Well, this is a little bit exciting for a gusty May Wednesday afternoon. Not only have I been out for lunch (shock), purchased a big slab of takeaway Victoria sponge (even bigger shock), but here I am typing out my first savoury recipe that has nothing to do with breakfast, brunch or flapjack (mind blown). It must be the sugar from the half of the Victoria sponge I shovelled into my mouth approximately one hour ago after walking through the door making its way through my bloodstream. The stomach wants what the stomach wants! Quite the contrast to this recipe that uses a very underrated vegan product; tofu.
I am a big fan of tofu! I finally put my foodie hands on a block of the soybean filled ingredient a couple of years ago after seeing many delicious looking recipes and also from wanting to use more plant-based meat alternatives. Let’s all be honest here, tofu is not an ingredient that boasts tongue tingling flavour sensations straight from the packet. Just like oats, which just taste like oats (?), tofu just tastes like, well, tofu?! Adding strong, bold flavours pimps out the pale block of soy to something that will get your taste buds talking. Over the years, I have griddled and baked a lot of tofu chunks to varying degrees of success in terms of flavour (do not worry, the tofu was always eaten, even the bland batches!), but fast forward to last night where my craving for a Chinese takeaway was ended by the best tasting tofu to date! Crispy on the outside, hot and bouncy in the middle, with an ongoing taste of nutty sesame and salty soy. A “fake-away” doing its job to its full capacity. When in doubt, takeout! Well, almost!
This super easy recipe uses minimal ingredients to create Chinese inspired tofu to accompany your other favourite Chinese takeaway dishes. Think vegetable packed stir-fries with noodles, fried rice, or spring rolls! The best part about a fake-away is that you can mix and match your favourite ingredients and flavours! There is also a serving suggestion below as well as a stir-fry serving top tip! It is time to take this tofu to Chinatown.
How to Make Soy and Sesame Tofu
Total time: 1 hour (just over 30 minutes if not prepping)
Preparation time: 30 minutes (if doing)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 329 calories
- 10g carbohydrates
- 21g fat, of which saturates 0g
- 26g protein
- 2g sugar
- Tea towel
- Small bowl
- Tablespoon measurement
- Chopping board and knife
- Baking tray
- Tin foil and greaseproof paper
- Block of firm tofu (approx. 400g)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- Drain the tofu block and pat dry with kitchen roll.
- OPTIONAL: Wrap the tofu block in the tea towel, place the plate on top and leave for 30 minutes. The weight from the plate will help remove liquid from the tofu.
- Pre heat oven to 200c.
- Add the sesame oil and soy sauce to the bowl.
- Remove the tofu from the tea towel (if used) and use the chopping board and knife to cut lengthways into four strips and then into 16 pieces by cutting four lines widthways.
- Add the tofu pieces to the sesame oil and soy sauce bowl and use your hand to coat all the pieces.
- When coated, sprinkle the corn starch over the tofu and use your hand to coat all the pieces.
- Line your baking tray with a piece of tin foil, followed by a piece of greaseproof paper and place on the tofu pieces. The tin foil stops any oil etc that comes through the greaseproof getting onto the baking tray, which means less washing up (can you tell I do not own a dishwasher?).
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and add to your at home Chinese inspired meal!
On this particular triumphant tofu evening, I served the crispy tofu with a simple vegetable and noodle stir-fry:
- Add boiling water to a saucepan, place two noodle nests into the water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (if using rice noodles etc instead of egg noodles, follow the packet instructions).
- Meanwhile, spray a wok with sunflower oil spray and heat to a medium to high heat.
- Add thin strips of your favourite vegetables to the wok (I used courgette, pepper and red cabbage).
- Stir until starting to wilt, add two chopped garlic cloves and continue to mix.
- Sprinkle Chinese Five Spice over the vegetables (1-2 teaspoons) and mix.
- Drain the noodles, saving some of the water, and add the noodles to the wok and combine.
- Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce over the vegetable noodle mix, a splash or two of the noodle water and combine. Add more water if you prefer a looser stir-fry.
- OPTIONAL: add in a handful of roasted peanuts.
- Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and mix.
- TO SERVE: split the vegetable noodle stir-fry and the crispy baked tofu between two bowls!
Stir-Fry Serving Tip
If you are like me and like your bowls and plates slightly warm for serving, add a small drizzle of the toasted sesame oil to the warm bowls a minute or two before serving. The warmth will allow the oil to be spread around the bowl with the back of the spoon and stop any noodles sticking to the bowl!
A comfort bowl made from scratch that ticked off my takeaway craving! I hope you all enjoy baking and eating this simple tofu recipe as much as I did; who knew you could be so proud of some crispy soya! Phew, after all that I think I am going to have to eat the rest of my Victoria sponge, shame!