August 16, 2020

Spicy Tofu & Cauliflower Pad Thai. {Recipe}

Author's own

Why did I buy spicy, oily tofu when I always buy an extra firm plain one?

I opened the refrigerator door with one eye closed since the 1970s disco dancing flickering lights, all of them, were flashing non-stop. Yes, I called maintenance; they need to order a special bulb for the back of the fridge which controls all the lights. And yes, it is Friday, so sometime next week our eyes will have peace.

That’s okay, I flashed back to disco-dancing in snazzy dresses until the last call for alcohol. Dave at the mic—great voice, who could sing all the tunes with passion and heat, Carl on the guitar, and others too. Good music, flashing lights, and good friends who liked to twirl and whirl.

Back to mealtime prep. Tofu—check; tamari—check; ginger—check; wasabi—why not; hmmm, cauliflower only has a day or two left—check.

Cabinet to the bottom left: sesame oil, pad thai noodles, rice wine vinegar.

Cabinet to the top right: red pepper flakes and organic corn starch—check and check.

As I added filtered water into the red eco-friendly pot and while waiting for it to boil, I removed the foil from the tofu and remembered its oily feel and strong spices. Never again. But, getting into the smell and feel, as well as sight, is part of the initial and important stage of our digestive process.

Glad I learned to lightly coat tofu with corn starch if I want a crispy result, and that I did. My fingers and palms were sliding around the bamboo cutting board and my ceramic knife was precariously lying on the edge. Geesh, this tofu is slippery as an eel. The first time Pappa took me fishing, I think I was nine; I caught an eel, followed by a catfish—no worries, it was catch and release.

Back to 2020, the year that is 1,460 days long—never buy this tofu again.

Time to coat the tofu: I usually use a plate or cutting board to scatter the corn starch lightly and flip the bite-sized pieces over it, but today I decided to shake-n-bake style it by putting corn starch in a small parchment bag, followed by the slippery tofu, more corn starch, and shake it up. This did not work as well for me—I overdid the powder and had to gently finger-remove some as I placed it in the hot pot with sesame oil. But, you pick the method that works best for you. Remember, it is only to make it crispy; otherwise, it is not needed.

So now for the ingredients and remaining process.

Spicy Tofu and Cauliflower Pad Thai

Ingredients and Extras

Tofu of choice: read the package to select the serving size

Cauliflower: as desired

Red bell pepper: it was what I had in the disco-dancing fridge; any veggies you desire would work too

Sesame oil


Rice wine vinegar

Red pepper flakes or any hot spices if you want heat

Ginger: fresh; grated or chopped; I also used some minced

Pad thai or very thin rice noodles unless you want a different base

Filtered water

Cutting board: I like my bamboo one, but this is not about me

Sharp knife: I use ceramic

Small glass bowl

Large bowl or plate of choice

Pot: only one needed


The remaining steps

In the small glass bowl, add red pepper flakes, ginger, rice wine vinegar, tamari, and whisk with any utensil you have on hand. This is the sauce.

I just used a tiny spoon, one that I use to scoop spices, stir my coffee. I have four—a friend gave them to me years ago, along with a teapot, and some loose tea. Penny was introducing me to the art of afternoon tea.

You’ve already cooked the noodles and drained them and set them aside. The tofu has been coated (refer above) and put into the hot pot with sesame oil. After about three minutes per side, add the sauce and the remaining veggies.

I gave it another three minutes or so, then gently dumped the cooked noodles in and lightly tossed. All thoughts of fond memories floated away and only a lingering smile remained.

Gently fold the meal into a bowl or plate of choice. I decided to use the last of the wasabi and squeeze little slivers into three places, then with a fork, hide them. The real fun is when your tongue finds that fire.

I decided to use my new bamboo chopsticks to hopefully slow down my eating. The sights, smells, and sounds had already started my digestive juices flowing about 20 or so minutes ago.

A round of gratitude to these food items, to the farmers, and all the folks interconnected with me through this experience. Even gratitude to those in my memory journeys during the cooking process.

Gratitude to those who read this, and if you choose to make it, make it yours, and please share your ideas with all of us.

We are all connected, interdependent. With love, kindness, and peace we will be part of this new paradigm shift—connected to the earth, to each other, to all beings, human and not.


Bonus recipe: Chunky Smashed Potatoes with ‘Shrooms. {Recipe}

For a whole bunch of delicious recipes, scroll through my author page.


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