This is a sponsored post
Confession time… I’m a vegetarian (almost vegan) food blogger who’s really not that into tofu. I’ve never seen the appeal – it doesn’t taste of much, slightly odd texture, a faff to cook. Why bother? That is, until I tried tofu cooked ‘properly’ at Thai restaurants and then at Wagamama – suddenly the texture was beautiful, a really crispy coating with the spongy insides, literally soaking up all the flavours of the dish.
I needed to re-create this incredible tofu at home, and read that the way to achieve this amazing texture was to press all the liquid out of it. But oh, what a faff – the common method seemed to be squashing the tofu between two plates, weighted down with pans, tins or heavy books. I tried this once or twice, and the results were fairly good, but with water all over the worktop and tins falling off everywhere, this was never going to catch on.
Then an e-mail pinged in to my inbox from Ben, the inventor and manufacturer of the EZ Tofu Press – the no. 1 selling tofu press on Amazon in the USA. They have just started selling in the UK and wondered if I would like to test one. Yes please!
You can see how I got on below – it is such a simple idea, just two sheets of tough food-safe plastic, with tough bolts which you tighten to increase the tension every few minutes, and simply squeeze the water out of your tofu, (which needs to be the firm or extra-firm variety, not silken). You can stand it upright on a plate like I did, or even stand it in the sink so the water runs straight down the plughole as it drains out. No mess, no spills, super easy and perfect crispy tofu!
Other (more expensive) spring-loaded tofu presses I’ve seen on the market take over an hour to do their job, but this one will do its job in just 10-15 minutes, whilst you’re prepping the rest of your dinner. Perfecto!
Armed with my trusty tofu press, I was keen to re-create my all-time favourite tofu recipe, and the dish I order without fail every time I try a new Thai restaurant – Pad Thai Noodles. Flat rice noodles, stir fried with beansprouts, tofu, chilli, spring onions and shallots, topped with peanuts, radish, fresh coriander and lime juice, with a ‘sauce’ of tamarind paste, honey (or sugar) and a splash of vinegar. Sweet, sour and spicy – these are totally more-ish, tingling every single one of your taste buds with each forkful.
You can see above the really lovely texture of the tofu – crispy and spongy, soaking up all those lovely Thai flavours.
I’ve recommended in the recipe that you press and cook the tofu first, then prepare the vegetables and sauce whilst your noodles are soaking, so everything is ready to throw into the wok or pan for just a few minutes of fast and hot cooking time. Make sure the table is set to eat these immediately – they are at their very best served straight from the pan, with a fresh squeeze of lime juice.
- 150g extra firm tofu (I used Cauldron, found in the dairy aisle in supermarkets)
- Coconut or groundnut oil for shallow frying
- 200g flat rice noodles
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 red chillis, deseeded and finely sliced
- 50g beansprouts
- 2 spring onions, diagonally sliced
- 1 tbsp honey or sugar
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- 2 radishes, grated or julienne chopped
- 50g dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- Juice of 2 limes
- Press the tofu in an EZ Tofu Press, (or between two plates weighted down with tins or books), for 10-15 minutes until a good amount of liquid has been released. Slice into half-centimetre thick slices, then cut each slice in half diagonally to form triangles. Lay out on your chopping board and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok, (enough to completely cover the bottom of the pan), and when hot, add the tofu slices in batches and cook on both sides until crispy and golden brown. Remove onto a plate covered with kitchen paper, and set aside until needed.
- Cook the noodles according to packet instructions - usually soaking in boiling water for c.10 minutes. Whilst they are soaking, prepare all the vegetables.
- Prepare the sauce by whisking together the honey/sugar, tamarind paste, vinegar and boiling water in a small jug. Set aside.
- In the frying pan, heat a little oil and add the shallots and chillis, and cook for 2 minutes until starting to soften. Add the spring onions and beansprouts and cook for a further minute.
- Add the noodles and tofu to the pan and cook for a further minute or two until they are piping hot. Pour over the sauce and mix to completely coat the noodles.
- Divide the noodles between plates, and scatter with coriander, peanuts and radishes, then squeeze the juice of half a lime over each serving.
I have an EZ Tofu Press to give away to one lucky winner, via the Rafflecopter widget below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms & Conditions:
- There is 1 prize of an EZ Tofu Press.
- The winner will be announced on the Rafflecopter widget after the prize has been claimed.
- The prize will be delivered to the winner byEZ Tofu Press as soon as possible.
- There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable.
- This giveaway is open to UK entrants over the age of 18 only, and runs until midnight on 20th March 2016.
- The Veg Space, as the promoter, reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice.
- If the winner doesn’t respond to the email within 5 days, another winner will be picked.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by EZ Tofu Press, who are also providing the giveaway prize. All opinions are my own. The EZ Tofu Press is available from Amazon UK for £35.00 (free delivery).