Yotam Ottolenghi’s Tofu and cauliflower ‘korma’

Serve this splendid vegan curry with rice or naan depending on personal preference, and a dollop of dairy-free yoghurt.

Prep 20 min
Cook 75 min
Serves 4

½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
40g cashew nuts
20g blanched almonds
120ml olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods, shells discarded, seeds roughly crushed in a mortar
2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
¾ tsp ground turmeric
2 tomatoes, grated and skins discarded (180g net weight)
1 large cauliflower, cut into large florets (750g net weight)
15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
250g extra-firm tofu, crumbled into medium chunks

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/425F/gas 9. In a small bowl, mix the red onion, a tablespoon of lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.

Put the cashews and almonds in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, simmer for 20 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat one and a half tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high flame, then fry the onion, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until soft and well browned. Transfer to a blender, add the nuts and 200ml water, and blend for two minutes, until very smooth.

Heat another tablespoon and a half of oil in the same pan on a medium-high heat, then fry the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, a teaspoon each of cumin and coriander seeds, and half a teaspoon of turmeric, and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the tomatoes, cook for four minutes, until thickened, then add the onion and nut mixture, 500ml water, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium and leave to cook for 20 minutes, until reduced by a third.

In a bowl, mix the cauliflower with the remaining quarter-teaspoon of turmeric, three tablespoons of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Spread out on an oven tray lined with baking paper, and roast for 18 minutes, until cooked through and coloured. Stir into the sauce, add two-thirds of the coriander and the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, and leave to simmer for five minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a medium saute pan on a high flame. Add the tofu, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp – about eight minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining teaspoon each of cumin and coriander seeds, and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir half of this mixture into the cauliflower, and reserve the rest.

Transfer the korma to a shallow serving bowl, top with the pickled red onion, followed by the remaining tofu and coriander, and serve.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/nov/10/yotam-ottolenghis-curry-recipes

Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay.

An even better quiche recipe

Real men don’t eat quiche. Real men eat vegan quiche, then do the washing up followed by giving their partners a back massage.

This is a superior quiche to this one.

A lot of the heavy lifting steps in this recipe can be done ahead of time, indeed the pastry needs to be made ahead of time and refrigerated for while. The cauliflower can also be roasted a day or two ahead if you happen to using the oven already.

In:

  • 1 batch Shortcrust pastry
  • 1 batch Scrambled breakfast tofu
  • 300 g cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • Handful of green beans, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced fairly thinly
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tabs of light miso
  • handful of your favourite olives (de-stoned if necessary) and sliced
  • 2 or 3 (semi) sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • Olive oil

Do:

Dissolve the miso into the water. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, miso water, 2 tbsp of the oil. Cover and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. There’s no need to refrigerate it – in fact…just don’t. The keen eyed will note that this step is based on a Soccatta mix.

Once the Soccatta mix is ready…Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Roast the cauliflower. Place in a bowl with a splash of olive oil and coat well. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until softened and slightly charred. Put to one side.

Whilst roasting, add a teaspoon of oil to a pan and fry the onions for about 3 minutes until they start to caramelise. Meanwhile, put a small saucepan of water on to boil.

Once the water is at a rolling boil add the chopped beans and blanche quickly. Drain and cool them with cold, running water. We want them still slightly crunchy.

Line an oiled quiche dish with pastry, prick the bottom and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and prepare the filling.

In a large bowl (or use one of the saucepans if big enough) combine the cauliflower, beans, olives, sundried tomatoes, onions, and scrambled tofu. Toss until fairly evenly mixed.

Add everything from that bowl into the pastry shell and gently smooth down until fairly even. Pour the the flour mix over as evenly as possible. Top with the sliced tomatoes.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, brush with a little olive oil, place in the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving.

Kitchen Note: If you don’t have one of those quiche dishes where the sides can be removed separately from the bottom despair not. The shortcrust pastry has a tendency to shrink slightly so will almost always smoothly pull back from the edges during cooking. Lightly oil the quiche dish if in doubt.

