Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spicy FriedTofu with Japanese Bean Sprouts and Asparagus

I still have a couple of Japanese recipes, I have wanted to post for some time now. Since there is not really anything spectacular happening in my life right now, I'll post the first two of them. I hope you remember that this is NOT a food blog, even though my life seems to revolve around cooking and eating. It will get better next week because tomorrow we are leaving for Birmingham. But until then enjoy some Japanese cuisine. The first one is a spicy fried tofu. Originally it was made with minced pork but I ruthlessly veganised it.

Unfortunately I have forgotten where I had the original recipe from. It was probably on cookpad but I can't find it there anymore. Anonymous cook, if you think this was your recipe, please comment. And here is my recipe:

Spicy Fried Tofu


1 package firm tofu (cotton tofu) about 450 g
300 g soy mince
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 bottle passata (450 ml)
2 tablespoons of chopped unsalted peanuts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
starch and water for thickening
sesame oil
rice flour for coating the tofu

What to do

1. Cut tofu in slices and pat dry. you may want to press the tofu slightly with a kitchen towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Coat the tofu slices in rice flour.
2. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and bake the tofu golden brown, put aside.
3.Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the minced garlic, chopped ginger, and most of the green onions (keep some for decoration). Stir-fry with the soy mince. Add the passata, mix well and let cook on a low flame for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the soy sauce and chopped peanut and heat through.
5. Thicken to the desired consistency with some starch disolved in cold water.
6. Put tofu on top and let simmer to reheat the tofu.
7. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions and serve with rice.
8. You may want to add some spices to your sauce. It is completely up to you how hot you want to go. I added some chili pepper, cumin, and pepper.

Since this is a heavy load of proteins (C made a bike tour the day before and needed to restore his muscle power) I added a Japanese vegetable dish; beans sprouts and asparagus and this time I know where I got the recipe from :) It is from the lettuce club webpage.
What looks like some kind of weirdo spaghettis are actually bean sprouts. Yes they were a bit thinly but I didn't want to drive to the Asia shop in town. So that was the best I could do. But it was very yummie so they served their purpose.

Japanese Bean Sprouts and Asparagus


1 bag of beansprouts
1 bunch (500g) green asparagus
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon mirin
coarsely ground black pepper, salt, sesame oil

What to do:

1. Carefully wash the beansprouts, put them in a colander and let the water drip off
2. Peel the lower third of the asparagus, cut dioganally in thick slices 
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until fragrant; add the asparagus and fry with low heat until asparagus is done but still crispy. You may add a little bit of water and cover the pot for 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Add the beansprouts, mix quickly and add the mirin, salt, and spices.
5. Sprinkle with sesame oil.

And that is what everything combined looked like:

Sorry for the Chinese chop sticks *blush*

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spaghetti Attack on Asparagus and Wild Rocket Salad

Phew, just in time for this months NCR (No Croutons Required) event. NCR is hosted by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen, who is this month's host. The theme of this month was to transform asparagus into a vegetarian salad or soup. I decided on a salad and combined it with pasta, an obviously very fashionable combination since a lot of bloggers went for it (at least the ones I'm following). I pondered for some time what I could create for this event. My asparagus soup recipes are very tasty but quite ordinary, but when I came across Austrian turbo housewife's blog Prostmahlzeit I knew exactly what I wanted. Her dish is a warm one and not quite vegetarian, but all I needed was her lovely picture of her Spargel-Rucola-Spathetti.
Here are the main ingredients:

Look for very fresh white asparagus, because it needs a bit of crunchiness after pan-roasting. Yes you have heard right; instead of boiling or steaming, the asparagus is pan roasted and thus keeps all the flavour in it ... and a welcome amount of crunchiness :)

I also used a specially prepared pasta, bronze plate extruded spaghetti. Expensive, but for a special treat well worth trying out. They have a rougher surface (good for attaching sauces) and a bit different taste than regular pasta.

And here is the result:

And here is the recipe:

1/2 a package of spaghetti (250 g)
300 g white asparagus
olive oil for frying
1 1/2 handful of wild rocket (arugula)
1 garlic, pressed
1 1/2 organic limes (organic because you will also use the zest)
olive oil
loads of freshly ground black pepper
herb salt, used sparingly
1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts

Peel the asparagus, wash and set aside to let it dry a bit. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti al dente, drain and surprise them with a cold shower (otherwise they will stick together and they cannot wiggle so nicely between the asparagus and rocket).
Cut the asparagus in 4 or more parts and fry them in olive oil. Toss them around now and then to get an even browning.
Now make your dressing with the zest and juice of the limes (if yours are as dry as mine, add some lemon juice), the pressed garlic, herb salt, lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper, and olive oil.
Mix all the ingredients and pour over your dressing. Make a mild mess and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Peanut-free Pea-Nut-Roast

Nut roasts are something you eat at Christmas. That's what you might think; but Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe is a big lover of nutroasts at all times of the year. In 2008 she already held a blog event 'Neb at Nut Roast' with lovely recipes incoming in order to contradict some extraordinarily strange statements that nut roasts and vegetarians don't go together (some even calling it an 'insult to vegetarians'). Well, Johanna and me dare to differ, we both love nut roasts. In my eyes it is the most iconic British comfort food and not just during winter time!

Since her follow-up event 'A Neb at Nut Roast II' ends in May (more exactly today - yes, I'm late as usual) I didn't want to make a hearthy roast. Summer is arriving quickly and my roast ought to reflect this by being quite summer-ish. At first I tried a veganized version of Rose Elliots pine nut and carrot roast, but I wasn't quite convinced. Not enough summer in there. Then I saw the 'poppyseed encrusted green pea burgers' at Just Bento's and knew immediately that this is the colour and taste I wanted. So heavily pea-inspired I made this ridiculy easy pea-nut roast (allergic persons please do relax: no peanuts involved *hehe*). And out came this lovely green nut roast, perfectly fit for a summer night:

I baked it in a silicone form since the pine nut roast clinged terribly to my usual loaf form and I was quite satisfied with the results; it came loose neatly. Now, does this look like summer or not?

I served it with pasta and a carrot sauce:

And here is the easy-peasy recipe:

Easy Peasy Nut Roast

200 g Brazil nuts
50 g Cashew nuts
400 g shelled and cooked peas (you can use a frozen package if no fresh peas are available)
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
herb salt and pepper to taste

Cook the peas in a pan, covered barely with salted water. Cook for roughly 5 minutes until the peas become a bright green (don't overcook them or they will become greyish and you will loose the nice colour). Retain the cooking water.

Put the nuts in a food processor and process until smooth but not too smooth, they should still be crumbly like breadcrumbs. Add the cooked peas, the onion and the garlic and process. Carefully add cooking water until it becomes an easily shapeable but firm dough. Use salt and pepper to taste.

Press in form (if you don't use a silicone form, spray the form with oil and use breadcrumbs to avoid sticking on the sides of the form).

Bake in the oven (sorry I forgot how long, maybe 20 to 30 minutes - I will update next time I make this recipe; and there will be a next time because this is a keeper).