This is my husband's recipe. He said this is very delicious (and I saw it was true while watching him eat), but unfortunately, I don't like egg and natto so I will have to take a photo of my own version next time-- which means I need to prepare my recipe an hour before I get hungry next time just so I can have a food pictorial.
But while waiting for my version, I suggest you give this a try!
**Natto・納豆・なっとう is a Japanese food which means fermented soybeans. It can be bought in packs of three and each pack has an accompanying sachet of sauce, usually with dashi or soup stock made from fish and other things. So if you're a vegetarian, you'll have to use soy sauce instead of that sauce pack.
**Udon・うどん is thick Japanese wheat noodles usually used in soups, and dry and fried noodle dishes.
Tips and tricks
The frozen udon I used is ready after one minute of boiling. You may use other kinds of udon but my husband's favorite kind of udon is the frozen type, and it lasts in the freezer for long so we can just pull it out anytime and quickly cook udon whenever we want.
Neither my husband nor I have ever tasted the original Mexican tacos. And I'm not sure if this is my second or third time to cook tacos, nevertheless, it's a recipe I am very proud to declare as a "must-try!"
The first and only tacos I've ever eaten from the moment I was born til a week ago was that cooked by a vegetarian friend probably 8 years ago. But that moment of gastronomic experience lives in me until now. She used ground textured soy protein then, but I used frozen-and-thawed tofu-- a very accessible ingredient for a wonderful ground-beefy effect.
2. Put a nonstick pan over medium high heat then pour oil as soon as it gets hot.
3. When the oil is hot, toss in the tofu bits and season with black pepper, ajinomoto,
cumin, chili powder and soy sauce. Mix well and stir-fry until some tofu bits are
quite brown and crunchy.
4. Toss in the tomatoes. I used canned tomatoes because fresh tomatoes here are quite
expensive. But if you're using canned tomatoes too, you should scoop out the tomato
chunks using a fork to minimize wetting the ground tofu taco filling or else you'll
end up with soggy tacos.
5. Add sugar and mix well for 2-3 minutes. Turn off fire.
Tips and tricks
The way my husband and I enjoy eating this is, first, having a bite on the taco, munch it a little followed by a bite on the paprika strips-- this way, the paprika gives a burst of refreshing sweetness to the whole taco! I tried biting the paprika simultaneously with the rest of the taco and the effect was different-- the paprika just blended in very subtly, almost unrecognizable, to the strong cumin and soy sauce flavor.
I first tasted this recipe when my mother-in-law cooked it for dinner on the night my husband introduced me to his family as his girlfriend. That moment, I made an oath to replicate the recipe. After a number of versions, I finally got the motivation and measuring spoons to standardize. ^_~
① Two kinds of mushroom stir-fried and stuffed in tofu rolled in potato starch then fried. Sauce poured over the stuffing.
② Red and yellow paprika stir-fried with eggplant and shimeji mushroom, stuffed into fried silken tofu then poured with gingered sweet and soy sauce.
③ Mashed silken tofu mixed with chopped shiitake mushroom, formed into balls then fried. Topped with grated radish and gingered sweet and soy sauce.
Here are some fried dishes my mother-in-law cooked for me and served with gingered sweet and soy sauce!
④ Mashed soy beans sandwiched between two eggplant halves then dipped in potato starch before frying.
⑤ Fried tofu and gingered sweet and soy sauce-- but it looks like my mother in law forgot to cook grated ginger with the sauce so she creatively topped the whole dish with grated ginger instead. It was very delicious!
This dish is one of my and my husband's favorites. We have this once a week, like spaghetti. Do you need more convincing on how wonderful this recipe is? ^_~
It looks difficult because of the many layers of flavor pad Thai has, but it actually isn't! It is actually simple and quick, if you follow the recipe. And don't worry about the ingredients-- below, I wrote some tips and alternatives if some of the ingredients are not available in your area.
Tips and tricks
If you don't have chili bean paste: Just use the best chili flakes or powder you have.
If you don't have aburaage: The thing with aburaage is, it absorbs some of the pad Thai sauce, giving you a burst of flavor when you bite into it. So if you don't have aburaage, deep fry tofu then use it the same way you'll use aburaage in the recipe. Or, just do what I did-- add more vegetables. It's delicious-- just less the burst of flavor.
This is what's currently trending in my kitchen.
One night, my mother-in-law cooked it for dinner and ever since then my husband has been asking me to cook the same dish for him. I've cooked this probably 5 times the past 5 or 6 weeks. But each time I matched it with different sauces. Once with a simple white sauce, then with quick pesTomato sauce, then with gli spaghetti alla primavera sauce, and recycled lettuce-bell pepper salad turned into tomato red spaghetti sauce. My husband is not a fan of white sauces but all versions were successful. But I'd recommend basil pesto or pesTomato sauce-- basil really put wonders to simply delicious meal.
A vegetarian for 12 years and a kitchen warrior since I moved in to Japan, my favorite battle has been winning over my husband's interestingly complicated taste buds.