Scrambled breakfast tofu

Tofu is a much maligned substance, usually described by it’s critics as “Tasteless, white nothing; I’d rather have a slab of steak any day thanks very much.” The exact origins of tofu are unknown, though it is cited that Chinese legend ascribes its invention to prince Liu An (Chinese: 劉安 Liú Ān) who kicked around the kitchens of China in period between 179 and 122 BC. The inventiveness of the Chinese is well heralded in many areas of industry, philosophy and science so I can well believe that Prince Liu gifted us with the legacy of curded soy. An arguably more useful legacy that anything the British Royal family has managed lately.

Personally, I can understand the disdain that steak eaters have for the flavour of tofu as it’s raw flavour is perhaps too subtle for many palettes. Myself, I like the flavour of uncooked tofu and will occasionally nick a small piece off the kitchen bench after slicing and dicing the block in preparation for cooking. However tofu’s greatest strength is its ability to sponge up for other flavours, and in doing so act as a vehicle for their transportation to taste buds. The other interesting characteristic of tofu, and one which greatly extends its culinary usefulness is that the texture utterly changes when a block is solidly frozen and then defrosted. Putting tofu through this cycle makes it both firmer and most importantly leaves it with a bready consistency.

Tofu naturally comes in a number of grades (not of quality but of texture) ranging from very firm through to the jelly like consistency of silken tofu. The change made by the freezing and defrosting cycle is most noticeable when using silken tofu. In its original state silken tofu is akin to the consistency of solid custard, however after the freeze cycle it acquires a consistency similar to that of white bread – albeit in a wet tofuey sort of way. When lightly mashed with a fork it then becomes almost exactly like scrambled eggs, thus providing the perfect base material for creating a vegan alternative – with no chicken littlens required.

There’s one more thing you need to know before we get to the actual recipe bit – after defrosting the tofu you must thoroughly drain in order for the breading process to wok properly. Left too long stewing in the water that will be in the packet will begin to render it back to its original consistency. To drain thawed silken tofu press it firmly either between the flats of your palms, or between two plates.

Of course you’ll still need something else to add flavour to this dish; something to be carried along in the vehicle of the tofu sponge if you will. The other magic ingredient in this dish is fresh tumeric root – alas, the more common tumeric powder just won’t do. You can usually obtain tumeric root from any Asian green grocer, and sometimes in better supermarkets.

turmeric-root

Ingredients (serves two)

  • One block of silken tofu, frozen, thawed and drained
  • 2cm cube of tumeric root, finely grated (use a ginger grater if possible)
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed dry Italian herbs
  • 2 teaspoons of tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of soy milk
  • Grated pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Over a low heat lightly sauté the tumeric, garlic and pepper. Do not allow to burn.
  • Add the tomato, tofu, herbs and tamari. Lightly stir with a fork.
  • Once the tomato is softened, add the soy milk.
  • If the result has too much liquid for your liking, cook for a few minutes with the lid off. Next time try draining the tofu a bit more as perhaps some residual liquid remained after the thawing and squeezing process.

Serve on toast, optionally spread with avocado.

Next time I make this dish, I’ll try to have a camera handy to take a foodporn photo.

 

Baked tofu and bean balls

These balls are ideal for either Loinfruits or as party finger food. They bake to a lovely dark golden colour. To ensure that they were easy to remove from the tray once cooked The VegHead cooked a batch in a large muffin (or “cup cake”) tray – and used a load of the happy little paper cup cake whats-its. The Loinfruit saw the uncooked balls sitting in the gaily coloured trays before they went into the oven and there was a near riot in the kitchen ….

“Look! It’s cakes for dinner!” , said The Loinfruit
“Oh no it is!”, said the Nasty Ogre, cruelly crushing their happiness *

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of medium tofu
  • 1 cup of giant Baked Beans
  • 2 slices of bread, finely crumbed
  • 1/3 cup of cashews, finely crushed
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of light tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari
  • pepper to taste

To do:

  • Mash everything together to an even mixture
  • If too wet, crumb another slice of bread and mix through thoroughly
  • Form into firm balls of approximately 5cm diameter, place into prepared paper cups
  • Bake in a hot oven for 35 minutes

(*) “The Nasty Ogre” is a.k.a. “The VegHead”

Turmeric Tofu Quiche

The VegHead reckons that scrambled tofu with fresh turmeric roots is about as close you can to breakfast perfection this side of another hour in bed with SheWhoMustBeFed. This quiche is a slight variation on the same theme (scrambled tofu that is).

