1 medium onion
2 cups bite-size broccoli florets
½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
¼ head green cabbage, cored and sliced
½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
3 ounces fresh shiitake or other mushrooms, stemmed
About 1 cup water
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 piece (5 inches) ginger, peeled
⅔ cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine) or dry sherry or sweet marsala
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 container (14 ounces) firm tofu, drained and cut into ¾-inch cubes
½ bunch watercress, stems removed
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 sheet nori (seaweed) cut into thin strips (optional)
Quarter the onion through the stem end, leaving the quarters connected. Remove the peel. Place in the middle of a large skillet. Arrange the broccoli, squash, carrots, cabbage, sugar snap peas and mushrooms in clusters around the onion, keeping each vegetable separate from the other and arranging so that the colors are balanced and attractive. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the pan. Cover and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the squash is crisp-tender, about 12 minutes
Meanwhile, finely grate the ginger over a paper towel or sheet of cheesecloth, and then squeeze the pulp to extract 2 teaspoons of ginger juice. Place in a bowl with the mirin and tamari. Add the tofu, and toss to coat.
Spoon the tofu mixture over the vegetables, and simmer uncovered until the tofu is hot, about 5 minutes. Add the watercress and simmer until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, and set it on a trivet in the middle of the table.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice: Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and sesame seeds, and cook just until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Divide the rice among four bowls or plates, and invite diners to select vegetables. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over each serving. Pass the scallions and nori strips for garnish.
"Vegan Family Meals" by Ann Gentry (2011 Andrews McMeel)