My family has recently introduced the occasional tofu additive into our diet. We haven’t become vegetarian, but we have started adding tofu to our typical meat dishes.
We do this about once a week and our experimentation has opened our eyes. Tofu is not a wimpy vegan tree hugging food; it is actually an excellent carrier for other seasonings and flavours in your meal.
I first tried with silken tofu, which was a bit of a disaster. But after a little research we tried firm tofu, and then we were in business.
Firm tofu not only holds its shape well when cooked, but absorbs the flavours of the dish perfectly. It’s great cooked alongside things like haloumi cheese as it absorbs the rich flavour and aroma of the cheese.
For this brunch recipe of au naturale oysters served on a bed of firm tofu blocks, cut the tofu into triangle slices about 1cm thick.
Give the tofu a little spritz of olive or canola oil to give it tofu a beautiful golden colour, then fry it off in a hot frypan turning each piece so each side becomes golden. The gold crust on the outside of each tofu piece makes it look like so many other tasty ingredients that it also deals with the ‘eat with your eyes’ factor.
On top of the tofu triangles, cup the oysters either in their shells or in crispy baby cos lettuce leaves, and don’t forget the dressing. Serve the dressing in either a cos leaf or in an empty oyster shell).
If you wish, mix up the tofu triangles with bread slices brushed with a little olive oil and crushed garlic then grilled until golden or grilled haloumi triangles. In fact when I have served grilled firm tofu alongside grilled haloumi (aka squeaky cheese) I’ve had some friends tell me that they prefer the less squeaky cheese.
Trust me, disguise the tofu a little, cook it alongside your favourites, and you’ll get comments and questions like – “What was that nice little extra in the dish?”
And maybe the best bit is that tofu really is very good for you too.
The Asian ingredients for this dressing are available at Asian grocers or your local Chinatown.
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2-3 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Hoi Sin Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Cheil Jedang Gochujang (Hot Pepper Paste)
1 tablespoon Obento Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
Mix all the dressing ingredients together and spoon into a spare oyster shell or lettuce leaf. It is your cook’s privilege to misappropriate an oyster or six and have a few empty shells left that can be rinsed out and used to serve the sauce in – now you have an excuse, use it!
Sprinkle with diced spring onion and serve on the veranda overlooking the beach or your boat.Reads: 781