Spicy, crispy tofu – the lazy vegan version

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Ahhhhh… spicy, crispy and vegan. I circled this recipe, which is originally from BOSH! because, while enticed by the flavours and textures, I was put off by the amount of work, time and frying involved.

But I could not let this recipe go so here is my altered version of the original video recipe found here.

My version is faster and I bake rather than fry the tofu. The results are delicious!

Ingredients

The tofu strips

12 oz block of extra firm tofu.

½ cup cornstarch

1 Tbsp peanut or coconut oil

The chili sauce

The juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)

The juice of one large orange (about ½ cup or a little more)

½ cup sweet chili sauce

4 Tbsp soya sauce

2 tsp chili paste (I used sambal oelek). If you really like spicy – use up to 1 Tbsp chili paste.

1 squirt (about ½ Tbsp) Sriracha sauce

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F. Oil a baking sheet with the peanut or coconut oil.

Cut the block of tofu in half horizontally so that you have two flat slabs. Lay the slabs on a clean, lint-free towel or paper towel and cover with another towel. Press gently with the flat of you hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Cut the tofu into evenly sized strips or cubes.

Put the cornstarch in a large bowl or a large ziplock plastic bag. Add the tofu and toss the tofu to coat each piece with cornstarch.

Place the tofu pieces on the oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

When the tofu is done, it will only be browned in some spots. It may even still look white and cornstarch-powdery, but it will be firm and crispy.

While the tofu bakes, make the chili sauce.

Juice the orange and the lemon. Add the juices and all the other sauce ingredients to a large frying pan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer and bubble for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce volume will reduce by a little less than half. Turn off the heat and add the baked tofu pieces and stir to coat the tofu.

Serve and enjoy.

Spicy orange and pepper stir fry

Orange Tofu 3.jpgFor most of my adult life, I have sucked at making stir fries. I just didn’t have a clue what to do or what ingredients to add. That’s changed and now I’m stir frying like a boss thanks to the many great recipe sites out there.

This recipe is from the Vegan Richa site with just a few modifications; I added more veggies. If I could find them, I’d add those cute, sweet little baby corns too but they remain elusive.

I hope you make this recipe. It’s beautiful enough to serve to guests and delicious and different.

Ingredients

Ingredients.jpg

3 tsp cornstarch (use arrowroot to make corn-free, add more starch for thicker sauce and glaze)

2 Tbsp warm water

2 Tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp maple syrup, agave or 1 Tbsp raw sugar

1 Tbsp Asian Hot Chili paste (I used Sambal oelek and 1 tablespoon made this dish plenty hot! )

The juice of one naval orange

1 Tbsp flavourless oil for stir frying. I use peanut oil.

7-8 ounces of very firm tofu patted and dried and cut into cubes.

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped/sliced (not minced)

1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1 can (about ¾ cup) sliced water chestnuts drained

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Directions:

In a small bowl or cup, whisk the cornstarch and water. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, hot chili sauce, orange juice and zest. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes and fry until the cubes are browned on several sides.  This will take about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sliced garlic and give a quick stir – about 1 minute.

Add the sauce and cook for about 3 more minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve with rice, rice noodles or glass noodles.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings depending on how much rice you want to eat it with. I find it’s quite saucy and spicy so it can easily 2 ½ cups of cooked rice – enough for 3 servings.

Hoisin-marinaded stir fry – like a boss!

HoisinStirFry.jpgSomehow going vegan has made me a better cook. Pre-vegan days I tried making stir fries but they were uninspired and incredibly monotonous. Not any more. This might be my favourite stir fry ever. It’s easy yet has a flavor complexity, and is fun to eat with its many different textures and the slurpy noodles.

Ingredients

Hoisin Marinade Sauce

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp water

2 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tsp lime juice (about ½ lime)

1 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter

1.5 tbsp maple syrup

1.5 Tbsp minced or grated ginger (about a thumb-sized piece of ginger root)

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 hot green or red chili pepper, finely chopped

red pepper flakes to taste

12 oz firm tofu, patted dry and cut in bite-sized cubed

For the veggies and noodles

6 oz rice noodles (I use pad thai noodles)

4 baby bok choys sliced up

1 carrot cut into coins

1 red pepper diced

½ cup frozen peas thawed

3-4 mushrooms cleaned and sliced (I used cremini mushrooms but try any type that suits your taste)

1 tsp oil

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Directions

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the cubed tofu. I find it helpful to first melt the nut butter in the microwave so it mixes more readily with the other marinade ingredients.

