Veggin’ out

I love spicy food – the hotter it is, the better I like it. Some like their food more spicy than others and some don’t like spice at all. But if you crave the heat, I have a few recipes that you will love. You also can control the heat in my recipes to your liking.

Every so often I go out with a few of my friends for “girl’s night” – and if girl’s night happens to fall on a Tuesday, it becomes “tofu Tuesday.” Almost always on the menu for tofu Tuesday are tofu wings, which have become popular in a few local restaurants lately.

I loved tofu wings so much, I decided to make them at home. They aren’t as delicious as those made at the restaurants, but that’s just because I haven’t perfected the sauce yet.

Tofu wings

1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

Canola oil

Hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot, Tapatio, or your favorite)

I tablespoon butter (non-dairy for vegans)

Drain and press tofu. To press, place tofu block on a cutting board in the kitchen sink. Fold a few paper towels and put them on top of the tofu block. Place five or six heavy plates on top of the paper towels. I press my tofu for about an hour.

When finished pressing, cut the tofu into small blocks or strips. If you have a deep fryer, deep fry the tofu blocks until they start to get a little crispy. If you don’t have a deep fryer, put canola oil in a deep frying pan and fry on stove top. Don’t over fry the tofu, as it can get hard and dry.

Combine a few squirts of hot sauce with butter and melt in the microwave. Toss tofu with the sauce. Serve with blue cheese or ranch, or non-dairy dipping sauce.

Also try tofu wings with barbecue sauce, honey mustard or make up your own sauce.

Another one of my favorite spicy foods is Chinese hot and sour soup. Some may not like soup in the summer, but I love it any time of the year.

Hot and sour soup

1/2 block extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed

2 cups mushrooms (shitake, crimini, any you like – mix a few together), sliced

6 cups vegetable broth

1 small can bamboo shoots

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup scallions, sliced

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons chili oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring broth to a simmer and add all ingredients except scallions and chili oil. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Stir in chili oil and scallions and simmer for about three more minutes. Add additional chili oil, hot sauce, soy sauce or vinegar to taste.

Reppert is the Lifestyle and Education editor at the Sun-Gazette. Her column is published on the second Wednesday of each month.