Mention the word tofu to most people and it is met with many a groan, it really seems to have a bad rep as a bland and tasteless food. I happen to love it, but Will and the girls are not so keen so when I cook it up I need to get creative with it if I want them to eat it!
Interestingly, even the subject of tofu (and soy products in general) itself can be a complicated issue. Are they good
for us or not? Are they good for hormone balancing or bad? There is so much
conflicting evidence on this and I have gone around in circles trying
to find the answer but still I am unsure - and have concluded we cannot know everything!
The solution for our family is that we mainly consume soy in fermented
form only, such as miso, tamari and tempeh. We never buy highly processed soy foods such as soy milk or
flour or the textured soy protein. I'm not saying it's bad, it's just
the way we decided to go and what works for us! Our exception in the non fermented soy food category is Tofu. As I do (honestly) enjoy it and it is an affordable
non - animal protein source as well as a traditional food
(though traditionally consumed in small quantities), I like to give it the benefit of the doubt and so we eat it occasionally.We do however keep it to a minimum and be sure not to rely on it as our main
source of protein.
So now that we cleared this up (sorta) it's on to what kind of tofu to buy. There are so many types, brands and flavours now and some of them are just about as far from the traditional product you can get. Make sure you check out those ingredients; many of them have added chemicals, stabilisers, emulsifiers, gums and preservatives instead of being made traditionally. Good tofu should just contain soy beans, water, nigari and, sometimes, sea salt. Lastly, always chose organic or GMO free tofu!
As you browse the stores you'll see that there are different kinds of tofu - firm and silken, fresh and long life. Personally I prefer the firm kind as it is a little more versatile, and
fresh tofu is always better if you can get it over long life (though Clearspring do a pretty good long life version that is free from any additives!).
Ingredients: (serves 4)
190g (1 pack) firm tofu* (can use marinated)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1/4 cup of brown rice flour (plus extra for dusting)
1/4 tsp ground paprika
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Throw everything into a food processor and process until it starts to bind together. Split into 4 portions. Shape each portion into a burger shape.
Coat them lightly in brown rice flour. Lightly fry them in a little olive or coconut oil until crisp and golden. Serve in a wholemeal bun or flat bread with a punchy salad such as watercress or rocket. Here I served along side them a red cabbage coleslaw and root vegetable oven baked chips, delicious...
* our favourite organic brands coagulated with nigari only and free from additives and chemicals are clearspring and clear spot. Clearspot do a marinated version with tamari, apple cider vinegar and spices that works very well in this recipe too!