What keeps me up at night… making a vegan version of Tomato Egg Stir-Fry (番茄炒蛋) that does the original dish justice.
Tomato Egg Stir-Fry is the quintessential Taiwanese comfort food. As a Taiwanese boy, I practically grew up eating this dish both at home and in restaurants. Traditionally, it consists of just two principle ingredients, tomatoes and eggs, and takes only a good 10 minutes to prepare, but really packs the most harmonious flavors and textures. For the longest time, I’ve tried to make a worthy vegan version of the simple stir-fry, but to no avail. I’ve tried making it with tofu, which ended up being too mushy, and chickpea “egg,” which is a great omelette alternative but also cannot achieve that soft & smooth texture I was after. Japanese Tofu Pouches (Abura-Age) is by far the best approximation — I couldn’t be happier when I discovered it.
Abura-Age (油揚げ) is a type of Japanese fried tofu pouch typically used for soups, hot pot, or sides like inarizushi. It’s basically very thin sheets of tofu that’s been deep fried to golden-brown and light & airy.
In this recipe, I tear them apart to make them resemble large chunks of scrambled egg. I then simmered them lightly, dyed them with a bit of turmeric, and seasoned them with black salt (kala namak) to get them on par with Taiwanese-style scrambled eggs (the type you usually see in a tomato egg stir-fry dish).
The result: light, airy tofu pockets paired with tart, tangy tomatoes nearly as good as the original dish. And you guessed it, this vegan version doesn’t take much time to prepare either.