CRISPY STUFFED TOFU POCKETS

From Vegan Holiday Feasts: Inspired Meat-Free Recipes for the Festive Season by Jackie Kearney, published by Ryland Peters & Small ($14.95)
Photography by Clare Winfield Ryland Peters & Small

  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 800 g/1¾ lb. firm tofu, cut into 8 squares, 6 cm/2½ inches across
  • 1 large cucumber, halved lengthways
  • 100 g/1¾ cups beansprouts
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts

 

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 1–2 small fresh red chillies/chiles,  finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind water, or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce (see recipe below) or light soy sauce and a pinch of seaweed flakes
  • 3 tablespoons kecap manis  (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)

 

VEGAN FISH SAUCE

  • 50 g/1¾ oz. dried seaweed (such as laver, dulse or arame),  cut into small strips
  • 500 ml/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons  light soy sauce or tamari
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 dried Chinese or shiitake mushroom

MAKES 250 ML/1 cup

Directions

  1. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a wok or large pan and deep-fry the tofu pieces in batches for 6–8 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.
  2. Put all the sauce ingredients into a food processor or blender and process to make a thick sauce.
  3. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds from the center of the cucumber. Slice the flesh thinly at an angle. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the beansprouts and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain, then set aside on paper towels. Toast the peanuts in a dry pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Chop them, then set aside.
  4. Preheat the grill/broiler. Cut a slit horizontally into the tofu pieces to make a pocket. Brush a little of the sauce onto the outside. Grill/broil for 3 minutes on each side. Drizzle a little sauce inside each tofu pocket, then stuff some beansprouts and cucumber pieces inside, with some sticking out. Drizzle with more sauce, then scatter toasted peanuts on top and serve.

VEGAN FISH SAUCE

Make a batch of this fish sauce and keep it in the fridge for your vegan cooking. It’s a great staple seasoning and is used in a host of dishes, marinades and dipping sauces. The sauce can be kept in the fridge for several months. 

Note

This popular snack from Indonesia, also found in Malaysia, is a moreish light bite, perfect to serve with drinks at any gathering. Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce that is

flavored with garlic and sometimes star anise. The tofu should be the fresh firm variety that hasn’t been frozen, so as to maintain the soft middle with a crispy outside.

  • Yield: Serves 4-6
  • Ingredients:
    • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
    • 800 g/1¾ lb. firm tofu, cut into 8 squares, 6 cm/2½ inches across
    • 1 large cucumber, halved lengthways
    • 100 g/1¾ cups beansprouts
    • 3 tablespoons peanuts

     

    FOR THE SAUCE

    • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
    • 1–2 small fresh red chillies/chiles,  finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons tamarind water, or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
    • 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce (see recipe below) or light soy sauce and a pinch of seaweed flakes
    • 3 tablespoons kecap manis  (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)

     

    VEGAN FISH SAUCE

    • 50 g/1¾ oz. dried seaweed (such as laver, dulse or arame),  cut into small strips
    • 500 ml/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons  light soy sauce or tamari
    • 8 black peppercorns
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1 dried Chinese or shiitake mushroom

    MAKES 250 ML/1 cup

  • Directions:
    1. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a wok or large pan and deep-fry the tofu pieces in batches for 6–8 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.
    2. Put all the sauce ingredients into a food processor or blender and process to make a thick sauce.
    3. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds from the center of the cucumber. Slice the flesh thinly at an angle. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the beansprouts and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain, then set aside on paper towels. Toast the peanuts in a dry pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Chop them, then set aside.
    4. Preheat the grill/broiler. Cut a slit horizontally into the tofu pieces to make a pocket. Brush a little of the sauce onto the outside. Grill/broil for 3 minutes on each side. Drizzle a little sauce inside each tofu pocket, then stuff some beansprouts and cucumber pieces inside, with some sticking out. Drizzle with more sauce, then scatter toasted peanuts on top and serve.

    VEGAN FISH SAUCE

    Make a batch of this fish sauce and keep it in the fridge for your vegan cooking. It’s a great staple seasoning and is used in a host of dishes, marinades and dipping sauces. The sauce can be kept in the fridge for several months. 

  • Note:

    This popular snack from Indonesia, also found in Malaysia, is a moreish light bite, perfect to serve with drinks at any gathering. Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce that is

    flavored with garlic and sometimes star anise. The tofu should be the fresh firm variety that hasn’t been frozen, so as to maintain the soft middle with a crispy outside.

  • Credit:

    From Vegan Holiday Feasts: Inspired Meat-Free Recipes for the Festive Season by Jackie Kearney, published by Ryland Peters & Small ($14.95)
    Photography by Clare Winfield Ryland Peters & Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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