Tag Archives: tofu

Recipe: Curried Coconut and Noodle Soup


This is another mid-week recipe. You can spot these because they use curry powder and pre-cooked noodles. This recipe uses two ingredients that are fast becoming staples in my kitchen: coconut milk and fresh rice noodles. There are a lot of vegetables in this dish, some cooked in the coconut and curry broth and some added as it is served.

This is really quick and really tasty. You can ring the changes depending on what you have in the fridge so it is endlessly adaptable when you don’t have time to shop.

Rice noodles in curry coconut broth photo DSCN1129_zpsb1f631f2.jpg

60g tofu, cubed
1 tbsp curry powder/paste
150ml coconut milk
350ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
150g rice noodles
handful bean sprouts
6 sugar snap peas, or mangetout, sliced lengthways
1/2 little gem lettuce, shredded
3-4 slices red onion, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 lime wedge

Heat some oil in a large saucepan and add the tofu.
Fry for a few seconds and then stir in the curry powder or paste.
Make sure that the tofu is coated in the spice mix and let it cook for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock and soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the noodles, bean sprouts and sugar snap peas.
Bring back to the simmer and let cook for a minute. You’re not actually cooking anything, just heating things through.
Just before serving, turn off the heat and stir in the lettuce.
Serve in a large bowl with the red onion, spring onion, chilli and coriander placed on top as a garnish.
Add a lime wedge for squeezing.

Serves 1

Recipe: Singapore Noodles


Singapore Noodles or Singapore Style Vermicelli has long been a favourite of mine from Chinese take-away menus. Wanting to make the authentic thing I asked a Singaporean friend of mine for the recipe. She’d never heard of it. It turns out it’s a Cantonese dish, so here’s my inauthentic version of something that was never really authentic in the first place! Tastes great though.

A few notes about this. I’ve used the packet cooked noodles you can find next to the salads in most supermarkets, but you can use the dried rice noodles if that’s what you have (cook them according to their packet and then let them go cold). I’ve used more oil in this than I normally would in a stir-fry, it shouldn’t be swimming in oil, but you need a fair amount for it to work. I’ve put more vegetables in this than I normally see in a take-away version, but this should remain a noodle dish rather than a stir-fry vegetable dish.

This recipe is for one. When I’ve tried to make this for two it’s ended up as a soggy mess. I think that’s because domestic woks and cookers just don’t get hot enough. If you’re cooking this for two – make one and then do another batch. It takes less than five minutes to cook anyway.

Singapore Noodles photo DSCN1090_zpsf2948d0f.jpg

2-3 tbsp oil
1/4 onion, finely sliced
1/4 red pepper, finely sliced
handful bean sprouts
1/2 chilli, sliced
6 mangetout or sugar snap peas, finely sliced
4 closed cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp curry powder
150g cooked rice noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp coriander

Heat a wok and then pour in the oil.
When the oil is really hot, add the vegetables and stir for a minute.
Add the rice wine and stir for another minute.
Add the curry powder and stir until all the vegetables are coated in it.
Then add the noodles and the soy sauce.
Stir for a couple of minutes until the noodles are heated through and are coated in the curry sauce.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over the top.

Serves 1

Recipe: DIY Healthy Pot Noodles


This is a gem of an idea, I only wish I’d thought of it, but the honours must go to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage Veg Every Day recipe book. It’s a great lunch to take to work because you can prepare it the night before and it only needs boiling water to cook it. There isn’t a work place in the country that doesn’t have a kettle!

You can use any thin noodle, but the instant noodles (which are the cheapest as well) cook the quickest, which is important as you have soft green leaves that wilt very quickly. I think the secret to the success is how you make your layers, the flavour goes at the bottom, followed by the noodles and then the crunchy vegetables with the green leaves on top. You also need a sealable pot or mug about 500ml in size.

I couldn’t believe how well this worked, and it cost pennies to make versus the £5+ I’ve spent on something similar from a food outlet near my office.

