Our 10 best tofu recipes

Whether quiv­er­ing and silken or firm and nutty, it's about time tofu took cen­tre stage. Try it in steam­ing hot stews, cool and creamy dips, or light and fra­grant side sal­ads

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - An­drew Dar­gue, vanil­l­ablack.co.uk

1 BLACK SESAME-COATED TOFU WITH BROC­COLI AND LEMON-GLAZED NOODLES (ON THE COVER)

30 mins

Sesame and tofu are an ex­cel­lent pair­ing, the seeds giv­ing crunch and a nutty sharp­ness to the creami­ness of the tofu. Firm tofu holds its shape and coat­ing well when fried.

Serves 4

1 egg, beaten

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 gar­lic clove

250g firm tofu

5 tbsp black sesame seeds

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tbsp caster sugar

Sun­flower oil, for fry­ing

1 head of broc­coli, cut into bite-size flo­rets

250g egg noodles

Salt

A small bunch of co­rian­der, chopped

2 spring onions, rinsed and very finely sliced

Light sesame oil, for driz­zling

1 Mix the beaten egg with 1 tbsp of the dark soy sauce. Bash the gar­lic with the han­dle of your knife to crack it, re­move the skin, then add the clove to the egg mix­ture.

2 Slice the tofu into squares about 1cm thick, lay them on kitchen pa­per to re­move ex­cess wa­ter, turn­ing to dry both sides. Be care­ful not to break the squares: the tofu is frag­ile.

3 Sprin­kle the sesame seeds on a plate. Dip the tofu into the egg mix, al­low the ex­cess to drip off, then coat in the sesame seeds. Trans­fer to an­other clean plate. Dis­card the gar­lic when you have fin­ished dip­ping.

4 Add the lemon juice, sugar and re­main­ing 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce to a small saucepan and sim­mer for 5 min­utes, or un­til the glaze has re­duced by half. Keep to one side.

5 Heat a driz­zle of sun­flower oil in a large fry­ing pan un­til very hot, then care­fully add the broc­coli. Cook for 30 sec­onds, then re­duce the heat to medium for an­other 2 min­utes. Don’t worry if they catch a lit­tle: the charred bits give the dish ex­tra flavour. They need to still have a bit of a crunch, so try a piece of the broc­coli to test if they’re ready. Sea­son with salt, then re­move the flo­rets and wipe the pan with kitchen pa­per.

6 Cook the noodles in boil­ing wa­ter for around 5-8 min­utes, or fol­low the packet in­struc­tions.

7 Mean­while, heat a driz­zle of sun­flower oil in the fry­ing pan you used for the broc­coli (saves on wash­ing up) and, when hot, care­fully add the tofu. Lower the heat to medium to pre­vent the sesame seeds burning, then cook for two min­utes on both sides.

8 By now your noodles should be cooked, so drain very well, then add them back to the saucepan. Fold in the lemon glaze, then the cooked broc­coli.

9 Add the noodles to your plates, top with the co­rian­der and finely sliced spring onions, then driz­zle with a lit­tle sesame oil. Fi­nally, add the tofu and serve.

2 TOFU MISO HUM­MUS

30 mins

The silken tofu is great as a base for a dip or spread. Here tahini, gar­lic and miso bring a rich trio of flavours. Try sub­sti­tut­ing 75g of tofu for chick­peas for a flavourful twist.

Serves 4

1 gar­lic clove, crushed

150g silken tofu

4 tbsp tahini

Juice from ½ lemon

4 tbsp of peanut or olive oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

½ tbsp white miso

Salt and black pep­per

2 tbsp chopped chives

1 Vig­or­ously whisk the gar­lic, tofu and tahini in a small bowl, then stir through all the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents and whisk again.

2 Sprin­kle with chopped chives, then serve. Yuki Gomi, yukiskitchen.com

3 HON­EYED TOMATO WITH TOFU

30 mins

Here tofu takes the place of the more con­ven­tional moz­zarella in a tomato salad, and it works won­der­fully. Sub­tle, moist and fresh, it sits beau­ti­fully with the herbs and fruit, and car­ries the umami dress­ing with poise.

