Slow-cooker tofu bulgogi

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d find those irritating one-minute cooking videos (you know, the kind people share on Facebook that usually feature an entire brick of cream cheese?) useful to me. But lo and behold, one of my foodie cousins shared a video that must have started autoplaying before I was playing attention (when the first frame says “2 lbs of flank steak” I’m likely to feel ill before I even consider moving forward in the video) because I actually found myself thinking, “Hmm, I could veganize this.”

We don’t use our slow-cooker very much (Jarrod has pointed out that it’s older than me), but after getting a ton of shit done on Saturday, I decided I’d earned a less “involved” dinner. To the slow-cooker!

(A note: I have a reservation around slow-cookers because of one of my university roommates. For the Super Bowl one year he decided to slow-cook a bunch of pulled pork and the end result was our tiny kitchen covered floor to ceiling in BBQ sauce. The next year we told him he had to keep the slow cooker in his room for the occasion, which resulted in pulled pork growing blue and white fuzzies several months later. Eeeeeeeewwwww. Sorry, you’re trying to get in the mood for food).

On top of veganizing the recipe I saw by swapping out steak for tofu and mushrooms, I significantly reduced the amount of sugar because I’m not a huge fan of the syrupy-sweet recipes (I prefer a bit more of a stew-like sauce) and slightly reduced the amount of cornstarch. Upon re-testing I reduced the amount of soy sauce from 3/4 cup to 1/2 because the end result the first time was a bit more liquid-y and salty than I would have liked, but you can feel free to go up to that 3/4 cup if you’re feeling messy. I also added a few spices of my own liking and, voila — tofu bulgogi!

Slow-Cooker Tofu Bulgogi

Prep time: <10 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Yield: Four servings
Allergen info: Gluten-free, nut-free
Kitchen tools required: Slow-cooker, knives and cutting board, grater, rice cooker or pot for rice

Ingredients

  • 25o ml (1 cup) uncooked brown rice
  • One block extra-firm tofu (must be extra-firm — anything less will turn to mush in this recipe)
  • 30-45 ml (2-3 tbsp) corn starch or arrowroot starch
  • 375 ml (1.5 cups) mixed mushrooms
  • 187 ml (3/4 cup) grated carrots
  • 187 ml (3/4 cup) water
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce, tamari or Braggs
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) brown rice syrup
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) sesame oil
  • Three cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) grated ginger
  • 0.62 (1/4 tsp) chilli flakes
  • Two green onions, sliced thin
  • Alfalfa sprouts, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Press the tofu and chop into 1″ cubes.
  2. Using a bag or large bowl, coat the tofu evenly in the corn starch.
  3. Turn your slow-cooker to high and add the tofu and mushrooms.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, evenly mix the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, sugar, brown rice syrup and chilli flakes. Pour over the tofu and mushrooms in the slow-cooker.
  5. Cover and let cook for two hours on high.
  6. After two hours, add the carrots and let cook for another hour.
  7. In the final hour, use whatever time you need to make your rice in a pot or rice cooker.
  8. Serve the tofu/mushroom mix over rice — om nom nom!

It’s still comfort-food season, meaning use that slow cooker! Let me know some of your favourite vegan slow-cooker recipe in the comments.

About Bree Rody-Mantha

Chronically sarcastic ethical vegan living in Toronto. Unapologetically open about my struggles with mental health. Climber, dancer, journalist. They say I'm "quirky."

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