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
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
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
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:
- Mexican vegan chorizo tofu taco’s
- Sweet potato and harissa tofu tacos
- Tofu larb gai Thai lettuce wraps
- Sweet potato with miso-glazed tofu
- Coat them in some mapo tofu inspired hot sauce and have them with rice (and some nice green veg)
- Use them for vegan tika massala if you’re not into cauliflower (or have vegan tika massala with cauliflower and tofu)
- Use them with this harissa sauce and stick them on a baked sweet potato with some greens
The possibilities are endless. What are you waiting for?
How to make your own vegan minced tofu
- Heavy pot or other heavy object
- Kitchen towels
- Big bowl
- Large frying pan or skillet
- 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
- 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.