Serves 3-4 1 large tomato, de­seeded and cut into 1cm pieces 1 large shal­lot, finely chopped

350g block of silken or firm tofu, cut into cubes

A few small co­rian­der leaves

For the dress­ing 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp bal­samic vine­gar 1 tbsp soy sauce

1 Put the tomato and shal­lot into a small bowl. Mix all the in­gre­di­ents for the dress­ing and add to the bowl. Mix well and put in the fridge for 30 min­utes.

2 Spread the tofu on a plate and scat­ter the tomato and shal­lots on top. Dress with the co­rian­der leaves.

Makiko Sano, Shoku-Iku (Quadrille)

4 KOREAN STEW

30 mins

Soon­dubu jji­gae is made with del­i­cate, un­cur­dled tofu, which contrasts bril­liantly with the bold Korean flavours of this steamy stew. Serve sim­ply with a bowl of plain boiled rice. Serves 1-2

2 tsp Korean red chilli pep­per flakes 1 tsp sesame oil 3 mush­rooms, diced ¼ small onion, diced 1 gar­lic clove, crushed 1 tsp soy sauce 235ml wa­ter or veg­etable stock 350g ex­tra soft tofu, sliced into large chunks ½ small cour­gette, diced Salt and black pep­per 1 green or red chilli pep­per, thinly sliced 1 spring onion, finely chopped

1 Add the red chilli pep­per flakes and sesame oil to a small pan and place over a medium heat. Stir un­til the chilli pep­per flakes begin to melt slightly. Keep a close eye on them, as they can burn sud­denly.

2 Add the mush­rooms, onion, gar­lic and soy sauce. Stir fry for 1-2 min­utes, or un­til the veg­eta­bles have slightly soft­ened.

3 Pour in the wa­ter or stock and bring to the boil. Add the tofu along with the cour­gette and sea­son to taste. Bring to the boil again, then sim­mer for 4-5 min­utes.

4 Add the chilli pep­per and spring onion right at the end, just be­fore you re­move the pan from the heat. Serve im­me­di­ately. Hyosun Ro, ko­re­an­bap­sang.com

5 CRISPY FRIED TOFU WITH CHILLI SOY DIP­PING SAUCE

30 mins

If you have ever eaten and loved salt and pep­per squid or ribs then you will love this ver­sion – the tofu bears this ex­plo­sion of savoury flavours per­fectly. Serve with stir-fried greens.

Serves2 tbsp lightly4 flavoured oil

3 gar­lic cloves, finely sliced

5cm-piece gin­ger, peeled and shred­ded

1 red chilli, de­seeded and chopped

6 spring onions, sliced 200g firm tofu, pat­ted dry and cut into 2cm cubes 2 tbsp flour Sesame oil, to driz­zle

For the dip­ping sauce 4 tbsp light soy sauce 1 red chilli, de­seeded and finely chopped 1 tbsp agave syrup Juice of 1 lime

1 First, make the dip­ping sauce. Mix all the in­gre­di­ents to­gether and set aside.

2 Heat 1 tbsp oil in a fry­ing pan over a high heat, throw in the gar­lic and gin­ger and fry for 2 min­utes or un­til golden and fra­grant. Tip in the chilli and spring onion, stir fry for a fur­ther minute un­til just start­ing to cook. Re­move from the pan and set aside.

3 Put the pan back on the heat and add the re­main­ing oil. Dust the tofu with the flour, pat off any ex­cess, then fry the tofu in batches, turn­ing care­fully un­til lightly golden and hot through­out. Re­turn the chilli, gar­lic and spring onion to the pan, stir to coat the tofu, then re­move from the pan. Driz­zle with sesame oil, then serve with the dip­ping sauce and stir-fried greens. Rosie Reynolds, rosiereynolds.co.uk

6 TOFU TEM­PURA WITH SPICY CREAMY SAUCE

30 mins

Deep-fried tofu is si­mul­ta­ne­ously rich, creamy and light, to ex­actly the right de­gree, and it goes beau­ti­fully with this chilli-gar­lic-cit­rus dress­ing.

