Monday, June 11, 2012

Tofu bacon - finally!

For months now, I have been meaning to try tofu bacon. Mel of Veganise This presented a detailed summary of how to make it, and she has used it successfully in so many dishes that I'm convinced it would improve just about any meal.

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe has also discussed her approach to tofu bacon, and between the two sets of posts and recipes, tofu bacon has been right at the top of my Must Make Soon list.

One of the things that put me off making it sooner is that Mel's version includes liquid smoke in the ingredient list. I have yet to source liquid smoke, and in the end I decided to sub in paprika rather than put the recipe off any longer. Johanna had used smoked paprika and smoked salt as substitutes, and plain paprika seemed to work well here (although it may not be giving quite the same flavours).


I cooked the tofu in large-ish strips in a non-stick pan before cutting them up smaller for serving, which seemed to work well. Thinner strips would probably be crispier and more 'bacon' like, and both Mel and Johanna used grill pans rather than non-stick pans, which gave beautiful grill lines.



As for the dish? I paired the tofu bacon with a variation of the purple fried rice I made in April. This led to a very colourful and very tasty dinner that was probably quite similar to the fried rice with edamame beans that Johanna served with her tofu bacon.


Whatever way you serve it, and whatever recipe you follow, I highly recommend this form of tofu preparation!


Purple fried rice with tofu bacon

Similar to (but better than!) my previous version of purple fried rice 
Serves 3 - 4


Ingredients
For the tofu bacon
350g firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika

Spray oil, for cooking

For the fried rice
1 cup white rice, uncooked
1 onion, diced
3 purple carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 capsicum, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, peeled and sliced


Method
Slice the tofu into long slices and press using your preferred tofu pressing method (mine is between tea towels under a pile of books).

While the tofu is pressing, combine the tofu marinade ingredients in a jug or dish and whisk to combine. Transfer the tofu strips to a shallow dish and cover with the marinade. Place in the regrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours (I only managed 4 hours), or longer (as per Mel's approach).

When the tofu is ready, heat a non-stick pan with oil or oil spray and cook the tofu strips until browned and slightly crispy. Set aside while you cook the rice; they will get crispier on standing. Cut into smaller squares before using.

Cook the rice according to packet instructions, until just cooked (I used white rice and cooked it on the stove top using the absorption method).

While the rice is cooking, stir fry the onion in a large non-stick pan until lightly browned (use oil to taste). Add the carrot, capsicum and mushroom and stir fry for a further 2 - 3 minutes. Add the tofu and rice and mix through. Keep over low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 5 or so minutes.


I think one of the other reasons I didn't prioritise making tofu bacon sooner is that I didn't think it could be that much better than the tofu preparation methods I already knew and liked.

I was wrong.

It really is better.

A lot better!

I don't know how it compares to traditional, meat bacon (which I've never actually eaten), but it was a huge hit with me and I enjoyed both the flavours (which were strong and smokey, despite my lack of liquid smoke) and the texture (which was crispy but not excessively so). Even Mr Bite paid it complements, and he is not a fan of all tofu preparation methods.

Definitely something to make again, with or without liquid smoke.


What is your favourite tofu preparation method?

25 comments:

  1. Never tried tofu bacon either but it looks absolutely delicious, I'll be giving this a go soon!

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    Replies
    1. Definitely do - and if you can source liquid smoke, go with Mel's original!

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  2. Wait, liquid smoke is a thing? I'm intrigued!

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    1. It sounds impossible doesn't it? My partner thought I'd lost my mind the first time I mentioned it. I hope to actually find some one day to extend my amazement at the concept!

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  3. Glad you have hopped aboard the tofu bacon wagon. I make it quite regularly. Though I tried the grill pan my favourite way to make it is to cut the tofu slices even smaller and fry with a bit of oil on a nonstick pan til it is crispy. I also don't always have 4 hours for marinade - sometimes it just marinates while I prepare the rest of the meal. And I highly recommend trying it with smoked paprika (you can buy it in the supermarkets here) which gives a smoky flavour that I am besotted with (and is what seems most typical of bacon to me). I am out of smoked salt but I do have liquid smoke at the moment which is great.

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    Replies
    1. I really do need to find some of these smoked ingredients. I'll have another look for smoked paprika - surely some supermarket near me must stock it. And then I'll have the perfect excuse to make this again :-)

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  4. I didn't know this existed! I will have to find it around here.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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    1. If you can find liquid smoke I will be moderately jealous :) That aside, this is my favourite tofu preparation method to date, so even without I recommend it!

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  5. Wow! This looks impressive! I'm way intimidated by making tofu at home and I don't know if I've ever tried it except maybe in a a tofu-burger. Maybe someday!

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    1. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but once you start it's actually the simplest thing - and you can use anything to flavour it, even just sweet chilli sauce if you're going for a simple approach :)

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  6. I don't really know how I haven't tried this yet. I made some makeshift tofu bacon a few times a while ago, but we brought liquid smoke back from the US. This is why! I can make tofu bacon! Thanks for the reminder :)

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    Replies
    1. You are most welcome - and please do make it so I can see how you use it! I'm now after as many ideas as possible for incorporating it in dinners :-)

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  7. wow, I've never ever heard of this!

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    1. I hadn't either until last year, but it is good :)

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  8. This sounds much better and cheaper than premade fakin bacon!
    Totally will make a sub out of this plus lettuce, tomato, and veganaise.

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    Replies
    1. I've never tried fakin bacon! You'll have to do a comparison and let me know :)

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  9. Liquid smoke? That's a new one for me. I like the look of this and I think the colours would be very pretty with the purple carrots. What a great dish and I think the flavour of that tofu must be amazing. xx

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Charlie - purple carrots do have a lovely tendency to make dishes look bright and cheery!

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  10. Yay, I'm so glad that you tried tofu bacon and its great to hear that you enjoyed it too! Fried rice sounds like the perfect meal to introduce you to it. Smoked paprika does make a good substitute for the liquid smoke as Johanna has mentioned. I'll have to send you over some liquid smoke if you aren't able to find any, it adds such a wonderful flavour and a little bit goes a very long way.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Mel, and thanks for the orignial recipe! I finally understand the life changing nature of it :D Liquid smoke is surprisingly elusive but I will keep looking - surely somewhere in Perth it must exist?! - and definitely seek out smoked paprika in the mean time.

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  11. Ah, see, I actually got my parents to bring liquid smoke back for me from Melbourne, oh, four months ago? Still haven't used it. At all. I bought it for tofu bacon too. It's ridiculous how much I fail at life this year.

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    Replies
    1. Or, you are living life so fully that the best made plans must sometimes be moved aside for unicorns, dancing at buffets, and impromptu meals that need no advance planning :)

      At least liquid smoke doesn't go off (one presumes?) so I'm sure you'll get to it eventually, and then you can tell me how good it is and I'll be even more motivated to find some of my own xx

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    2. You're too good to me. More like I'm dragging myself through right now and have no energy for fancy savoury creations!

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  12. Replies
    1. It is worth trying - but if you have liquid smoke, definitely go with the original!

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