Month: October 2019

Make Your Own Vegan Minced Tofu

I rarely ever use minced meat anymore. Pastas with just veg (or veg and cheese, because cheese) sauces do me just fine for example. On rare occasion I’ll use it to make burgers, lasagna or moussaka.

Still, I sometimes miss the texture of fried minced meat. Fortunately it’s super easy and cheap to make your own ‘mince’ with our trusty pall tofu.

Making your own vegan minced tofu is super easy and a lot cheaper than store-bought options, especially if you buy your tofu from an Asian supermarket instead of a creepy chain store. In this post I’ll take you through the steps of making your own vegan minced tofu (I hate SEO and I am sorry).

A block of firm tofu usually yields four meals for me. I’ll use half of it for recipes with this minced tofu and the other half for recipes with oven-baked tofu puffs.

This is one of those annoying instances where I post the recipes twice, also for horrible horrible SEO reasons, so you can either follow the pictures or scroll down for the wordier printable version of the recipe.

Step 1: Press your tofu

A block of tofu, pressed between two sheets of kitchen towel with a heavy cast iron pan.

Place the amount of tofu you want to use on an oven sheet in between a few sheets of kitchen towel.

Press the tofu for 30 minutes with a heavy object. I like to use my cast iron Dutch oven for this but when I didn’t have one I’d use whatever heavy object was nearby (usually a bunch of cookbooks crammed into a large pot).

You don’t have to physically press it, you just have to place the heavy object on top and leave it.

Step 2: Crumble your tofu

Lots of crumbled tofu on a mint green background.

Next: crumble the pressed tofu into a bowl.

The pieces should end up uneven in shape and size, as if you’ve fried off some actual minced meat in a frying pan. Or until it, as my friend Tessa commented, looks like popcorn. Or maybe like the UK falling to pieces off the coast of Europe. Either way, as picture above.

Step 3: Coat and salt the minced tofu

Coat your tofu lightly in corn flour, I use about half a tablespoon per portion.

Salt your minced tofu heavily. The corn flour and salt will help the tofu crisp up in the next step.

If you don’t have corn flour at hand, rice flour or other (fine) starches should work too.

Step 4: Fry your minced tofu

A white blue rimmed plate with kitchen towels and fried minced tofu on it, on a pink background

In the final step you’re going to shallow fry the tofu. You could probably also do this in an oven with a thin coating of oil on the tofu, but I’haven’t tried. If you do, let me know how you get on. I’d suggest 185° C – 365° F on some parchment with frequent turning via vigorously shaking until you’re reached the desired level of crisp.

Back to frying: heat a thin layer of sunflower oil in a (non-stick) frying pan. Other neutral oils also work, just avoid olive oil because the flavor is too strong and it’s more prone to burning.

Fry the minced tofu until golden and partially crisp. If you’re making a large portion and have a small frying pan, it’s best to do this in batches. The tofu should be in a single layer with ample ‘breathing’ room to crisp up and blow off steam. If it’s too crowded the steam will blow into the faces of the other pieces of tofu and they won’t crisp up.

Leave to drain on another bunch of kitchen towels.

Great, I have minced tofu. Now what?

I use these for a great many things. TL;DR? Douse them in your favorite sauce and stick them on your favorite carb and you’re good to go. If that’s too complicated, here are some recipes for using home-made minced tofu:

The possibilities are endless. What are you waiting for?

A white blue rimmed plate with kitchen towels and fried minced tofu on it, on a pink background

How to make your own vegan minced tofu

Dorothy Porker
This recipe explains how to make your own vegan fake meat by making vegan minced tofu at home.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Tofu pressing time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Asian, Chinese, Fusion, Indonesian, Korean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Sichuan, Thai, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Heavy pot or other heavy object
  • Kitchen towels
  • Big bowl
  • Large frying pan or skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 9 oz - 250 gr firm tofu get it from an Asian supermarket and thank me later
  • 1/2 T - 7 gr corn flour other fine starches work as well
  • pinch salt
  • neutral oil for shallow frying

Instructions
 

  • Press 9 oz - 250 gr of tofu by placing it between some kitchen towels and placing a heavy object on top for 30 minutes or so.
  • Crumble the tofu into a bowl. The pieces should remain of uneven in size and shape, as if you've fried off some actual minced meat in a frying pan.
  • Thinly coat the crumbled tofu with 1/2 T - 7 gr corn flour or any starch at hand and salt generously.
  • Fry the crumbled tofu in a thin layer of neutral oil in a (non-stick) frying pan. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and ensure crisp. Fry the tofu until golden and partially crispy.
  • Drain on a kitchen towel and mix with whatever sauce you had in mind.
Keyword fake meat, how to, minced tofu, tofu, vegan, vegan tricks, vegetarian

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl om te leren hoe je zelf tofu gehakt kunt maken.