Once your marinade is mixed, add the tofu cubes and toss them to coat them. Let them marinade for 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

While the tofu marinades, prep your veggies and cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. When the noodles are cooked, drain them and place them in a large serving bowl.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add the marinated tofu and marinade and sauté until the tofu starts to get some browned sides. When the tofu has some crispy colour, remove it from the wok and place it in the serving bowl with the rice noodles. Leave the marinade in the wok.

Add the stir fry vegetables and cook them in the marinade mix. They will cook very quickly – in about 3 minutes. Remove them and the marinade and add them to the bowl along with the tofu and noodles.

Toss everything and combine. Make sure the noodles are coated with marinade.

Top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.

Serve up and enjoy!!

This recipe makes 3-4 servings and is heavily based on a similar recipe from Vegan Richa.

 

My big fat vegan moussaka

moussaka

So we’re turning the clocks back an hour this weekend. What are you going to do with this extra time?? Make vegan moussaka!! This dish is made up of layers of roasted eggplant, potato and zucchini in a lightly cinnamon-scented tomato sauce and a creamy “béchamel” topping. It’s all comforting and delicious without being heavy.

This isn’t a difficult recipe, but there is a time commitment of about 90 minutes from start to finish. It’s worth it though!

You can make this dish the day before, right up to the baking stage.

This recipe is heavily based on Isa Chandra’s recipe. She must have a large food budget because she recommends some rather costly ingredients such as pine nuts instead of ground almonds in the béchamel. I’ll bet that’s lovely, but since I still have a mortgage, I went with more affordable ingredients throughout.

You will need a food processor or sturdy blender for to make the béchamel sauce.

Ingredients

For the vegetable layer

1 large eggplant

3 large white potatoes

1 very large or 2 average-sized zucchinis

Enough olive oil to oil 3 cookie sheets

For the sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onion diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup vegetable broth or red wine

23 oz jar or 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (I use Italian crushed tomatoes that come in a jar – the taste is far superior for the extra dollar it costs).

2 teaspoons oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Bechamel topping

A 12 oz block of tofu

½ cup ground almonds

3 Tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ of a juicy lemon)

1 teaspoon arrowroot powder or tapioca powder

1 clove garlic

pinch nutmeg

1 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

pepper to taste

Other ingredients

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Enough oil to oil a 9”x13” baking or casserole dish

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly oil three baking sheets or shallow pans.

Roast the vegetables

Trim the stems from the eggplant and zucchini(s). Remove any eyes from the potatoes, but there’s no need to peel them. Slice the eggplant, zucchini and potato, lengthwise, into approximately 1/4 inch thick slices. Rub the eggplant slices with a little salt and set aside in a colander in the sink or in a big bowl for about 15 minutes to soften and sweat (yes, you will see the eggplant sweating!). The salt helps lift out any bitter taste in the eggplant. Lightly rinse off the eggplant after it’s had time to sweat.

Use a separate baking sheet for each type of vegetable. Spread the vegetable slices out in a single layer. Give the potatoes and zucchini a light sprinkle of salt.

Roast the zucchini and eggplant for 15 minutes and the potatoes for 20. Remove from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool.

Leave the oven on!

While the vegetables are roasting make the sauce.

Add the ¼ cup olive oil to a large pot and heat on medium high. Sauté the onion and garlic until they are translucent. Add the other ingredients and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and set the pot of sauce aside.

Make the béchamel sauce

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or strong blender. Blend until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. I add up to ½ cup of water as I’m blending to get a creamier sauce… it really depends on the tofu you use.

Assemble and bake

Oil a 9 x 13 pan. Spread a big spoonful of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. Layer in the eggplant, then the potato, then a thin layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with half the bread crumbs. Add the layer of zucchini. Add the next layer of eggplant and potatoes and the remainder of the breadcrumbs. Layer the remainder of the tomato sauce over it all. Then spread the béchamel sauce as the top layer and smooth it out. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and it’s formed a few cracks. Allow the dish to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Viking Mounds – the beeting heart of deliciousness

vikingmound3I call these open-faced sandwiches Viking Mounds because they remind me of those mysterious burial mounds found all over Britain, which once sliced into reveal hordes of buried treasure. The ingredients also make me think of what I imagine compassionate Scandinavians eat – sauerkraut, pickles, cucumbers, beets, crisp and mustardy tofu and grainy bread.

This recipe makes 3 mounds hearty enough for any Viking!

Ingredients

The tofu and sauce

12 oz package tofu – dried and cut into slices of even thickness

2 Tbsp agave

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I use seedy mustard)

2 Tbsp olive oil

The sauce

2 dill pickles minced

1 Tbsp brine from the dill pickles

2-3 green onions sliced (or ¼ of an onion diced)

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (or ½ tsp dried dill)

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

¼ tsp ground pepper

The rest of the sandwich

3 medium beets, boiled and skins removed, sliced into coins.

