
Source: The Green Door
- 1/3 cup olive oil (or less, if you’re like me and not into quasi-deep frying not because you think it’s unhealthy, but because you’re terrified that much hot oil)
- 1 block of firm tofu, sliced into small cubes (mine are about 1×1 cm, but the Green Door makes them much larger and they just take longer to cook)
- 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced diagonally
- 4-5 cups broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 bunch of green onions (including green parts), cut into 1 inch long pieces
- 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup water, divided
- 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger root
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp arrowroot
- Mix 1/2 cup water, tamari soy sauce, ginger root and garlic in a bowl and set aside – this is your sauce. Dissolve the arrowroot in remaining 1/4 cup of water and set aside – this is your glaze.
- Heat oil in wok or large frying pan over medium low heat. Saute tofu on all sides until evenly brown (10-15 minutes). Add carrots and cook 2 minutes. Add broccoli and stir until lightly cooked, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the sauce to the tofu and veggies and cook until broccoli is bright green but still firm (another 10 minutes or so). Add green onions, peppers and glaze. Stir until thick; vegetables should remain lightly cooked and crisp.
- Serve on its own or over rice and enjoy!
- Go out and buy the Green Door cookbook. You won’t regret it. Promise.