DIY Pot Noodle photo IMG_0478_zps02f75b08.jpg

1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder, or 1/4 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp soy sauce
Dash of chilli sauce, or tabasco
2 slices of lemon, or lime
Slice of fresh ginger
3-4 slices of fresh chilli
Packet of instant noodles, broken into pieces to fit your container
50g tofu, cut into cubes
1 spring onion, chopped
3 cm length of cucumber, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
3 cm carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 cm courgette, cut into matchsticks
1/2 little gem lettuce, shredded
1 tsp chopped coriander

Add the bouillon powder, soy sauce, chilli sauce, lemon, ginger and chilli to the bottom of your container.
Break the noodles into pieces so that they fit the container and put them on top of your stock base.
Add the tofu and then the vegetables, leaving the lettuce and coriander until last.
Put the lid on.
When you are ready to eat, pour boiling water into the container until the noodles are covered.
Put the lid back on and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir thoroughly before eating.

Serves 1 for lunch

Recipe: Tofu Scramble


When I first went vegetarian and had a look on the web for things to cook, I came across the concept of ‘tofu scramble’ as a substitute for scrambled eggs. I have to say the idea filled me with horror. Tofu is not egg and I thought it would be the worst kind of fakery and substandard substitution that would fool nobody. But it’s one of those things that I kept on seeing online and some people seemed to like it. Then I found this recipe which frames the concept of tofu scramble not as a scrambled egg substitute, but as an addition to a breakfast menu. The only concession to fakery is leaving in the turmeric – it really does help with the appearance of the dish, it does look a bit grey and grim without it.

So here is my version. Not something trying to be scrambled eggs, but a tasty start to the day that stands on its own feet.

Tofu scramble photo DSCN1024_zps2de35550.jpg

1 onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
pinch chilli flakes, or chilli powder
150g firm tofu, cubed
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 tsp mushroom ketchup or vegetarian worcestershire sauce
handful chopped fresh parsley

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, red pepper and chilli flakes until the onion is going translucent.
Add in the tofu, mushrooms, tomatoes, turmeric and mushroom ketchup.
Stir vigorously – the idea is to break up the tofu into crumbly pieces.
When the mushrooms are cooked and the mixture has lost a lot of its liquid, season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped parsley.

Serves 2 on toast

Recipe: Tofu with Coconut and Lime


This is a based on a great recipe from St Delia.I’ve been meaning to vegetise this recipe for a while now. When I was still eating chicken this was a go-to recipe for when I had friends round. It’s quick, simple and easy to expand for more guests. The same applies with the tofu version. If anything it’s got even quicker because you just have to heat the tofu through rather than wait for the chicken to cook.

The original recipe calls for fish sauce, but I’ve found that a combination of soy sauce and mushroom ketchup is a good substitute. If you can’t get mushroom ketchup then just add more soy sauce. I’ve boosted the lime flavour with the use of a lime leaf, but it’s not essential. Lime leaves aren’t always easy to get, but if you find some (Sainsbury’s had some last time I was in) they’re well worth buying. They freeze perfectly, so you don’t need to worry about wasting any.

You can mess around with the vegetable element, but I’d keep with the white and green theme. Mangetout, sugar snap peas, courgette strips, cucumber or kale would be good. If all else fails stir in some chopped lettuce right at the end.

I tend to serve this with rice, but noodles would be good too. You could add some of those white, rice vermicelli noodles that you find near the stir fry veg packs at the supermarket. They would be fine stirred in a minute or two before serving.

 photo DSCN0939_zpsbdc39c70.jpg

250g firm tofu, cubed
juice and zest of a lime
1/2 green chilli, chopped
150ml coconut milk
2tsp soy sauce
2tsp mushroom ketchup
1 lime leaf
2 pak choi, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
coriander, chopped for garnish

Marinade the tofu in the lime juice and zest for 30-60 minutes.
After that time, drain the tofu and reserve the marinade.
Heat some oil in a wok or a large saucepan.
Add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides.
Add the chilli and let that heat in the oil for a minute.
Then add the coconut milk, soy sauce, mushroom ketchup, lime leaf and the stem parts of the oak choi.
Stir and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the lime leaf.
Just before serving, turn off the heat and stir in the green parts of the pak choi and let them wilt in the residual heat.
Serve with the spring onions and coriander sprinkled over the top.

