‘The mind is like Tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in’.
This is a beautiful recipe and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Tofu. My beautiful cousin, Sabrina, bought me a selection of spices and it came with some suggested recipes.
The key here is to make sure you get as much water out of the tofu as possible. The resulting dish is a wonderful combination of the char from the tofu, the salty sweet umami from the miso jam and the acid and spice from the spice mix. I have given a suggestion for if you don’t have Edo spice, but you can just sprinkle anything you have or that suits your palate, making it your own recipe.
Mr. B doesn’t like Tofu or miso, so this is recipe is just for me.
- 12oz block of firm tofu
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 tbsp. mirin
- 2 tbsp. mushroom powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 batch miso jam
- 2 spring onions/scallions (for garnish)
- 1 tbsp. mirin
- 2 tbsp. sake
- 6 tbsp. sweet white miso
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Drain the tofu, then cut it like a loaf of bread into six, ¾ inch slabs
- Arrange the tofu on a single layer on a cloth, lay more towels on top and weigh down to squeeze out as much water as possible
- Let stand for at least 20 minutes
- In the meantime, make the marinade by whisking oil, mirin, shitake powder, ginger and a pinch of salt. It will be spreadable but thick
- Transfer the tofu slabs to a plate and arrange them in a single layer. Brush the tops with the marinade, then flip and cover the other side. Let stand for 30 minutes
- During this time make the jam but whisking the ingredients together over a low heat, whisking until it is firm enough to hold a soft peak. Immediately take the jam off the heat and place in a bowl to make sure it doesn’t continue to cook
- Heat a non-stick pan, add the remaining oil. Add the tofu slabs and pan fry under nicely browned on all sides
- Transfer tofu to a serving plate
- Spread a dollop of miso jam on top of each slab, sprinkle the mixed spice* on top and a few bits of scallion.
*If you don’t have Edo Spice – a mix of 7 spices from Japan, add sesame seeds, chili flakes and some lemon zest
A little advice from a mushroom;
- Be down to earth
- Sprout new ideas
- Keep a low profile
- Know when to show up
- Stay well-rounded
- Start from the ground up
- Be a fun-guy
This is a beautiful recipe for a BBQ. It is meaty and sticky and sweet and sumptuous.
Mushrooms are always said to be a great meat substitute but I don’t see it as a substitute but a star in it’s own right. I use a variety of mushrooms in my recipes due to the medicinal benefits; Trumpet versus the others is good for something you want to give more structure to, which is why it works so well on this recipe.
Be careful with the reduction, as it can get hot due to the melted sugar. If it toughens up just reheat.
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 1/3 cup sake
- 1/3 cup tamari
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- trumpet mushrooms
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- Soak 6-10 bamboo skewers for at least 15 minutes
- Prepare grill/BBQ for medium heat
- Thread the mushrooms onto the prepared skewers and brush with oil and salt
- Grill until golden brown
- Heat the mirin, sake, tamari and sugar until slightly reduced
- Brush on the mushrooms and grill again, flip and brush again
- Serve with spring onions on top
Delicious Japanese Dashi Ramen
I have spent a lot of time in Japan over the years for work and for pleasure and I marvel at the way Japanese chefs elevate simple pure ingredients. Whether it is Sashimi, Tofu or Dashi, there is always a simple elegance in preparation and presentation, making sure the ingredient is the star of the plate!
Dashi is a baseline broth; the equivalent of chicken stock in Japanese cooking. It is used in its simplest form as a cleansing broth but it is also added to multiple dishes as a base umami flavour
I love it in it’s purest form and love to have it on its own or use it as a base for ramen, adding some combination of noodles and vegetables. This dish takes less than 10 minutes, so after a long day at work, it is a great way to warm up and get some dinner at the same time
- 5g Kombu
- ½ cup bonito flakes
- 2 cups water
- One head purple broccoli
- 2 tbsp. Coconut aminos*
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 handful buckwheat soba noodles
*Coconut aminos comes from the sap of the coconut tree, it has very low glycemic levels, 17 amino acids and in plentiful in minerals and vitamins. Use it as a substitute to soya sauce/tamari
- Bring the cold water to the boil with the kombu, once you have reached a gentle boil, remove from heat and remove the kombu
- Sprinkle bonito flakes in and let stand for 3 minutes, sieve and place back on the heat
- Add the coconut aminos and sesame oil
- Add the soba noodles and simmer for 3 minutes
- In the mean time, lightly steam the broccoli, chop and add to the soup
- Serve steaming hot, for a ramen facial
Here is a picture of Me and Mr B in Kyoto, Japan, as it would be amiss to leave him out of the post and he is not a fan of Ramen!
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
This chocolate treat has three main ingredients and takes not time at all in a blender. It is dairy free, gluten free, nut free, refined sugar free and high in protein. It has a deep, decadent texture and ‘you won’t believe it’s made of tofu’, which is a wonderful ancient healthy ingredient that takes on the taste of whatever you are making. Here it is really used for the silky texture and in blind tastings no one would ever guess it is the main ingredient.
I like to serve it with lots of berries to cut through the richness of the mousse, it also adds a little color to the plate. I have also added a little gold fairy dust here, for a magical finish.
- 300g soft silken tofu
- 80g vegan chocolate
- 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. vanilla essence
- Pinch of salt
- Melt the vegan chocolate using a heat proof bowl over a pot of hot water, don’t let the bowl touch the water
- Stir the chocolate until it melts completely and then take it off the heat to cool for a few minutes
- In the mean time, prepare the tofu by taking it out of the packaging, squeeze a little to get rid of some of the water, then blend till smooth
- Add the chocolate and rest of the ingredients
- Transfer into glasses or ramekins, serve with berries to cut through the richness
Sprouting broccoli with sweet tahini dressing (Goma-Dare)
Goma-dare is a Japanese sesame sauce, normally used in Shabu Shabu. It is the most popular of all the sauces, is salty sweet and can be used for many dishes.
Mr. B and I like to use the sauce when looking for something light and quick in the evening, just adding it on top of some broccoli or raw/blanched spinach
The sauce takes 5 minutes and will keep in the fridge for a week or two. This recipe is an adaptation by Ottolenghi, hence the added tahini. I think it is a wonderful interpretation giving the sauce an added layer of depth
- 250g purple sprouting broccoli/head of broccoli
- 180g snow peas
- 50g tahini
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ tsp. tamari
- 2 tbsp. honey/maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
- Pinch of sea salt
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce, you want the consistency to be smooth and tick but pourable
- Trim off the broccoli leaves, bring a pot of water to the boil, salt and blanch the broccoli and snow peas for 4 minutes, running under icy cold water to stop the cooking and leaving to drain
- Once the vegetables are drained, mix with the sauce
- Add the sesame seeds over the top and serve
Sesame Sweet Potatoes
Umami in Japanese means I will give you my right hand and first-born child for a bite of that!
There aren’t many vegan dishes at Zuma, the Japanese Peruvian restaurant in London and now New York, as we found out one Friday night, but the few they have are all delicious and I intend to blog them all for you before the end of the year.
This is one of my favorites due to my obvious obsession of all things Umami. They make it on the Robata grill, which adds an extra smokiness, but you can do it in the oven and it isn’t too far off
The sweet potato and marinade give a lovely sweet salty combination that can be used for other vegetables too. It is also a super quick preparation from kitchen to table, making it an easy weekday or weekend main or side
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 350c
- Wash the sweet potatoes and cut so as to create discs, approximately 1.5 inches wide
- In a bowl mix together the ingredients and cover the discs well
- Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes, until beautifully caramelised.