Ingredients:

  • Make a pie dough and line a quiche dish with it (preferably a two piece dish with separate sides and base).
  • One packet of silken tofu
  • One packet of medium firm tofu – mashed
  • Cornflour or egg replacer
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup of roughly grated courgette
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • few slices of onion
  • 4cm of a finger thick fresh turmeric root, grated using a ginger grater
  • fresh italian herbs to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • oats (to sprinkle on top)
  • olive oil
  • tamari

To do:

  • Lightly saute the onions, garlic, firm tofu and mushrooms in the oil and tamari
  • Add the herbs and grated fresh turmeric
  • Meanwhile, thoroughly mix the flour into the silken tofu using a fork
  • Add to pot and mix thoroughly
  • Mix in anything else left
  • Spoon into the pie dish and sprinkle generously with oats
  • Bake on high for 40 minutes or longer if need be.

Cavolo Nero and mushrooms in sesame

Cavolo Nero is a cabbage, but oh what a cabbage it is. Nero refers not only to the black verdancy of the leaves, but also points to the place it holds in the Royal Court of Cabbage. No mere, sulphurous, dense ball of pale cabbage commonry, Cavolo Nero’s leaves are long; and the thin, crispy flesh is densly crinkled. If you cannot get any local, organic Cavolo Nero in season, then you can use Kale instead. However your life will be a little sadder for the substitution.

This…is a stir fry. Considering the fact that stir fries are meant to form a solid foundation to the average VegHead’s menu we don’t actually cook that many of them. But hey…you go with the flow of what’s in season and what’s in the larder, and Cavolo Nero is a stir fry kinda guy…

What was in the fridge..

  • One firmly packed cup of chopped Cavolo Nero. Strip the stalk off each leaf as far as the point where it disappears anyway, slice into smallish pieces, wash and thoroughly drain before using.
  • One glove of garlic, crushed
  • A few slices of onion
  • One cup of chopped mushrooms. shitake would have been my first choice, alas the larder was shitakeless. Firm, small fresh champignons therefore gave it their all.
  • Half a packet of firm beancurd; cut into small cubes
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Tamari to taste
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Peanut oil for stir frying
  • Dark sesame oil
  • Crushed roasted almonds
  • Brown rice noodles

What to do..

Stir fry in this order:

  • onion, garlic and pepper
  • tamari, beancurd and mushrooms
  • cavolo nero

Meanwhile….prepare the brown rice noodles as per packet intructions. In my case; soak in boiled water for 5 minutes then rinse in cold water and drain.

  • add the cooked noodles to the stir fry. Toss with gaiety to ensure the noodles don’t form one fat lump all by themselves. Its a bit like a party where there are two social groups – your work friends and your “other” friends – unless you make them mingle they’ll all have a good time but they won’t socialise with each other.
  • Drizzle with a little dark sesame oil
  • Garnish with a generous toss of the coriander, and also the almonds
  • Best served on a prewarmed plate. For some reason noodles go cold on a plate almost quicker than anything else.

Served two..

Tofu Katjang Tana Soup

This is from the archives…according to my notes this was invented 21st February 2000. A ‘Frente’ CD was playing during the cooking.

Ingredients & Preparation

  • Tamarind pulp – ½ cup
  • Vegetable Oil (canola, peanut, walnut are suitable. Not Olive oil)
  • Fresh Ginger – approximately the size of the top knuckle of your thumb. Peel and finely chop, or grate if you have a ginger grater
  • Fresh coriander – 6 stalks. Finely chop
  • Salt free peanut butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Coconut cream – 1/3 can
  • Water – 1 ½ cups
  • Firm tofu – 1/3 block. Cut into 1” cubes
  • Shittake mushrooms – 4. Sliced finely
  • Medium size baby bock choy
  • Palm sugar – 1 tablespoon
  • Chilli paste – to taste

Method

  • Combine all liquid ingredients and melt palm sugar over low heat
  • Add mushrooms, coriander, tofu, and chilli
  • Cook for 10 minutes over low heat. Stir occasionally, ensuring that tofu is coated evenly with liquid. Do not allow to boil.
  • Add Bock Choy and cook for an additional 5 minutes

Serving

  • Serve over rice noodles or rice
  • The quantities listed should satisfy two people
  • Wine always improves a meal