Tarragon tofu

I was going to do a usual sort of marinade for tofu, the tamari, liquid smoke type of thing. But when I was looking for some herbs to go in it at the supermarket, I spied some beautiful looking tarragon…

It’s a herb I always mean to experiment with more, but I’m a little wary of it as the flavour can overpower if you’re not careful! But baked as in this recipe the flavour is mellow and goes beautifully with the lemon zest. I ate it with saute potatoes and salad.

Tarragon tofu

Tarragon tofu

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Baked Tofu 65

There’s a classic South Indian restaurant dish called chicken 65, which I first saw a good few years ago at a lovely restaurant near where I used to live. The name intrigued me, everything else on the menu had an Indian name apart from this one… So I did a little research and found that it’s basically a yoghurt marinade/deep fry/tarka (hot spiced oil dressing) method.

I always meant to have a go at cooking a version of it, but it was one of those dishes that I knew I’d like but just never got around to… I think everyone has a few!

But I had tofu, plain soy yoghurt, spices and herbs in, so now was definitely the time to give it a go!

As well as being vegan and gluten free I wanted to make a healthier version, so have gone for baking the tofu rather than deep frying. It takes a while in the oven as the moisture in the tofu and marinade do take some time to cook off enough, but you are left with a great texture at the end.

I marinated mine for 24 hours, but you could probably get away with an hour and still end up with a great result.

Instead of the tarka I’ve gone for a similar style of dressing, with the heat of fresh ginger, the tartness of lime juice, and the gorgeous fragrance and flavour of curry leaves.

I’m going to eat it cold for lunch at work so have made a simple brown rice, spinach and pea base for the spicy tofu and fresh dressing.

Baked Tofu 65

Baked Tofu 65

serves 2

for the marinade

150 ml plain soy yoghurt

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp roast ground coriander

1/4 tsp roast ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp grated ginger

1/4 tsp salt

for the dressing

4 tbsp lime juice

1 sprig curry leaves

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp fresh coriander

and the tofu…

400 g tofu, pressed and cut into cubes

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and toss the tofu around in it, coating it well.

Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c.

Line a tray with baking paper, tip the tofu onto it (including marinade), and bake for 45 minutes.

Check the tofu after 25 minutes and carefully turn it. There may be a little liquid in the tray, drain that off if you can, it will help the final texture. The yoghurt should have caught and caramelised in places when the tofu has had the full cooking time.

Just before serving, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the ginger and curry leaves. Sizzle for a minute or so, then squeeze in the lime juice. Add the coriander at the last minute and then pour the dressing over the tofu.

By E.


Schnitzel style tofu with mushroom, pepper and potato salad

I acquired a piece of tofu the other day that rather than being a block like the usual supermarket kind, was in a flatter piece around 1.5 cm thick. I was chatting with Alex about how best to cook it, rather than just cubing it and baking, and he came up with the idea of a tofu schnitzel type of thing. And well that just sounded delicious!

So I made a marinade full of smoky herbal spice and mustard, and used polenta for the coating to get a beautifully crisp outside.

The salad is sweet with roast peppers, and the juicy mushrooms add a savoury earthy note. The potato soaks up the flavours nicely, and pickled gherkin and parsley add acidity and freshness.

Schnitzel style tofu with mushroom pepper and potato salad

Schnitzel style tofu with mushroom pepper and potato salad

makes 2 servings

For the tofu

230 g tofu, sliced lengthwise if possible into 3/4 cm slices

2 tbsp mild mustard, I used a Polish variety

1/2 tsp caraway seed

2 tsp liquid smoke

1/2 tsp fresh thyme

a pinch of salt

100 g polenta

2 tbsp oil

For the salad

2 small peppers, sliced

175 g mushrooms, quartered

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 tbsp oil

1 potato, cooked and cubed (I baked a potato while the oven was on and used that)

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

a few slices of pickled gherkin, chopped

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

Toss the peppers and thyme with the oil on a baking tray and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, turning once. Add the mushrooms and stir. Roast for a further 10 minutes until the mushrooms are juicy and the peppers are soft and caramelised at the edges. Discard the thyme stalk and toss the vegetables with the parsley, gherkins and some seasoning and set aside.

Mix together the mustard, caraway, liquid smoke, thyme and salt and coat the tofu. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat the oil on a baking tray.

While the oil is heating tip the polenta onto a plate and press each slice of tofu well into it to coat (keeping as much of the marinade on as you can). You won’t use all the polenta but it’s easier to coat the tofu if you have plenty. Lay it carefully onto the hot tray and then bake for 30 minutes, turning once. The tofu will be golden and crisp, and smell delicious.

By E.