Crunchy golden tofu pieces in a spicy salty sauce with toasted sesame seeds, hell yes! Put it all on top of a pile of fine rice noodles and fresh slaw and I’m a happy girl. This is by no means a traditional bun bowl with all the right flavours and – but they were the inspiration, so don’t get angry at me for my description. Let 2017 be the year of you having fun with your food and letting go of the rule book.
Before I start talking about how much I like these delicious flavoursome bowls of joy let’s talk a little more about the whole food and fun thing. I am not a trained chef. I am the very lucky daughter of 2 excellent home cooks who loves to eat and loves to cook. I write a food blog about what I cook, sharing the recipes with you lovely people. But I’m no expert and don’t pretend to be.
You just get to see the end outcome of all the learning and errors that go in my kitchen ( a lot). I also will tend to take inspiration from traditional dishes from around the world and make them my won. They are by no means better but more suited to what I can/like to eat and what I can achieve in my kitchen.
You can go ahead and play with recipes too. Don’t have an ingredient? Then use google and your brain to find a suitable replacement. This is how wonderful things happen. And disasters but hey, part of learning is exploration right? Learn the basics of cooking and then let go of the rules a little bit and see what happens. It’s such a great way to learn to be more confident in the kitchen. And being more confident means you’ll cook more and learn more about what real food is and then hopefully eat better!
But back to the tofu. I’m all about making tofu crispy before chucking it in sauces at the moment but I will be experimenting with other ways to cook it soon. That said one of my favourite recipes from 2016 was this satay tofu bowl so I will probably be continuing to crisp up tofu for a while yet.
I love having the golden crispy tofu with fresh and fragrant salads. A simple slaw like this one is so easy to do and the perfect thing to have for a summer meal. The flavours sing, like in tune and everything. The other great thing is that the rest of the prep can be done while you wait for the tofu to get all crispy. You’re barely even multi tasking because watching an oven isn’t a job, set a timer and go do something else.
1 Tbs chilli flakes
2 Tbs sesame seeds
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs freshly grated ginger
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cups finely grated green cabbage
1 cup finely grated red cabbage
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onion
1/2 coriander leaves
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp coriander stems, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, freshly grated.
200g vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Press tofu for 15 minutes, in absorbent paper with a weight of some kind on top (i use a small cast iron pot).
Cut tofu into bite sized pieces and spread in a single layer on prepared tray. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden.
Meanwhile combine chilli, sesame seeds, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and maple syrup in a medium sized bowl. Add cooked tofu and toss to coat. Allow to site and marinate for 15 minutes. Then spread tofu out in a single layer on the trays again. Drizzle in sauce and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Place cabbage in two different bowl and drizzle each with some of the vinegar. Season with salt and toss to combine. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. When ready to serve toss together all slaw ingredients.
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. To serve: place vermicelli in the bottom of a bowl top with slaw and tofu. drizzle dressing over slaw and noodles and eat. if taking for lunch I usually use the dressing on the slaw so I don’t need to take extra containers with me!