Serves 2 with rice or noodles

Recipe: Slow Cooker Red Cooked Tofu


There are some recipes you cook that turn out to be a disappointment. The version of this recipe I tried yesterday fits into that category. It was based on the recipe for Red Braised Pork in Fuscia Dunlop’s Every Grain of Rice. I used tofu instead of pork and used 5 Spice Powder instead of the cinnamon and star anise. It simmered in the slow cooker for four hours, filling my flat with the fragrance of Chinatown. I had such hopes for this dish, glistening with the flavourful sauce coating the tofu.

What I got was thin, watery and brown. In retrospect the mushrooms were probably a mistake. They added great texture and a whole lot more brownness than I really wanted. It was impossible to photograph it so it looked appealing. There was no amount of spring onion garnish in the world that was going to stop it looking brown and grim. It tasted great. It looked like nothing on earth.

Anyway, one lives and learns. This version has no mushrooms, but a chopped pepper (yay! colour!) and I’ve added some cornflour to thicken up the sauce.

This is much better – a lovely, warming stew, reminding us that Chinese cooking is not all about fast and frantic stir fries. It is also, accidentally, a fat-free recipe (if you don’t bother with the drizzle of sesame oil at the end).

Red cooked tofu photo DSCN0930_zps52fd2a4e.jpg

250g firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 red or yellow pepper, roughly chopped
10g ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp 5 Spice Powder
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornflour
250ml vegetable stock
sesame oil for drizzling
1 spring onion, chopped for garnish

Add the tofu, mushrooms, spring onion, ginger, sugar, five spice powder, rice wine and soy sauce to the slow cooker pot.
Mix the cornflour with a little water and then stir in the vegetable stock until it has all dissolved.
Pour the vegetable stock until you have just covered the ingredients. This takes about 250ml in my slow cooker, but yours may vary.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
When cooked, stir, season with salt, drizzle over some sesame oil and garnish with the chopped spring onion.

Serves 2 as a dinner with rice and stir fried greens

You can make this on the stove. In which case simmer it for 90 minutes. You will probably need to add a bit more stock to allow for it drying out.

Recipe: Tofu Banh Mi


For the past year, banh mi (the Vietnamese sandwich) have been everywhere. I don’t think there’s been a newspaper or food magazine that hasn’t covered them so far. I had kind of pushed them aside in my mind as ‘just another food fad’, and anyway, all of the recipes I saw had meat in them. Then I saw a couple of recipes for ones with tofu and decided to give it a try.

Now I get it.

These are full-flavoured, chin dripping, fun, dirty street-food. Believe the hype – these are great.

Your basic banh mi recipe is a length of french bread, sliced as for a sandwich, some mayonnaise, a pickle, chilli and a protein source. (As an aside, I have found a vegan mayonnaise by Tiger Tiger in Sainsbury’s and it’s excellent.) I went with carrot pickle and fried tofu in a teriyaki-ish sauce.

Note that the photo is on kitchen paper. This is deliberate. You will probably need to mop up afterwards. I needed to change my t-shirt.

Banh mi photo DSCN0896_zps69d58e37.jpg

For the pickle:
1/2 carrot, grated
2 tbsp vinegar (cider, wine or rice)
2 tsp sugar

For the tofu:
200g tofu, sliced into long strips
1 tbsp rice wine (or dry sherry)
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar

For the sandwich
1 baguette, halved and sliced in two
vegan mayonnaise
cucumber slices
1 spring onion, sliced
sprigs of fresh coriander
sweet chilli sauce

Put the carrot, vinegar and sugar in a bowl.
Mix well and set aside for about half an hour
Heat some oil in a pan.
Fry the tofu in it until it is browned on both sides.
Add the rice wine, soy and sugar.
Mix gently so that the tofu is coated in the sauce.
Let it bubble down until it is almost dry.
Spread some mayonnaise on one side of the bread.
Layer up the cucumber, tofu, pickled carrots and the rest of the ingredients, topping with a drizzle of chilli sauce.

Serves 2 Make sure you have plenty of napkins or kitchen roll to mop up as you eat.