Serves 4 200g all-pur­pose flour mixed with 4 tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda

2 litres iced wa­ter

Veg­etable oil, for deep fry­ing

400g ex­tra firm tofu, cut into 1.5cm cubes

50g mixed leaf salad

A pinch of chopped chives

For the sauce

100g may­on­naise

1 tsp chilli gar­lic sauce

A few drops of yuzu or lime juice

1 First, make the spicy sauce. Com­bine the may­on­naise, chilli gar­lic sauce and yuzu, then mix well and set aside.

2 Mix the flour with enough iced wa­ter to make a thick bat­ter. It must not be too loose.

3 Pour the oil into a deep saucepan and heat it to 160C/325F. Dip the tofu in the bat­ter and deep fry them in small batches for around 5 min­utes, or un­til crispy. When cooked, re­move the freshly fried tofu pieces and set aside while you cook the rest.

4 To serve, place the tofu on a bed of mixed leaf salad, dress with the spicy sauce and sprin­kle with the chopped chives.

Bubker Belkhit, su­mosan.com

7 TOFU WITH BLACK BEANS AND SPINACH

30 mins

A hearty brunch idea. The pick­led chipo­tles add a lovely smoky note to the dish, but you can sub­sti­tute them for 2 tbsp of tomato ketchup if you pre­fer it less spicy.

Serves 4

400g silken to medium-firm tofu

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 gar­lic clove, crushed

1 small or­ange or red pep­per, cut into strips

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp turmeric

Juice of ¼ lemon

400g black beans, drained and rinsed

1 small hand­ful of baby spinach leaves 1 tbsp chipo­tle in adobo, drained and chopped (or 2 tbsp ketchup)

2 tbsp nu­tri­tional yeast

2 tbsp chopped co­rian­der

Chilli sauce, to taste

1 Dry the tofu with kitchen pa­per and break it into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a fry­ing pan, and cook the onion over a medium heat un­til soft. Add the gar­lic, pep­per, cumin and turmeric and cook, stir­ring, for about 2 min­utes, or un­til the pep­per is soft. Add a splash of wa­ter if the pan be­comes dry.

2 Add the re­main­ing oil and the tofu and cook over a medium heat for about 5 min­utes. Gen­tly turn over the tofu pieces as they cook, but not too of­ten as they need time to caramelise.

3 When the tofu is golden, squeeze over the lemon juice and scrape up the crusty bits from the bot­tom of the pan. Add the beans, spinach and chipo­tle (or ketchup, if us­ing), and sprin­kle over the nu­tri­tional yeast. Toss the in­gre­di­ents to­gether and cook for about 2 min­utes, or un­til the beans are warmed through and the yeast melted. Serve im­me­di­ately, sprin­kled with co­rian­der and a splash of chilli sauce (if us­ing).

Sue Quinn, Easy Ve­gan (Mur­doch Books)

8 ALMOND SOBA NOO­DLE BOWL

30 mins

This is a de­li­ciously nutty and easy-to-pre­pare veg­e­tar­ian dish for tofu begin­ners and lovers alike. The almond dress­ing and the bite of the tofu cre­ates a won­der­fully mor­eish mid­week supper.

Serves400g buck­wheat4 soba noodles

3 tbsp olive oil

400g ex­tra firm tofu

A few pinches of sea salt

For the dress­ing

6 tbsp almond but­ter

2 tsp white miso paste

Juice of 1 lime

¼ tsp sea salt

6 tbsp wa­ter

To gar­nish

30g flaked al­monds

4 spring onions, sliced

A hand­ful of mint leaves

1 red chilli (op­tional)

1 First, make the almond dress­ing by com­bin­ing all the in­gre­di­ents, ex­cept the wa­ter, and whisk­ing un­til well com­bined. Add the wa­ter 1 tbsp at a time un­til it has the con­sis­tency of dou­ble cream.

