Tofu is something I rarely eat, except in a Szechuan or Cantonese restaurant, mainly because I have no idea how to cook it. But, having noticed a) that the Chinese supermarket on the corner stocks three different types, b) that my Antipodeans of choice, Granger and Gordon, use it a lot and c) that it is very cheap I thought I’d have a go. It’s a substance with the weirdest of textures, soft and almost jelly-like and, although it appears to be almost too plastic to absorb flavours, the opposite is true. I have now made salt and pepper tofu with lemon dipping sauce (yum) and these funny little omelettes (just as yum) which are, I think, better thought of as fritters. I was inspired by Bill Granger’s description of them as healthy fast food: it takes about five minutes to make them and about another five-ten to make the sauce that goes with them so if you’re in a hurry or fed up with sandwiches or pasta, these are a lovely alternative. What’s more, if you keep a packet of tofu in the fridge (like feta it seems to keep forever unopened) then this is an easy solution to post-work ‘wtf’ syndrome.
Tofu and spring onion omelettes (adapted from Bill’s Everyday Asian)
For two portions you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have):
neutral oil (like sunflower), a teaspoon or two for frying plus a dessertspoon for the sauce
granulated sugar, 1 dessertspoon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
tofu, 200g (he recommends using silken tofu, which is the softest sort and the easiest to mash up)
spring onions, 4
medium tomatoes, 2
light soy sauce, 1½ tablespoons
chilli flakes, a pinch, or one dried chilli
lemon, ½, to serve
fresh coriander leaves, a small handful, to serve
1. First, make the sauce. Peel and finely slice the ½ onion, peel and top and tail the garlic, leave whole but crush it with the blade of a knife and chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
2. Heat a dessertspoon of oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat then add the onion slices and cook until soft (about five minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another minute then add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Lower the heat slightly and cook until the tomatoes have softened and turned into a sauce.
3. Add the soy sauce and sugar, crumble in the dried chilli or add the chilli flakes then leave to cook for another five minutes until thickened (you’ll get an almost chilli jam consistency).
4. Whilst the sauce is cooking, top and tail the spring onions and slice finely.
5. Mash the tofu in a bowl and mix with the eggs and spring onions. Season. In a frying pan, heat a dessertspoon of oil until quite hot (test the temperature by dropping in a teaspoon of the mixture; it should sizzle immediately) then ladle small amounts of the tofu-egg mixture into the pan. Cook for a minute or two on each side until golden and serve with the sauce, some lemon wedges and a sprinkle of coriander leaves.