Black Pepper Tofu

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It’s #VeggieWeek this week. Check out the lovely food being posted on Twitter.

I’ve made this recipe before – from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty – but it was way too spicy and way too salty for Freya – so I ended up eating the lot. I shortlisted it again for this round of recipes – but toned down some of the ingredients so that it was a ‘sharing plate’ rather than something all for me.

I think it looks really classy.

When you look at the ingredients for this recipe you’ll realise what I mean. There are 8 red chillis, 12 garlic cloves, 5 tablespoons of black pepper, 3 tablespoons of ginger, and 12 shallots. Hopefully Ottolenghi won’t tell me off for giving out the quantities here – but it does make you think ‘gee that’s gonna be hot’!

I used 4 chillis, 6 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of pepper, half the ginger – and kept all the shallots. It was still too hot for Freya! I probably would have used more pepper but my pepper mill decided it had given me enough ground pepper already and refused to give me more than 3 tablespoons. And that took me nearly 20 minutes. Next time I’ll be smarter and use my pestle and mortar.

It’s amusing that the recipe says this is quick to make. I don’t think it is. You have to fry to tofu in small batches so as not to steam them:

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Then you have to drain them and let them stand while you do the sauce:

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You then make the base by frying the dry ingredients (above) in butter:

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and then you add the sauce to the fried ingredients:

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which is essentially three types of soy sauce.

Once that’s all done you return the tofu to the pan, reheat and serve.

I love this dish – it’s so tasty and the tofu is really crunchy, having been dusted in cornflower and fried at quite a high temperature.

I love hot food. I love chillis, and I love those bottles of ‘dare to try me’ sauce. I have lots of them! As I’ve said before though with recipes that call for chillis; it would be nice if they said how hot the chillis should be – or how big – because there is such a wide variety of size and heat. You could end up making very different dishes every time.

I don’t think Freya will ever like this one as it is just a little bit too spicy. Fortunately we’d already had some quite nice Sweet Potato pancakes so she didn’t go hungry. There was quite a lot left over (I’m not an animal!) so that was my dinner the following day too !

There was a lot of washing up after this. All the prep bowls, the cast iron frying pan for the tofu, my lovely Al Clad Tagine for the sauce – and all the utensils. Not a quick dish – but a very tasty one.

 

Brussel Sprouts and Tofu

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I sometimes wonder about my choices. Freekeh (high in fibre), Garlic soup and now Brussels Sprouts! I guess I’m not doing myself any favours!

That said – Freya thinks this is the best thing I’ve made from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.

I couldn’t decide whether to use the pan picture or the bowl picture – so here’s the other one

Brussel Sprouts with Tofu

Tofu is a tricky ingredient. Whenever you see a tofu recipe you really should consider leaving it in the marinade you make for 24 hours. Leaving it for 30 minutes while you do the rest of the preparation for a dish just isn’t long enough for the tofu to take on the marinade’s flavours. Tofu is ingredibly bland if you don’t do something to it, so that’s my recommendation.

The marinade for this tofu was sweet chilli sauce, soy, sesame oil, maple syrup and rice vinegar. Leaving the tofu for a while really made a difference.

Apart from the tofu preparation this is a very easy recipe; just pan fry some brussels, spring onions and red chilli, add shitake mushrooms and right at the end, carefully char the tofu and add to the brussels.

You dress the dish with coriander and sesame seeds.

This is so tasty. And because you only pan fry the brussels for maybe a minute or two on a high heat, they stay very crunchy but look lovely and glossy – coated in the oil. There was a time when brussels were for Christmas and nothing else. Now they are good any time of the year – and in a recipe like this they are perfect.

I think you could probably substitute brussels for kale as long as you cooked it the same. Something I might try later in the week!

There was plenty of this for us to take for lunch the next day – but we got greedy. So we ate it all and ended up having to go out for lunch the next day. Very confusing for the people at work that just expect to see exciting food each day!

Definitely a keeper this one – just remember to marinade the tofu for longer than it says!