Tofu and Okara recipes

There are many ways in cooking to change the consistency of firm tofu which brings more possibilities in cooking with this versatile ingredient. Here are some cooking tips and recipes.

Silky tofu: boil the tofu in hot water for a minute or two.

Recommended recipe:

Tofu and Avo Salad with Tahini dressing

50g Tofu sliced Dressing:

1 avocado sliced ½ garlic clove, crushed

1 tomato sliced 2 tbs of tahini

1 cucumber sliced Juice of ½ lemon

1 black tea bag 1 ts of clear honey

2 tbs of olive oil

Salt and pepper

Put the tea bag and 100ml of water into a saucepan and bring to boil. Put the tofu in the saucepan and cook for 3 minutes. Scoop out the tofu to cool.

To make the tahini dressing; put the crushed garlic into a small bowl with the tahini, lemon juice, honey and a grind of black pepper and stir well together. If it is too thick, thin it down by whisking in a little water.

To assemble the salad, place tea flavoured tofu on a plate and spread sliced avocado, cucumber and tomato as desired. Trickle the tahini dressing generously over the whole lot and serve.

Firm tofu: it is the most common form of tofu you can purchase, it's also the form I home make.

Recommended recipes:

Mapou Tofu

150g Tofu Sauce:

(or half tofu + half mince pork/beef/lamb) Chinese five spices

2 carrots 2tbs soy sauce

1 courgette (and/or 1 aubergine) 2tbs sweet bean paste

Half an onion 50ml water

All the above dice into cubes 1 chilli

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 spring onion, chopped

Heat some oil in a non-stick frying wok over a medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, onion and Chinese five spices and cook until they soften. If you use any mince, add the mince in after the onion softens and continue to fry until the mince is well-cooked. You can also trickle some rice cooking wine as you fry the mince, it will bring the flavour out of the mince. Once the onion is soft (and the mince is cooked), add the courgette/aubergine and diced tofu in together with soy sauce, sweet bean paste, and water and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more until the courgette and aubergine are soft.

Bring the heat up and toss the chilli in and stir gently for a minute or two and switch off the stove. Sprinkle the spring onion on top before serving.

Cheese Baked Pesto Tofu

50g Tofu, sliced into 3 piece

1 tomato, sliced into 3 pieces

50g Cheddar, sliced into 3 pieces

5 leaves of basil

10g pine nuts (optional)

1 tbs pesto sauce

On a baking tray, place one slice of tofu and tomato with a piece of cheese on top and grill until the cheese turns brown and crispy.

Spread the pesto on a plate and stack the cheese baked tofu; sprinkle the basil and toasted pine nuts on top to finish.

Crispy tofu: slice the tofu into at least 1cm thick blocks or 3cm x 3cm cubes and deep-fry or pan-fry until all sides are golden and crispy.

Recommended recipes:

GongBao Tofu

150g Tofu, cubed and lightly fried Sauce:

Half onion, diced 2 tbs soy sauce

Half red/green capsicum, diced 1 tbs sugar

1 spring onion, chopped into 3 cm lengths 1 tbs malt vinegar

50g (a handful) peanuts 50 ml pineapple juice

10g old ginger, sliced or water

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 chilli

Heat some oil in a non-stick frying wok over a medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and onion and cook until they soften. Put pre-fried tofu and capsicum in and trickle the soy sauce along the edge of the wok and stir gently for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix sugar, vinegar and pineapple juice in a bowl, and add some salt and pepper. Pour this mix into the wok along with peanuts and chilli and stir for a further 5 minutes. Bring the heat up in the last 10 seconds to enhance the flavour before switching off the stove.

BBQ Kimchi Tofu

80g Kimchi, chopped6 deep-fried tofu cubes

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Any BBQ sauce of your own choice

Use a teaspoon to poke holes in the middle of the tofu cubes and scoop out 50% of the tofu inside. Fill the holes with kimchi and spring onion.

Grill on a frying pan with BBQ sauce until it's crispy.

Mashed or scrambled tofu: mashed tofu is a great way to combine mince in creating high protein but low calorie cuisine.

Recommended recipe:

Tofu Balls/ Frittata

200g tofu, mashed

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 potato, mashed

1 egg (can be omitted for vegan)

50g seaweed, chopped (optional)

2 tbs sesame/olive oil

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs Chinese five spices

salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it's well-combined. Shape the mixture into round balls and deep fry them until it's golden.

Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a frying pan and press it into a big round shape. Fry it both sides until it's golden. Serve as it is or sprinkle some cheese on top to grill for further 5 minutes as a frittata.

Meat eaters can simply replace 100g of port/beef/lamb mince to tofu to taste.

You can also try other spices like curry powder to change the flavour. It is also a good idea to add some kimchi :-)

Recipes using Okara:

Okara Oat Cookies (makes 12~15)

130g butter (room temperature)

85g brown sugar

1 egg

60g okara

25g plain or rice flour

1 ts baking powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon

A pinch of salt

350g oats

60g raisins

60g walnuts (optional)

In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar together well. Add in the egg and mix for an extra minute or two. Add the okara, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt and stir until it forms a good batter. Pour in the oats, raisins, and walnuts and mix well - you can add extra oats if the mixture is too wet.

Shape the mixture into round shaped cookies and bake in the oven at180 degrees until the cookies toughen up. (normal takes about 25 minutes as the okara contains more moisture)

Okara Patties (makes 15~20)

400g okara

100g plain flour or rice flour

2 eggs

chopped veg, e.g. cabbage, kale, carrot, peas, onion, corn,

1 crushed garlic clove

3 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs sesame or olive oil

salt & pepper

Mix the above ingredients well in a bowl and shape the mixture into patties! It's very simple and easy, you can also add 2 tbs of curry powder to give extra flavour. Sometimes I put 2 tbs of kimchi sauce and chopped kimchi too. If you don't like the dense texture add some oats, or add nuts if you like it to be crunchy :-)

Okara pancakes (makes about 10)

30g sugar

2 eggs

1 tbs honey

60g plain or rice flour

60g okara

1 ts baking powder

40~60 ml milk or soy milk

In a bowl, whisk the sugar, honey, and eggs until there are many bubbles on the surface (normally takes about 5~10 minutes by hand). Add in the flour, okara, baking powder, and milk and stir slowly and gently until it mixes well. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan, pour in 4 tablespoons of mixture and fry until both sides turn golden. Serve with honey or your choice of jam.