I created this recipe for the vegan challenge – a month of eating an entirely vegan diet.
I’ve never really been a fan of tofu – it’s not that I dislike it, just that I don’t really like it either, it’s kind of a non-food; a little bit bleh. But it is a great source of plant protein so, in the interests of eating a balanced vegan diet this month, I thought it should feature.
Tofu is also high in calcium (important in a dairy free diet) and, along with other soya based foods, has been shown to help with the symptoms of menopause as it contains phyto-oestrogens. It is high in tryptophan too (half a pack provides nearly half the recommended daily amount) – tryptophan is needed to help us make serotonin; the neurotransmitter which is essential to regulating mood. Oh – and did I mention that it is low in fat?
All in all this makes it a great food for everyone but particularly for a woman of (ahem) a certain age. I needed to make friends with tofu!
The solution seemed to be to pack it in flavour and there is nothing quite like Asian flavours for doing that. This worked really well. The marinade is a scaled down version of one that I usually use with salmon (sorry) but without the fish sauce or honey.
I served this with cabbage and mushrooms and soba noodles. I cooked all of these in a spicy stock I made earlier in the day for matchstick soup. The braising stock consisted of vegan stock, simmered with some lemongrass, chilli and ginger. I used cabbage because I had it but Pak Choi would be great too.
I am definitely a tofu convert – maybe you should try it too.
A 227 g pack of Firm Tofu
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Agave Syrup
2 Star Anise
1 Clove Garlic (crushed)
1 tsp Thai Seven Spice
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil (for frying)
Mix all the ingredients except the Vegetable Oil and the tofu together. If you have time set aside for half an hour for the flavours to mingle.
Cut the tofu into six or eight slices and place in a single layer in a shallow dish with the marinade. Leave for 10 minutes – turning once.
Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the tofu slices for a few minutes on each side until browned. Remove to a serving plate. Add the rest of the marinade to the pan and heat for a minute or two until it is just beginning to caramelise (be careful not to burn it). Drizzle over the tofu and serve.