Tofu Tasty – and it Certainly is! – Tofu, or bean curd, is derived from soya. It’s made by curdling fresh soya milk, pressing into a solid block, and cooling – similar to traditional dairy cheese made by curdling and solidifying milk. The whey is discarded, and the curds pressed. Tofu is a key ingredient in Asian cookery, and incredibly versatile as well as being packed with protein. Not surprisingly it’s very popular with vegetarians and vegans, as well as meat-eaters, wanting to cut down on their consumption. If you wondered how to prepare and cook tofu, then look no further: a great new cookbook by Bonnie Chung – Tofu Tasty – has just been published. Bonnie is the founder of the brand Miso Tasty, the UK’s first brand dedicated to miso. An award-winning entrepreneur and former food blogger, she’s been dedicated to the research of miso for the last five years. Her Miso Tasty products are now available at 1000 stores in the UK from Sainsbury’s to Selfridges, and more recently Miso Tasty has launched a tofu range. In Tofu Tasty, Bonnie embraces both her love for Japanese cuisine as well as her own heritage in Chinese and Cantonese cooking.
In Tofu Tasty, Bonnie hopes to expand our tofu horizons, sharing the many different types and the multitude of ways in which you can cook it. The book’s organized into seven chapters to distinguish between the different types and textures of tofu; crispy dishes like Oat Flake Salt & Pepper Tofu and Lime & Coconut Crispy Tofu Salad; soft steamed dishes including Ma Po Tofu with Button Mushrooms for the spice lovers and a creamy Curried Coronation Tofu for those of wanting tofu in a sandwich. There are mashed tofu dishes including a wanton recipe inspired from Bonnie’s childhood; a mouth-watering Tofu & Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles stir-fry; a whole chapter on the marmite of tofu – fermented tofu – to try out like Red Fermented Tofu Cauliflower Steak or a Noodle Hotpot and even desserts. Impress your guests with a Baked Matcha Tofu Cheesecake or Tofu Doughnuts with Miso Caramel – light and fluffy and a tiny bit tart, these definitely hit the spot!
All the recipes are vegetarian, and some include twists that may include meat, fish, and other swaps. These should whet your appetite!
Curried Coronation Tofu (Fills 6 sandwiches very generously)
‘I love a creamy sandwich filling: Marie Rose sauce with prawns (shrimp); cheese and coleslaw; egg and cress… and this one, unashamedly based on the classic Coronation chicken. Firm tofu pieces are coddled in a thick sauce, surrounded by raisins, mango, and sweet curry flavours; it is a delightful new arrival in my life. Great in sandwiches, or to top salads and baked potatoes.
150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup mayonnaise
150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp medium curry powder
3 tbsp mango chutney
70g/21⁄2oz/1⁄2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
40g/11⁄2oz/1⁄4 cup golden raisins, the bigger the better
1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
300g/101⁄2oz block of firm tofu, drained for 20 minutes and chopped into 1cm/1⁄2-inch cubes
handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped
1⁄2 tsp sea salt flakes pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large mixing bowl, simply mix the mayonnaise and yogurt until combined. Add the Worcestershire sauce, curry powder and mango chutney and mix thoroughly. Add the dried fruits and the grated ginger and mix again.
2. Carefully fold in the tofu, being careful not to mix too hard, which would break up the pieces.
3. Add the coriander and season with the salt and pepper.
TWISTS: Adding some finely chopped walnuts or celery brings extra crunch and texture. To make this recipe vegan, simply swap the mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise and the Greek yogurt with soya or almond milk yogurt.
Oat Flake Salt & Pepper Tofu (Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a starter or side dish)
‘An absolute classic; the combination of salt and pepper is delightful. Creamy tofu calms the dish down, while the sharp seasoning teases the palate. This dish is all about chasing that salty, tantalizing heat, down to the final bits of charred onion. Oat flakes provide my killer twist; plump and ready to take on the magic dust, they add that extra ‘nuggetty’ chew, allowing the punchy flavours to linger for longer and the tofu to shine even more brightly. Here I take on the challenge of pushing this already ‘A’ dish to ‘A star’… and I dare you to leave a single morsel behind.’
300g/101⁄2oz firm tofu, drained for 20 minutes and sliced into 1.5cm/1⁄2 inch cubes
1 large chilli, deseeded and finely sliced, plus extra to serve
2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced, plus extra to serve
4–5 tbsp jumbo rolled oats
leaves from 2 coriander (cilantro) sprigs
greens or salad, and rice, to serve (optional)
1. Put the tofu cubes in a shallow dish with the cornflour and turn them gently, to coat all sides.
2. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a high heat until bubbling hot, then add the cubes one by one, making sure there is at least 1cm/1⁄2 inch between each cube. (You may need to do this in batches.) If you need more oil to fry all the tofu, add a little more. Turn the cubes until all sides are crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper (paper towels).
3. In a small bowl, mix the salt and pepper together.
4. In a clean frying pan, heat up the remaining oil for 2 minutes, then add the chilli and spring onions. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the oats and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Stir-fry gently for a further 2 minutes, until the oats are golden and have taken on the flavours.
5. Add the crispy tofu, tossing it in the pan until the seasonings coat the cubes. Serve immediately, scattered with more chilli and spring onion and the coriander. Just as it is, this is a great starter; add greens or salad and rice if you are eating it as a main course.
TWISTS: This recipe is also great with whole button mushrooms instead of tofu, or – which is the classic dish – with squid.