Sea­side dream

VE­GAN ‘FISH’ AND CHIPS

Uxbridge Gazette - - Film Reviews -

In­gre­di­ents (Serves 4):

2 x 280g pack­ets ex­tra-firm tofu;

4 large Maris Piper or other fluffy pota­toes (about 1kg); 3 sheets nori; veg­etable oil, for deep fry­ing

For the marinade:

1 lemon; 200ml white wine; 1 tbsp caper brine (wa­ter from a jar of ca­pers); 1 tsp salt For the bat­ter:

180g plain flour; 40g corn­flour; ½ tsp salt ½ tsp black pep­per; 240ml ale

To serve:

Ketchup; 2 lemons, cut into wedges; sea salt; minted mushy peas and tartare sauce

METHOD:

1. Press the tofu us­ing a tofu press or place it be­tween two clean tea tow­els, lay it on a plate and put a weight on top. Leave for at least half an hour to drain liq­uid and firm up.

2. Once the tofu is pressed, cut the block length­ways down the mid­dle so that you have two long rec­tan­gles, then cut across each rec­tan­gle to make eight even-sized blocks. You should have 16 tofu pieces.

3. Make the marinade by cut­ting the lemon in half and squeez­ing the juice over a bowl. Add the white wine, caper brine and salt and stir to com­bine. Add the tofu, turn­ing to cover it in the marinade. Set aside to mar­i­nate, turn­ing oc­ca­sion­ally.

4. Fill a large saucepan with wa­ter and bring to the boil on a high heat. Peel the pota­toes and cut them into 1cm-thick chips.

Tip them into the wa­ter, bring it back to the boil and cook for five min­utes. Drain the pota­toes, spread them out over a clean tea towel and leave to dry.

5. To make the bat­ter, put the flour, corn­flour, salt and pep­per into a mix­ing bowl and stir. Slowly pour in the ale, whisk­ing con­tin­u­ously so that no lumps form. Set aside.

6. Use scis­sors to cut 16 rec­tan­gles of nori the same size as the sides of the tofu blocks. Take a piece of tofu out of the marinade and stick one of the nori pieces to it (the wet­ness of the tofu will help it stick). Hold the nori in place with two cock­tail sticks. Re­peat so that all the tofu pieces have nori on one side.

7. Heat the oven to 180°C. Pour the veg­etable oil into a deep saucepan so that it comes no more than two-thirds up the side. Put the pan on medium-high and heat to about 140°C (this is a fairly low tem­per­a­ture for deep-fry­ing so if you don’t have a ther­mome­ter, put a chip in the pan to test the tem­per­a­ture: the chip should float but take a lit­tle while to brown).

8. Put half of the chips in the hot oil and deep fry for three to four min­utes, then take them out with a slot­ted spoon and spread them out on kitchen pa­per for a few min­utes to cool. Put the rest of the chips into the oil and re­peat the process. Turn up the heat and get the oil re­ally hot, around 180°C (this should make a wooden spoon dipped in the oil siz­zle around the edges).

9. Care­fully put the first batch of chips back in the hot oil and fry for four to five min­utes, un­til they’re re­ally golden and crispy. Take the chips out with a slot­ted spoon and spread over a bak­ing tray. Sprin­kle with sea salt and put the tray in the oven to keep the chips warm. Bring the oil back up to 180°C and tip in the sec­ond batch of chips. Af­ter four to five min­utes, re­move and spread over a sec­ond bak­ing tray.

10. Get the oil back up to 180°C and line the plates with fresh kitchen pa­per. Take the nori-lined tofu blocks and dip them into the bat­ter in batches, turn­ing them care­fully so they’re com­pletely cov­ered.

11. Care­fully drop the bat­tered tofu ‘fish’ into the hot oil and fry for three to four min­utes, un­til they’re dark golden brown all over (you may need to cook them in batches if there isn’t much room and so the tem­per­a­ture of the oil doesn’t drop too low).

12. Re­move the tofu ‘fish’ with a slot­ted spoon and drain on kitchen pa­per for 30 se­conds, then care­fully re­move the cock­tail sticks. Re­peat so that all the tofu blocks are dou­ble-dipped in two coats of bat­ter.

13. Take the chips out of the oven and im­me­di­ately serve on warm plates. Di­vide the crispy tofu ‘fish’ pieces be­tween the plates and add large spoon­fuls of minted mushy peas and tartare sauce.

14. Serve with tomato ketchup and the lemon wedges for squeez­ing.

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