Sweet Potato and Harissa Tofu Tacos

A few weeks ago Mr. Porker was off for some work thing for an entire weekend. So I decided to bake myself some bread, got some fancy salted French butter and made myself some dips and spreads to go with it.

The problem is that home-made bread isn’t all that nice on day two, let alone mine. So here I was with a bucket of hummus and pail of harissa and nowhere to put it. Or so I thought.

The ingredients for sweet potato and harissa tofu tacos sprinkled on a concrete background

I love it when a plan comes together

Then I remembered I also had a sweet potato wondering around somewhere. And I always keep a bag of tortillas around in case I need to wrap something or fry up a fresh batch nachos. And so, the sweet potato harissa tofu taco was born. I happily had this for dinner (and lunch) 3 days in a row so this really is a good one.

When do I eat sweet potato and harissa tofu tacos?

These really work any time of day. If you are planning to make all the elements yourself it will take you some time in which case breakfast is probably not an option.

What you’ll need

A small plate with a blue trim with a tortilla turned towards the camera on top, it is filled with cubes of baked sweet potato a hint of red sauce and tofu and fresh parsley. The plate sits on a blue background with some more sweet potato and parsley scattered in front and an off-white dish towel with a leopard print in the background.

Sweet Potato and Harissa Tofu Tacos

Dorothy Porker
A vegan taco recipe with filling sweet potato, creamy garlic and chickpea spread and crispy punchy harissa tofu mince.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting time 8 hrs 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main course
Cuisine Fusion, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Clean towel
  • Large saucepan
  • Ladle
  • Oven
  • Food processor
  • Heavy pot or other heavy object
  • Kitchen towels
  • Frying pan x2
  • Small food processor

Ingredients
  

For the garlic dip (optional, store bought hummus works as well)

  • 7 oz - 200 gr dried chickpeas soaked for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight
  • 3 heads garlic cloves separated but not peeled
  • olive oil
  • t t - 5 gr baking soda
  • 1/4 c - 60 ml olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 c - 60 ml lemon juice fresh preferred
  • 1 t - 5 gr salt
  • 1/4 t - 1.5 gr cumin powder
  • 1/2 c - 120 ml tahin
  • t T - 15 gr miso
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 3/4 c - 180 ml cooking liquid from the chickpeas, see instructions

For the harissa (optional, store bought harissa works as well)

  • 1/4 t - 1.5 gr coriander seed
  • 1/4 t - 1.5 gr fennel seed
  • 2 T - 30 ml red wine vinegar Balsamic also works
  • 3 cloves garlic smashes and peeled
  • 2 T - 30 gr tomato puree
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 4 T - 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T - 45 gr smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/4 t - 1.5 gr chili flakes
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch salt

For the minced tofu - optional, store bought (vegan) mince is fine too

  • 9 oz - 250 gr firm tofu get it from an Asian supermarket and thank me later
  • 1/2 T - 5 gr corn starch other starchy flours also work
  • pinch salt
  • neutral oil for frying

For the sweet potato

  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 T -15 gr corn flour or any other starchy flour
  • neutral oil

To finish

  • 4 tortilla's I prefer corn, but you do you
  • bunch curly parsley optional, chopped

Instructions
 

Make the chickpea garlic dip (optional, store bought hummus works as well)

  • You can also buy ready-made hummus of choice.
  • Preheat an oven to 160° C - 320° F.
  • Spread the individual unpeeled garlic cloves in an even layer across an oven tray. Coat evenly in olive oil and salt generously.
  • Roast the garlic cloves until they have gone soft and squishy, in my oven this takes about 30-45 minutes.
  • Drain the soaked chickpeas, place them on a kitchen towel and dry them off gently.
  • Move the chickpeas to a heavy-based pan with the baking soda and cook on a low heat while stirring vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes or so.
  • Cover the chickpeas until they are submerged in about an inch of cold water and bring to a boil.
  • Leave to simmer until they are soft. This should take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the quality and age of your chickpeas. Use a ladle to remove any foam or chickpea skins that come bubbling to the surface. Add water if your chickpeas appear to be drying out, but haven't softened yet.
  • Drain the chickpeas, making sure you hang on to the cooking liquid. You'll need it for the next step.
  • Peel or smoosh the garlic out of their skins.
  • Place the chickpeas,1/4 c - 60 ml olive oil and garlic mush into a food processor along with a first scoop of the cooking liquid. Blitz for 2 minutes. Add more of the liquid if your food processor starts to struggle.
  • Finally add 1/4 c - 60 ml lemon juice, 1 t - 5 gr salt, 1/4 t - 1.5 gr cumin, 1/2 c - 120 ml tahin, 1 T - 15 gr miso and 3 ice cubes and blend again for at least 2 minutes until well combined and fluffy. If your food processor is struggling again use a wooden spoon to beat the ingredients together until the last of the ice cubes as dissolved completely.

