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Chilli Salt and pepper tofu - take 4. - Ed's journal
Chilli Salt and pepper tofu - take 4.
Been retrying this most of this week.
Have concluded that:
Pressed tofu is better than un-pressed. It's not obvious on inspection, but it does make a lot of different to the texture.

Step 1: Press the tofu. Wrap in about 6 pieces of kitchen towel, sandwich between two plates, put something heavy ish (I used the bottle of olive oil) on top.
Leave for about an hour.

You want about:
1 tsp pepper, 1tsp salt, half tsp chilli, 3 tblspsn cornflour. Mix well.

Chop 1 pepper (2 halves is what I've been using).
1 red onion, one brown onion
About half a chilli (optional)
3 cloves of garlic - crush.
Chop 'em into chunks, not slices or rings - it works better that way. Imagine them being approximately the same size as the tofu cubes, and it seems to go quite nicely.

Once tofu is pressed - chop into cubes - mouthful sized is good.
Break apart any bits that seem to be sticking, and dump in the cornflour mixture, and stir until no more seems to be sticking.

Fry your tofu cubes (I used olive oil, it works nicely), until they start to go crispy. This'll take a few minutes. You'll need to 'turn' them, as they're quite prone to not flipping over, and getting cooked on all sides. But they'll brown up nicely after a while. Watch the pan doesn't dry out though, as they will be absorbing some oil.
Once they're mostly cooked, they'll have a fairly browny-golden colour, and be crispy.

Move them out of the pan, and onto a plate or a bowl or something.

Put your veg in the pan. Chilli and garlic first, leave to fry a bit.
Onions next.
Peppers last.

Peppers IMO need less time on the heat to cook 'enough' so they go in last. Add a bit of oil if you need, but try to keep this to a minimum - your tofu is already fairly oily.

Once they're looking about ready, stir in the tofu again, mix well until the tofu is properly coated with juices from the veg, and leave to sizzle a minute or two.

Add a splash or two of soy sauce, and then stir well - you'll see the tofu cubes start to change colour, and after about another minute or two, it's ready.
Dish up, and enjoy.

Standalone, I could eat this much as a good meal, but as before, I suspect it'll work quite well accompanied by rice or noodles.

Tomorrow I shall try again with some frozen tofu, to see what texture that gives me.

Anyway, the next thing I started to think about, was making sushi.
Been thinking about this for a while, and there was some cookery program on in the gym, where they did exactly that.
Looks fairly easy too:




8 sheets of Nori seaweed
600g Japanese short-grain rice
100ml rice wine vinegar
50g caster sugar
200g salmon fillet
100g tuna fillet
1 cucumber
1 pickled Dakon radish
1 tube Wasabi
1 avocado
6 spring onions
Juice of 1 lemon
100ml Japanese soy sauce
Jar salmon eggs, or lumpfish caviar

For the preserved ginger:
1 large piece of root ginger
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbs sugar


Start with preserving ginger. Peel it and slice it as finely as you possible can preferably using a mandoline or even a potato peeler. Put it into a colander with a generous sprinkling of salt and cover it with a weighted plate. Leave it for a couple of hours, then rinse off the salt. Put it into a bowl and mix in the vinegar and sugar.

To prepare the rice it should be soaked in plenty of cold water for half an hour then rinsed and drained. Put it into a large saucepan with about 750ml or water and bring it to the boil. Let it simmer, covered, for 10 minutes then remove it from the heat and leave it for a further 15-20 minutes without removing the lid.

Meanwhile warm the vinegar enough to melt the sugar, add two teaspoonfuls of salt and allow that liquid to cool. When everything has nearly reached room temperature, put the rice into a bowl and sprinkle on the liquid. To help it cool quickly, lift and toss it with a wooden spoon and fan it as it loses heat until it is glossy. It will also be sticky, so prepare a bowl of cold water into which you can dip your fingers if they get gluey while you work on it.

While the rice is cooking, prepare some fillings. Cut half the salmon and half the tuna into narrow strips Do the same to the radish, the peeled avocado and the spring onions. Peel the cucumber and cut that into strips too, discarding the seeds.

To assemble the little rolls. Spread a sheet of Nori on top of the bamboo mat. Spread some of the rice over the Nori until it covers three quarters of it, being careful not to make it too thick (no more than 1cm thick). Dampen the edge of the exposed Nori with a few drops of cold water, which will help it to stick. Dot the rice sparingly with Wasabi, take care as it has a powerful taste, then put an arrangement of salmon and cucumber across the middle of the rice and, holding it steady with one hand, use the other to roll up the mat, lifting it so that it doesn’t get caught. It should stick together in a neat roll. When you want to serve it, cut it with a wet, sharp knife into bite-sized pieces.

Use up the other strips you have cut, in any combinations you like, with more rice. Your aim is to have enough rice left to make Nigiri Sushi from the remaining fish. You do this by slicing it into small rectangles. Dot each with Wasabi then take a walnut sized spoonful of rice into the palm of your hand and press it into the same shape as the fish. Put the fish on top. Another trick is to make a small patty of rice, the shape of a tiny hamburger, and wall it in with a piece of Nori leaving space above the rice which you can fill with salmon eggs, caviar or fish.

Serve the various Sushi on big plates, accompanied by the ginger and a little bowl of soy sauce."

I shall have a think. It seems to have quite a bit of potential for veggie or non veggie options alike.


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