One of the common side effects of visiting the Old Country is the fact that one ends up spending lots of time with friends and relatives, and therefore ends up eating out quite often and barely cooks. “One” meaning me. Fortunately, Tel Aviv restaurants boast an abundance of vegetables, grains, and beans, and it’s quite easy to eat healthful and delicious foods. Only yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting at Puah, a delightful place in Jaffa’s flea market, and eating quinoa with vegetables and mung beans in tchina, tomatoes, and spinach.

However, this morning my foodmaking instincts pushed me into the kitchen. This surprising step may have had something to do with the towering stack of exams I’m grading, which act as a wonderful incentive for cleaning the house, ironing shirts, and doing any other sort of menial labor. Not that these exams, in specific, aren’t good or interesting. It’s just a universal feature of exam grading. Many homemaking and other chores would never get done had their performers not had a pile of exams to grade as an alternative.

Anyway, I craved egg salad, and I didn’t want to make it with eggs. I grabbed a couple of recipes from The Tofu Book, a local vegan bible authored by legendary Zehoorit Sheiikhi-Bloom, which my dear pal and master vegan cook Amit photocopied for me a couple of days ago. Faithful readers may recall Amit from the fabulous tchina cookies we made a while ago, and will therefore have ample cause to trust him; and the recipes are, indeed, excellent. Alas, I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I had to make the alchemy work with what I had at home. So, here, for your enjoyment, are all three recipes.

The Quick and Easy One

300 grams tofu
1/3 cup tofu-based mayo (here I would use Shizen Tofu; North American readers are warmly recommended Vegenaise)
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 chopped green pepper
1 chopped celery stalk
2 chopped green onions
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric

Drain, dry and crumble tofu. Mix with other ingredients. Serve cold.

The Rich One

450 grams tofu
3 tbsps mayo
2 tbsps oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tsp dry dill
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp sesame
2 tsp brewers’ yeast (optional)
1 1/2 tsp mustard
2 chopped green onions
1 chopped celery stalk
1/2 chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
paprika, salt and pepper to taste

Drain, dry and crumble tofu. Heat up oil in pan, lightly fry tofu and drain again (optional). Place tofu in bowl and mix with other ingredients.

The One I Made

300 gr tofu
1/3 cup tofu mayo
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin

Drain, dry and crumble tofu. Mix with all other ingredients.

P.S. my version improves when green onions and celery are added; I added them a few hours later and they made the whole thing taste even better. This makes a great meal with a nice salad on the side.

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