2 Bring a pot of wa­ter to the boil and cook the noodles for 3-4 min­utes, or un­til al dente. Drain thor­oughly and rinse un­der cold run­ning wa­ter. Toss in 1 tbsp olive oil to pre­vent the noodles from stick­ing to­gether.

3 Cut the tofu into 5mm cubes and cook on a medium high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 pinches of salt un­til golden brown – about 5 min­utes. Add the noodles to the pan for 30 sec­onds to re­heat.

4 Toss the warm noodles and tofu in the almond dress­ing and gar­nish with al­monds, spring onions, mint leaves and chilli. Adria Wu, maple­and­fitz.com

9 WA­TER­CRESS AND TOFU SOUP

30 mins

A clean, green bowl­ful, creamy from the tofu and lightly pep­pery from the cress.

Serves3 bunches4 wa­ter­cress

500ml wa­ter

300g silken tofu

3 tbsp soy sauce

Salt and black pep­per

1 Sep­a­rate the leaves from the wa­ter­cress and chop the stems roughly.

2 In a large saucepan, bring the wa­ter just to the boil, add the wa­ter­cress stems and sim­mer for 5 min­utes. Add the tofu, then blitz un­til smooth us­ing a stick blen­der.

3 Bring the soup back to a gen­tle sim­mer and add most of the wa­ter­cress leaves, re­serv­ing a few for gar­nish. Sim­mer for 3 min­utes and blend again un­til smooth.

4 Add the soy sauce, then sea­son to taste with salt and black pep­per. La­dle the soup into bowls and gar­nish with a few shred­ded wa­ter­cress leaves. Serve.

Hideki Maeda, nobu­restau­rants.com

10 TOFU OKONOMIYAKI

60 mins

Okonomiyaki means “baked favourites” and although there are stan­dard ver­sions of this Ja­panese savoury pan­cake dish, pretty much any­thing goes. Here the tofu and av­o­cado fill­ing is paired with a cit­rus-in­fused soy sauce.

Serves 3 6cm piece konbu seaweed 200ml wa­ter 100g plain flour 2 eggs, beaten 1 tsp salt ½ cab­bage, finely chopped 2 bunches spring onions, finely chopped 300g tofu, mashed ½ av­o­cado, mashed 10g gari (pick­led pink gin­ger), finely chopped Veg­etable oil, for fry­ing

For the sauce 30ml soy sauce 30ml yuzu juice 1 tbsp wa­ter

To gar­nish 1 tbsp may­on­naise 1 sheet nori, shred­ded 1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

1 Un­der run­ning wa­ter, rinse the konbu then pat dry with kitchen pa­per. Place it in a saucepan with the wa­ter and bring to the boil slowly, over a medium-low heat, skim­ming the sur­face as you go. Just be­fore it comes to the boil, re­move from the heat, dis­card the konbu and set the stock aside to cool.

2 Com­bine the flour, eggs and salt in a mix­ing bowl, then pour in the cooled stock and whisk well, en­sur­ing there are no lumps. Add the cab­bage, spring onion, tofu, av­o­cado and gari and mix well.

3 Heat a thin layer of oil in a fry­ing pan and pour in roughly ⅓ of the bat­ter mix­ture. Cover the pan with the lid and cook over a medium heat for around 4-5 min­utes, be­fore turn­ing the pan­cake over and cooking for the same amount of time on the other side. Re­move from the heat and place the okonomiyaki on a serv­ing plate. Re­peat with the re­main­ing bat­ter to make three pancakes in to­tal.

4 In a small bowl, mix all the sauce in­gre­di­ents well, then driz­zle all over the okonomiyaki. Spread a lit­tle may­on­naise over the top and gar­nish with the nori seaweed pieces and sesame seeds. to­conoco.com

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