Chinese Sweet and Sour Balls

If you love Tofu as much as I do and also love Chinese and sweet and sour flavours, this recipe will be a keeper. I often make this dish for my family and friends.

Tofu is a very light and low cost food with outstanding versatility and nutritional benefits. It’s an ideal choice for the health and diet conscious.

I usually make my own peanut butter and that’s what I like to use in my cooking because it’s natural and home made. It pairs beautifully with soy sauce. This recipe is from Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler.

I usually love serving this dish with steamed basmati rice. It’s simple to put together and looks really rich and delicious. Your family will love this recipe.

This recipe makes around sixteen 11/2 inch balls.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes

Ingredients

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp soy sauce

455 grams tofu

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup green peppers, chopped

¼ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup celery, sliced

4 green onions. Sliced thin

1 tbsp oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

6 tbsp sweetener of your choice

6 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

11/2 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

¼ tsp garlic powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Whip the peanut butter and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mash the tofu in a large bowl. Add the whole wheat flour, the peanut butter mixture, green peppers, mushrooms, celery and green onions. Form into sixteen 11/2 inch balls and arrange on a baking pan spread with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake 20 minutes and carefully turn them over and bake 20 minutes more. Serve on rice with Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking out all the lumps. Stir constantly until thickened.

Korean Barbecue Tofu

This tasty Korean recipe is flavoured with soy sauce, mustard and spices. The resulting dish makes them quite irresistible. Served with rice/rice noodles, they are perfect for a light and refreshing meal.

Tofu is a plant based protein and has about 22 grams of protein per half cup serving. This nutrient powerhouse is rich in calcium, iron, B vitamins, fibre, potassium and magnesium. This vegan dish is a great way to add tofu to your meal rotation.

I left the tofu marinating overnight in the fridge. It just takes a few minutes to make the marinade and it’s ready to be fried whenever you want it. Super easy and delicious.

I used Basmati rice, but you could use any type of white rice. This recipe is from the book Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

400 gms firm tofu, cut into ¼ inch slices

½ cup dark soy sauce

6 tbsp sugar

2 tsp dry mustard

½ tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

Cooked rice

Vegetable oil

Instructions

Mix the soy sauce, sugar, mustard, garlic and onion powder in a bowl. Marinate the tofu slices overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat a frying pan and fry the tofu slices in a little oil on both sides until they are browned. Serve the tofu on a bed of rice or rice noodles. Garnish with chopped green onions. You can also garnish with sliced mushrooms and snow peas. 

Spicy Sheperd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash

An old English classic – the Sheperd’s Pie is one of my favourite dishes. I have re-invented it in many different ways, but the latest one is the one I like most. I used cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and the result was very good. The mash was so smooth and creamy and tasted sublime.

I used plenty of mushrooms and soy chunks (Textured Vegetable Protein) for the base with spices to make it really flavourful. I added some frozen peas as well. You could use any vegetables you like.

Don’t skimp on the butter while making the mash. I also added some fresh cream and cheddar cheese. You could make this dish vegan by using vegan butter and coconut cream instead of fresh cream.

The aroma of the ground fresh coriander with the spices filled the entire kitchen. Really lovely!

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

11/2 cups soy chunks

200 gms button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup frozen peas

2 large onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cloves

5 green chillis

2 cardamoms

½ tsp black pepper

2 cups fresh coriander, chopped

2 pieces cinnamon

1 tbsp coriander seeds

Salt to taste

4 tbsp vegetable oil

For the cauliflower mash

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

½ cup butter

2 tbsp fresh cream

1 cup cheddar/Parmesan cheese, grated

½ tsp turmeric powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Butter a baking dish and preheat the oven to 180 C.

Rehydrate the soy meat in plenty of salted hot water. Leave for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower florets until they are very tender. Process with the butter in short bursts, using a food processor. The mash should be smooth and creamy. Add the fresh cream, cheese, turmeric, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain and squeeze the water from the soy meat. Blitz in the food processor until it is a coarse meal. Do not make it into a paste and don’t add any water. Set aside.

Grind the cumin, cloves, chillis, cardamom, pepper, fresh coriander, cinnamon and coriander seeds in a blender with a little water to a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions. Sautè until they are cooked and add the ground spices. Cook with 2 tablespoons of water for a few minutes and add the tomatoes with the salt and turmeric. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms and sautè for about 5 minutes. Add the ground soy meat and cook adding a few tablespoons of water until the mushrooms and the soy are tender. Add the frozen peas and mix well. When the peas are tender (this will only take a few minutes), remove the pan from the heat.

Spoon the spiced soy and mushroom mixture into the buttered dish and spread evenly. Spoon the cauliflower mash on top and use a fork to mark the top. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Gougère

Choux pastry is really delightful to work with – the moisture in the dough becomes steam in the oven and expands along with the air beaten into the dough during the mixing process. This causes the choux to swell up to three times its unbaked size and the result is an airy, feather-light pastry filled with lovely fresh vegetables.

This dish is perfect for special occasions – it looks wonderful as a party dish. The combination of cauliflower with mushrooms and spices makes it really delicious. It’s really rich but you end up wanting to eat more.

This recipe has been adapted from Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour SERVES: 4-6

Ingredients

8 tbsp butter

11/4 cups plain flour

4 eggs

1 cup Gruyère/Cheddar cheese, finely diced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling

1 small cauliflower

200 grams tomatoes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

11/2 cups button mushrooms, halved if large

11/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

11/2 tsp chilli powder

Fresh coriander, chopped

Salt to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Butter a large baking dish.

Place 11/4 cups water and butter together in a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and add all the flour at once. Beat well with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time and continue beating until the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the cheese and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture around the sides of the baking dish, leaving a hollow in the centre to take the filling.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, discarding the woody stalk in the centre.

To make the filling, purèe the tomatoes in a blender and add water, if necessary to make up to 11/4 cups of liquid.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the onions after a few seconds and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato liquid and coriander. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Spoon the cauliflower mixture into the hollow of the baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes until the pastry is risen and is golden brown on top. Serve immediately.