Make the harissa (optional, store bought harissa works as well)

  • You can also buy read-made harissa.
  • Toast the 1/4 t - 1.5 gr of coriander and fennel seeds in a dry pan until aromatic.
  • Add the toasted coriander and fennel, 2 T - 30 ml red wine vinegar, 3 cloves of garlic, juice of half a lemon, 1/4 c - 60 ml olive oil, 1 1/2 T - 30 gr sweet smoked paprika, 1/4 t - 1.5 gr chili flakes and pinches of nutmeg, black pepper and salt to a small food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt or spice as you see fit.

Make the minced tofu - optional, store bought (vegan) mince is fine too

  • You can also use store-bought mince of choice.
  • Press 9 oz - 250 gr of tofu by placing it between some kitchen towels and placing a heavy object on top for 30 minutes or so. I use a cast iron Dutch oven but use what you have.
  • While this is happening we're going to start the potato cubes and come back to the tofu once those are in the oven.

Bake the sweet potato cubes

  • Preheat your oven to 175° C - 350° F.
  • Lightly coat the sweet potato cubes in sunflower oil and 1/2 T - 7 gr of corn starch. Do not salt the cubes until removing them from the oven.
  • Place the sweet potato cubes on a sheet of parchment on a baking tray and cook until they start to brown on the edges. Usually this takes between 20-30 minutes. Be sure to check regularly because sweet potato has a tendency to burn fast.

Back to the tofu

  • Crumble the tofu into a bowl. The pieces should remain of uneven in size and shape, as if you've fried off some actual minced meat in a frying pan.
  • Thinly coat the crumbled tofu with 1/2 T - 7 gr corn flour or any starch at hand and salt generously.
  • Fry the crumbled tofu in a thin layer of neutral oil in a (non-stick) frying pan. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and ensure crisp. Fry the tofu until golden and partially crispy.
  • Drain on kitchen towel before mixing with 2-3 T - 30-45 gr of the harissa.

Compose your tacos

  • Heat your tortillas the way you normally would, I like to heat mine in a dry non-stick frying pan until they begin to crisp.
  • Now assemble your tacos: use a back of a spoon to spread the ehr... spread on your taco, top with the harissa coated crispy tofu and oven baked (and salted!) sweet potato and a few sprigs of fresh parsley.
Keyword baked potato, harissa, minced tofu, sweet potato, tacos, tacos de moronga, tofu

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor zoete aardappel en harissa tofu taco’s.

Hutspot – Dutch Mash with Meatballs

While I was born and raised in the Netherlands, coming from an immigrant background I largely grew up on Indonesian food. Stamppot wasn’t something I had often, and it remains something that’s kind of exotic to me.

European nasi goreng

Stamppot, literally mash or stomp pot, is basically a European nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice). I.e. a carb (potatoes) combined with (root) vegetables and sometimes meat from what you can imagine may have been leftovers from the days before. While a lot of Dutch people like to think stamppot is unique to the Netherlands, the UK has bubble and squeak for example and babies have baby food, which are pretty much the same thing.

Hutspot in a white plate with a blue rim, surrounded by a pool of gravy with a meatball in the middle and a potato masher in the shape of the Netherlands

What the Fuck is Stamppot and when do I eat it?

Stamppot comes in many varieties, more so now that people are trying to incorporate the flavors of the Dutch immigrant community into their national dish. But the most traditional and well-known versions are:

  • Hutspot, with potatoes, carrots and onions
  • Boerenkool, with potatoes and kale
  • Zuurkool, with potatoes and sauerkraut
  • Andijviestamppot, with potatoes and endive (the green kind, not chicory)

Every family has their own stamppot recipes and traditions, though generally you can’t go wrong with adding some fried bacon bits to any of the above. Most stamppots, as any food mash, will be had with a side of gravy and either meatballs or slowly cooked beef, like klapstuk or ‘draadjesvlees’, a mild Dutch daging semur, if we’re going to keep this comparison to Indonesian food going.

I’ll be perfectly honest and say I rarely eat any of the above because they are just too mushy for me and the only thing I’d really like to get a handle on is making gravy, because gravy is god.

Of the above my favorite stamppot is andijviestamppot with cheese and bacon, because cheese and bacon. I won’t see me near boerenkool or zuurkool unless it’s by brute force, but I do eat hutspot once a year. As is the custom in the city that I live in.

Because it’s quite heavy and stodgy, hutspot is typical winter fare. We have it for dinner with some kind of meat and gravy to make a complete dinner.