¾ cup sauerkraut (try to find unpasteurized sauerkraut; it’s higher in probiotics and better for your gut health

About 8” of cucumber sliced into coins (I use an English cucumber so it doesn’t need to be peeled)

3 slices of whole grain or bread or pitas or similar sturdy bread

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Directions

Heat the olive oil, agave and Dijon mustard in a large frying pan, and stir together to blend. Fry the tofu in this mixture on medium heat until just golden and then flip. Turn the heat off and allow the tofu to remain warm.

Make the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl or cup.

Assemble the sandwiches.

Place ¼ cup sauerkraut on top of a slice of bread. Add one third of the cucumber slices on top then one third of the beet slices. Add one third of the fried tofu and cover with one third of the sauce.

Dig in!!

 

Pad Thai – because I said it is

PadThai2.jpg I’ve been hesitant to post this recipe because Pad Thai is one of those dishes that people are a) very loyal to and b) very scornful about its authenticity. “Ketchup in Pad Thai is just so wrong,” I’ve heard people sneer.

Well hey… guess what. Sometimes I want a tangy, saucy, tomato-y, rice-noodle dish and simply don’t have a Thai street-food vendor handy. Anything else is indeed essentially unauthentic, and yet slurpy delicious anyway.

I made this dish with what I had on hand and was simply happily riffing in my kitchen. The next version I make will include some of the optional ingredients I list below.

So let’s make Audie’s vegan version of Pad Thai.

Ingredients

222 g rice noodles (about 8 ounces)

1 Tbsp coconut or peanut oil

1 small eggplant diced

1 red pepper cored and diced

1 small can bamboo shoots drained

12 oz firm tofu crumbled into fingertip-sized chunks

Other optional vegetables you could add: baby corn, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower

Sauce ingredients

1 cup Jufran hot banana sauce (or ketchup) divided in half

I Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses or tamarind sauce

Serve garnished with bean sprouts, diced peanuts, hot sauce, lime wedges and basil leaves

Directions

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.

In a large pot or wok, heat the coconut or peanut oil. Add the crumbled tofu and heat and stir as if you were making scrambled eggs. Add ½ cup of the hot banana sauce (or ketchup) and stir to coat the tofu. Add whatever vegetables you’re using and stir fry until the vegetables are just heated through and just slightly softened (you want to keep that vegetable crunch!). Add the remaining sauce ingredients and toss everything to combine. Add the cooked rice noodles and toss everything again so the noodles are coated.

That’s it! Serve up with lime wedges, diced peanuts, basil and hot sauce.

 

Baked curried tofu with creamy coconut rice

curriedtofu.jpgI absolutely love marinated and baked tofu. Depending on the marinade and how thinly or thickly you slice the tofu, you can create a range of flavours and textures.

The dish is easy to make though you need to allow time for the tofu to marinate.

The rice is a tasty side that comes together effortlessly. The sauce is my vegan riff on a traditional Indian raita – a cooling yogurt-based sauce that accompanies spicy dishes.

Make the tofu

Ingredients

14 oz block extra firm tofu

2 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tbsp water

½ tsp curry powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp tumeric powder

½ tsp onion powder

2 cloves garlic minced

Directions

To make the tofu, cut the block into 8 equal slices. Place on a clean, lint-free towel and cover with another towel and press to squeeze out the liquid. Use the whole flat of your hand and press evenly.

Mix all the other ingredients together and spoon a small amount into the bottom of a shallow dish. Place the tofu in the dish. It’s okay if the tofu is stacked in 2 layers Spoon the marinade over the tofu and allow it to marinate in the fridge 1 to 4 hours

When the tofu has marinated, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Spoon any remaining marinade over the tofu Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.

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Make the rice

Ingredients

1 cup basmati rice

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup water

3 cardamon pods (or about ½ tsp ground cardamon)

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

½ tsp curry powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp tumeric powder

1 chili sliced (optional)

½ cup peas

Shelled pistachios for garnish (optional)

Directions

Add everything but the pistachios and peas to a pot and stir together. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for about 15 minutes. Stir in the peas. Top with pistachios if using.

Make the raita

Ingredients

½ cup unsweetened soy-, nut- or coconut-milk yogurt (not coconut-flavoured yogurt but yogurt that is made from coconut milk)

½ tsp coriander

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp salt

½ cup diced cucumber

1 shallot diced finely

Directions

Mix everything together and serve with the tofu and rice.

I enjoyed this meal with a beet and mandarin orange salad on the side.