in collaboration with Cauldron Foods
Until fairly recently I was a tofu-sceptic – loving the stuff in Thai and Japanese restaurants, but often frustrated when cooking it at home and ending up with a soggy, flabby mess. But I’ve learned a few tricks recently to help get that super-crispy, packed with flavour ‘ultimate’ tofu taste at home and now cook it regularly.
It doesn’t have much of a flavour of its own. but soaks up anything you chuck at it like a sponge, so marinading is a great idea, and pairing it with lots of ginger, garlic, chilli, soy sauce, sesame, coriander and so on makes a huge difference.
If that sounds like a bit of a faff, don’t panic! Help is at hand from the lovely people at Cauldron, who have recently brought out this ready-marinated Sweet Ginger Tofu. The block of tofu comes swimming in a packet of sweet ginger marinade, which you drain off into a bowl before cooking the tofu. The tofu gets nice and crispy, (just how I like it), after which you add the leftover marinade to the pan to reduce at the last minute, creating a sticky, ginger coating which is properly delicious.
I’ve added a few little twists, like lots of fresh chilli, plenty of sesame seeds, charred spring onions, fresh coriander and some soy sauce to the marinade for extra punch, but you can just as easily use this straight out the packet or customise it to your own taste.
There are a lot of baby vegetables around in supermarkets these days, they are cute, awfully trendy, and I can’t get enough of them. These baby courgettes are particularly fab – being so small they don’t turn soggy when cooked but retain their bite and flavour. They work so well here griddled or fried after the tofu until fairly well charred, then tossed in the sticky ginger sauce just before serving.
If you can’t get hold of baby courgettes, just use ordinary ones cut in half lengthways, then sliced diagonally fairly thickly.
- 250 g Cauldron Sweet Chilli Tofu
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- sunflower oil
- 200 g baby courgettes
- 2 spring onions
- 1 shallot
- 1 tsp ready-chopped garlic / garlic purée
- 1 tsp ready-chopped ginger / ginger purée
- 1 red chilli
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- handful fresh coriander finely chopped
- long grain or basmati rice to serve
Drain the excess marinade from the tofu into a small bowl or mug and set aside for later. Pat the tofu dry with clean kitchen paper, squeezing out any excess liquid, then slice into strips about 1cm thick, then slice each strip into triangles or cubes. Toss these in the cornflour, then heat sunflower oil in a griddle or frying pan (enough to cover most of the bottom of the pan), then fry the tofu until golden and crispy on both sides. Remove to a piece of kitchen paper and set aside.
Slice the baby courgettes in half, and griddle or fry on both sides until golden and crispy then remove and add to the tofu. Finally, trim and slice the spring onions diagonally and fry these for a minute or two until just starting to char at the edges. Remove and add to the tofu and courgettes.
Wipe out the pan and add a little sunflower oil. Peel and finely chop the shallot and add to the pan, fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and ginger, then de-seed and slice the chilli and add to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for a further 2-3 minutes.
Tip the bowl of leftover tofu marinade into the pan, followed by the soy sauce and water. Bring to the boil, then when it has reduced slightly (1-2 minutes), add the tofu and courgettes and stir to coat. Remove from the heat, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and coriander and stir, then serve immediately with fluffy rice.
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Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Cauldron Foods. All opinions are my own.