Leidens Ontzet: Hutspot for Days

During the 80 year war with Spain, Leiden was under siege by the Spanish. Legend has it that, after the liberation of the city, a small boy, starving from the siege, ventured beyond the city limits and found a pot of hutspot (then comprised of parsnips, carrots and onions) that could feed the entire city.

As unrealistic as this scenario isis, the pot is still on display at the Lakenhal and Leiden and its inhabitants still celebrate it’s old found independence every year by getting extremely drunk on October 2nd and then getting up early (not all of us) for herring and white bread the next day. There’s a fun fair and a parade. With markets and stages with local bands performing throughout the city.

And there is hutspot. Most Leidenaren (as the local inhabitants are called) won’t even eat hutspot much of the rest of the year and if you do you may get yelled it. I have joined this custom. But more so because my Dutch cooking is quite poor and I don’t really like it anyway. I go see my friend’s mom at Leids Ontzet however, and she’s a mean cook. So that’s how that happens.

An overhead shot of a white enamel plate with a blue trim, filled with a carrot and potato mash with two key shaped carved out and filled with gravy. The plate is on a concrete background with a blue checked dish towel at the top and some unpeeled potatoes and coarsely cut onions and carrots scattered at the bottom of the photo.

Hutspot - Dutch Mash with Meatballs and Gravy

Dorothy Porker
My take on hutspot, a classic Dutch mash of potatoes, onions and carrots with meatballs and gravy, with a little help from Dutch Twitter.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Main course
Cuisine Dutch
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or similar
  • Large pot
  • Saucepan

Ingredients
  

For the meatballs

  • 1 lbs - 500 gr minced meat 50-50 beef-pork is preferred, avoid lean mince as it's too dry
  • 1 bag ready-made spice mix for meatballs yes, really - or see below
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 T - 15 gr caramelized shallots the kind you put on a hotdog
  • butter for frying

If you really don't want to use a ready-made spice mix

  • 2 T - 30 gr breadcrumbs
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch paprika
  • pinch chili optional

For the gravy

  • 1/2 T - 7 gr plain flour
  • 1/2 c - 120 ml beef stock home-made or from a cube

For the hutspot

  • 1 lbs - 500 gr floury potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 lbs - 500 gr carrots coarsely grated
  • 7 oz - 200 gr onions thinly sliced
  • 2 T / 30 gr butter
  • 1/2 c / 60 gr cheese grated, optional but recommended
  • 1/2 c / 60 gr bacon cut into small cubes and fried to a crisp, optional but recommended
  • cream or full fat milk to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Instructions
 

To make the meatballs

  • Mix together the 10 oz - 500 gr of beef, spice mix, 1 egg and 1 T - 15 gr of fried onion until well-combined.
  • TIP: If you want to tweak flavor, mix everything together, fry a tiny pinch of the mixture in a frying pan, taste, tweak, and so forth.
  • If you want nice and even sized balls, weigh the end result and divide by however many balls you’re going to need. Roll the balls in your hands until they are nice and smooth, or keep them nice and crude.
  • Let your balls set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, this will help them hold their shape when you fry them.
  • Melt a good helping of butter in a large Dutch oven or other heavy based deep pan.
  • Once the butter has stopped foaming drop in the balls and roll them around gently until all sized have reached an even brown sear.
  • Place on a very low heat and leave to cook for 20 minutes with the lid on, rolling them over every so often, until your balls are semi-solid and cooked through.

To make the gravy

  • NOTE: if your butter has burned you will not want to make gravy like this.
  • Remove the balls from the Dutch oven.
  • Stir in 1/2 T - 7 gr of flour to make a light roux. Be sure to let it go for 1-2 minutes to let the flour cook and avoid a floury taste to your gravy.
  • Slowly stir in the 1/2 c - 120 ml of beef stock until the gravy has slightly thickened. If your gravy doesn't thicken you can add 1/2 T - 7 gr of corn flour and gently stir this in until thickened.

To make the hutspot

  • Cook 10 oz - 500 gr peeled and diced potatoes and grated carrot for 20 minutes or so until all are tender.
  • While that is happening, melt some butter into a heavy bottomed saucepan and slowly wilt down 7 oz - 200 gr of finely sliced onions until they’ve gone from sweating, to translucent to golden brown. Stir them frequently to avoid burning.
  • Drain the potatoes and carrots, add the onions with an additional pat of butter and mash everything to all hell. If you’re using additional dairy or other ingredients like the bacon and cheese now is the time to add them. Most people like their hutspot kind of lumpy, but you can go as fine as you like.
  • Season to taste. Serve with the gravy and meatballs, or that European daging semur I don’t have a recipe for.
Keyword dutch mash, dutch recipe, hutspot, mash, meatballs, potatoes

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