Tofu has a funny reputation. Some people love it, some can’t abide it. But the most common complaint is about it’s texture. Creating crispy, firm, chewy tofu is an art, one which up until now I had definitely not perfected. But then I purchased a waffle iron and started doing some waffle research. It turns out, you can put pretty much anything in a waffle iron with tremendous results, The heat and pressure, and the increased surface area for crisping created by the waffle pattern are all a winning combination. Classic waffles have become one of my daughters’ favourite breakfasts; and other recipes, fritters, potato cakes, veggie burgers… you name it, you can squash it in a waffle iron and it’ll come out brilliantly. (You could easily work the waffle magic on my broccoli and sweetcorn fritters or my veggie quinoa patties)
This brings me back to tofu. Tofu is often used as a protein source to rival meat or dairy, yet those who still eat meat, and many who don’t, find the flabby texture of tofu difficult to love. Creating the perfect tofu seems to be the holy grail of many a veggie or vegan cook – as evidenced by the huge plethora of online tofu recipes promising crispiness, crunchiness and a firm chewy bite. A waffle iron can help you create all this relatively easily. This particular recipe is for an asian style teriyaki tofu, but this method could so easily be used to make smokey barbecue tofu, indian spiced tofu, Jamaican jerk tofu or pretty much any spice and flavour combination you can think of.
- 1 400g block of firm tofu (£1.50)
- 4 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of miso paste
- 1 tsp of rice vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
- 1 inch of ginger – grated
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp of honey / maple syrup
First the tofu needs pressing to remove much of the moisture. This will help to create a firm chewy texture and a crispy outside. You can buy a fancy tofu press, but I don’t have one of those, so I do this by wrapping my tofu block in a couple of clean tea towels and then resting a pile of heavy cookery books on top – for an hour or so. Once the tofu is pressed, and noticeably thinner, dryer and firmer, cut the block horizontally to produce 2 large tofu steaks, less than 2 cm thick, then cut these steaks in half to make 4 portions.
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a flat dish and coat the tofu steaks well. Leave the tofu like this for as little as 20 minutes, or for several hours in the fridge.
While the tofu is soaking up the marinade, heat your waffle iron, and rustle up something to go with the tofu. As lovely as it is, it’s not really a meal on its own. I started stir frying some veg and noodles.
In a stove top waffle iron, the surfaces need to be brushed with refined coconut oil and then the tofu needs to have 5 minus either side on a medium high heat. In an electric waffle iron, I would assume the tofu will only need 5 minutes as both sides are cooked simultaneously.
When crispy and browned on both sides, Lift the tofu out of the waffle iron and serve on a bed of noodles or rice, and maybe with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and sliced spring onions. My children, who are tofu devotees, could not get enough of this. They liked it so much that the noodles, normally a firm favourite, were left by the wayside! Another triumph for the waffle iron.
A block of organic tofu is easily found for £1.50 and the organic ingredients in the marinade will cost no more than £1 for the quantities in this recipe. Although I haven’t costed this one exactly the tofu itself comes in at less than £2.50, that’s 63p per teriyaki waffle tofu steak. I think another £2 should easily cover the accompanying sir fry for 4 people, which makes this a very cheap meal indeed.