Sweet and Sour Tofu and Broccoli

“Xin Nian Kuai Le” or Happy Chinese New Year! Since the Year of the Snake starts on a sunday this year, it gave us the theme for our family sunday lunch – especially since I’d found some allergy friendly fortune cookies to add to the excitement.

This is by no means an authentic recipe – just my version of sweet and sour crispy tofu and broccoli. It would probably be lovely served with rice but we opted for noodles (tossed in a little of the sauce) for added good luck. Some extra seasoning with slices of red chilli and spring onion was a welcome addition for a bit of extra bite and colour.

Sweet and Sour Tofu and Broccoli (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 4

  • 1 pack of firm tofu, drained, dried and cut into small pieces
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
  • 3-4 tbsps cornflour (cornstarch)
  • sunflower oil, to fry
  • 4 tbsps tomato ketchup
  • 3 tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsps syrup
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped

– Combine the ketchup, soy sauce, balsamic, lemon juice, sugar and syrup. Set aside.

– Heat the oil in a large frying pan.

– Cube the tofu and coat in cornflour. Cook in batches in the oil until golden and crispy all over (don’t overcrowd the pan as the tofu tends to stick together!)

– Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

– Wipe out the pan.

– Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, set aside to dry.

– Fry the onion and pepper in 1 tbsp of sunflower oil until starting to turn brown.

– Add the garlic and stir until fragrant

– Add the broccoli and tofu and toss to combine all the ingredients.

– Pour over most of the sauce and stir over the heat until all nicely coated and warmed through.

– Serve over rice or noodles.

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Surprising Rich Double Chocolate Brownies

If you think of the ingredients in a brownie you most certainly think chocolate, sugar and eggs. With eggs a no-go how can you make a brownie that’s a moist ‘truffley’ bar rather then a ‘cakey’ slice? Surprisingly, the answer is silken tofu.

Brownies made with tofu sound weird and not very appetising, but they’re actually rich, dense and most certainly a proper brownie. This recipe is adapted from one that appears in Vegan Cookies Invade the Cookie Jar – don’t be scared of the tofu – give it a go, you won’t regret it…

Surprising Rich Double Chocolate Brownies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes a 9 inch square pan full

  • 100g silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup oat milk (or use soya)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate, chopped

– Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 3

– Line a 9 inch square baking tray with parchment

– In a blender, whizz together the drained tofu, oat milk and oil.

– Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the sugar and vanilla essence.

– Sift in the flour, cocoa, cornflour, baking powder and salt.

– Gently fold the mixture together until well combined.

– Stir in the chopped chocolate

– Pour into the baking dish and level off.

– Bake for 30 minutes

– Cool in the dish before cutting into squares.

Black Pepper Tofu

I know tofu can be a challenging ingredient to many people, but I defy anyone not to be totally converted to its delights after eating this fabulous dish. This is an adaptation of a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s fabulous veggie cook book ‘Plenty’. I think he describes it as a go-to crowd pleaser, and I have to agree. There is certainly NO WAY you could eat this dish and still think that tofu is bland, boring and best avoided. When I make it for the kids I seriously cut back the spices and pepper, and my version is already pared back from Ottolenghi’s original…. his is seriously hot, spicy and peppery. Try this and you’ll certainly come back for more.

Black Pepper Tofu (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 4

  • 800g firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • sunflower oil to shallow fry
  • cornflour to coat the tofu (gives the crisp texture)
  • 8 shallots, finely sliced
  • 6 mild chillies, finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsps fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsps light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsps dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps caster sugar
  • 2-3 tbsps crushed black pepper
  • 5 spring onions, finely sliced for decoration

– Heat the oil in a large frying pan.

– Cube the tofu and coat in cornflour. Cook in batches in the oil until golden and crispy all over (don’t overcrowd the pan as the tofu likes to stick together!)

– Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

– Wipe out the pan.

– Add some fresh oil along with the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger. Saute until soft and slippery.

– Add the balsamic, soy sauces and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

– Stir in the black pepper.

– Place the tofu back in the pan with the sauce and stir to combine and warm through.

– Serve over plain rice and garnished with the spring onion.