Experimenting with vegan food as a first timer
By David Douglas, Contributor
My girlfriend decided she wants to try being a vegan for its various health benefits—and went into great detail to try and convert me. I, the loving partner and vocal bacon advocate, reluctantly agreed to support her decision by trying this lifestyle with her. This was one of the first vegan meals I tried as a non-vegan.
Jollof is a varied rice dish, popular in several West African countries. Usually prepared in a single pot, it can have any number of ingredients and has many variations.
West African inspired jollof rice with
pan-fried BBQ tofu and mushrooms!
2 cups basmati rice (prepared)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 can tomato sauce
1 whole vine tomato (diced)
1 small purple onion (diced)
1 red pepper (diced)
1 chili pepper (minced)
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 or 6 brown mushrooms (diced)
150 to 200 g extra firm tofu (sliced)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
75 ml (2 oz) BBQ Sauce
salt to taste
1 sprig of dill (to garnish)
While your rice is in the cooker, carefully drop the onions and red peppers with the minced chili pepper and thyme in a high walled pot with oil on medium heat for about five minutes or until the onions become clear and aromatic, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and a sprinkle of salt and cook for a few more minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and reduce the heat. Allow that to simmer until your rice is almost done!
Heat a large skillet with the remaining oil. Place the tofu slices around the edges of the pot so that they are in the oil and put the mushrooms in the middle. Without flipping the tofu, stir the mushrooms around to coat with the oil. Once the Maillard reaction (browning and flavouring) has occurred and a nice crust has formed on the tofu, use a fork to flip them. Now that the other side is cooking, pour the BBQ sauce over the mushrooms and keep stirring them, allowing the sauce to creep over the tofu. Reduce heat to a medium and let the sauce thicken.
adding the rice to your tomato sauce on your back burner while looking after
your BBQ tofu. Once your tofu has darker edges and your rice is mixed into the
tomato sauce, you are ready to serve—with a sprig of dill to make it look
It was my first time working with tofu. Again,
the carnivore in me was skeptical of it being able to replace my paleolithic
meat urges and the chef in me felt intimidated by new ingredients and
techniques. Luckily, I also have my girlfriend here to support me when I needed
help. It turned out pretty well for a vegan meal!