Full disclosure: In the fall, I had a full-blown case of cooking ennui. It probably evolved from a combination of immobility from my fracture, beginning my new job and the stress of starting to plan for our wedding.
I ended up buying a lot more prepared foods than ever before. At the farmer’s market close to our house, they would sell flavoured tofu and would easily at least 2 packets per week. My favourite was the miso-flavoured tofu. They also have a sweet and sour one, but miso was the best. When I tried this recipe for “sweet and sour marinaded tofu” is was a close approximation to the miso tofu (and not sweet and sour). Go figure. A bit more salty but you only notice it if you eat it cold from the fridge. Added to a bowl of vegetables and some quinoa, you have a seriously delicious and balanced meal.
This recipe is courtesy of Aine Carlin’s new cookbook Keep It Vegan. Another blogger that I have been following for a while, it is my pleasure to share her recipes with you. She blogs at Pea Soup Eats and her British influence is obvious throughout her book of comfort vegan foods: Morning Oat Jacks, Shepherdess Pie with Sweet Potato Topping, Chana Masala, Mexican-Style Lasagna, Red Lentil and Spinach Lasagna, Braised Red Cabbage with Apple, Chocolate Chestnut Pie, Summer (Bread) Pudding, and Banana Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sauce Sundae. Her recipes are approachable without too many esoteric ingredients (beyond what is normally found in a vegan pantry) but she also includes unusual and creative ideas like Bloody Mary Bruschetta, Breakfast Brownie with a Strawberry Bottom, Rosemary-and-Pear-Stuffed-French Toast and even Sweet Potato and Kiwi Soup.
Rob made the Hole Mole Black Bean Chili which was excellent, although we skipped the chocolate part. And we snuck in some leftover tamarind chickpea curry from Vegan Without Borders. But is was still excellent.
But these tofu bites were spectacular. A strong-flavoured miso-based marinade infused the tofu for a few hours and then they were lightly pan-fried for a delicious crispy crust. It reminded me of old-school vegan eats (aka this classic tofu dish dubbed Sweet and Sour, Hot and Spicy Tofu) and I added it to a bowl of almost roasted red peppers, sliced avocado, quinoa, arugula/spinach and hemp seeds. Basically, another version of a Dragon Bowl with the vegetable remnants from my fridge. Astute readers might realize a lot of the ingredients were leftovers from the Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hemp and Orange. 🙂 If you have extra marinade, it could be used to drizzle overtop but I let mine soak into the leftover tofu.
The photo below is the one from the cookbook. Feel free to cut the tofu into bigger slabs and serve with the green bean salad, as suggested.
Recipes from Keep It Vegan spotted elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan comfort food. The winner will be selected at random on February 12, 2015. Good luck!
Sweet and Sour Marinated Tofu
Recipe reprinted courtesy of Keep It Vegan
Aine’s note: Forget everything you think you know about tofu because this unctuous marinated version is deliciously tasty proof that this much-maligned ingredient can be anything but flavorless and boring. The key here is to drain as much liquid from the block of tofu as possible—after that, it’s a case of allowing the marinade to do its thing. The crispy caramelized outer and firm texture gives this dish real impact and I doubt anyone will be complaining when you serve it as the main event for dinner. The time to make peace with tofu has officially arrived.
14 oz firm tofu
1/4 cup miso paste
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup groundnut, sunflower, or rapeseed oil
1. Drain the tofu and place it in a shallow bowl with a plate on top. Now put two 14 oz food cans (or similar) on top of the plate to weight it down, and set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Drain the excess liquid, pat dry, and cut lengthwise to form two equal halves. Then slice each half into two triangles, to give you four triangles in total. Return the tofu to the shallow bowl.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the miso paste, lime juice, tamari, sesame oil, and agave or maple syrup. Pour the marinade over the tofu and turn the tofu several times to ensure it is completely coated. Set aside for at least 1 hour— the longer you leave it, the better.
4. Heat the oil in a medium, non-stick, heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the tofu. Fry over medium heat until dark and caramelized on one side (about 10 minutes) before turning over and doing the same on the other side.
5. Serve the tofu hot or cold with a Green Bean Salad with Lemon, Garlic, and Chilli.
If you’re really short of time, 15 minutes’ marinating will suffice – just!