Sunday, 11 March 2012

WW Tofu bacon - brilliant in fried rice or anything

It's a mystery to me why it took me so long to try tofu bacon.  I tried Tempeh Bacon even though I don't eat tempeh so much and it is sometimes hard to find in the supermarket.  It never crisped up for me.  I tried Bean and Buckwheat Facon even though it takes quite some effort to prepare with soaking and grinding.  I tried Coconut Bacon which was brilliant in sandwiches but not so great on pizza and I haven't come across flaked coconut since.  Yet since making tofu bacon for the first time at the start of last month, it has been so popular and easy that I have lost count of how many times I have made it. 

The first time I tried it was to use in fried rice.  I think, if memory serves me correctly, that I was so excited about it that I ate a few slices of tofu bacon before I had even served dinner.  E exclaimed that he could eat it by the truckload!  The next day I cooked more of the tofu batch and left it while I entertained Sylvia and found that it is not advisable to burn it.  You can see in the picture of the fried rice above that I cooked it a bit too much.  The fried rice was so good that I have written the recipe below.  It was a lot drier than my usual ones and had more simple seasoning too.

As you will see in this post, I have experimented a bit with it.  This photo above is of one of the first time I made the facon (yes that is faux + bacon).  It is all higgledy piggledy.  I shook the tub around quite a bit.  Mel of Veganise This - one of the main sources of inspiration for the tofu bacon - suggests putting it in the fridge in a shallow dish but I never seem to have much fridge room so I use a tub.

These days I am far neater and stack it neatly with a spoon of marinade smeared over each slice before I put the next one on.  It doesn't take much longer and means I know every inch is covered in marinade.  Speaking of the marinade, I also took a tip from Cindy and Michael and use maple syrup rather than Mel's brown sugar.  Both used liquid smoke which I never see about so I used smoked paprika which is easy to find and smoked salt which is a little more obscure but I have some.  I have been using a bought tomato sauce but often I have swapped this for tomato paste and will try this in the future.

My next experiment was with ways of cooking the tofu bacon.  I did slices in the frypan at first.  Then I tried the grill pan for the above groovy look (yes pun intended).  This is the most low fat way to cook it but I missed the all over crispiness and I am very impatient and waiting until the grill stripes appear. But with both I found that I was using the tofu chopped smaller and it looked wrong to see the white tofu flesh where it was cut.  However I have done it this way when serving on stews or just as nibbles at Sylvia's recent party.

Finally I tried chopping it into smaller pieces (using the lid of the tub as a chopping board because it is so messy) and frying it in a little oil.  This is my favourite way to cook it.  It doesn't take too long but having to flip it all about every now and again works well for me rather than waiting for individual slices to cook.  Below is a photo of how it turns out.

This is the facon on a risotto.  I have tried it in soups, stews and salads as well as fried rice.  You will see it in a few posts on recent dishes, as well as a recipe for the leftover marinade - too good to waste.  I want to try it on pizza, in a tofu scramble and in a pasta dish.  (And a few of the facon recipes I previously listed.) We all love it in my household.  Sylvia gobbles hers all up and then demands to eat our share too.  As if we would give up our tofu bacon!

I am sending this tofu bacon to Ricki for her Wellness Weekends event.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: MLLA Renovation pancakes
This time two years ago: Bread and Roses for International Women’s Day
This time three years ago: WTSIM… Pineapple and Banana Chutney
This time four years ago: PPN #54 The Princess of Pastas

Tofu Bacon
Adapted from Veganise This and Where's the Beef
Makes enough for about 6-8, depending on use

500g tofu
1/4 cup tamari
3 tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)
1 tbsp tomato sauce (or tomato paste)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp smoked salt

Press tofu if you have time.  Often I just wrap it in a clean tea towel while I prepare marinade but Mel says she gets more flavour into the tofu if she presses it well (check out Mel's tofu press gadget).  While tofu is pressing, made marinade by mixing remaining ingredients in a largish tub with a lid.  Cut tofu into thin slices - preferably no thicker than 1/2 cm.  (Mel uses a cheese slicer.)

Place tofu slices into marinade. I do this by layering them neatly slice by slice and spooning a little marinade over each slice as I go to make sure they get enough exposure to the marinade.  Leave tofu in marinade as long as you can - 8 hours is great.  However I have done this with only about 30 minutes in the marinade and it works for me.  I have also left leftover pieces in the marinade for a few days and they seem to last well - I give them a bit of a shake every now and again when I remember they are there.

Cook them any way you like.  I haven't tried baking but as the weather gets cooler I might try it.  I tried a spray of oil on the grill pan which was good but wasn't quite as crispy as I like.  I tried frying whole slices in a splash of oil which was good but left white tofu edges where I had cut them.  Finally I tried chopping them into small squares and frying in a splash of oil.  This is my favourite way to cook them.

Mel very wisely advises that it crisps up, so once it is golden brown, take it off the heat even if you leave it in the frypan.  I can also add that I have tried adding more marinade to the frypan and it just makes the tofu very soft and does not crisp up. 

Fried rice with edamame
serves 2

Splash of canola oil
1 carrot, diced
kernels of 1 corn cob
1/2 red capsicum, diced
2 cups of cooked rice*
1/2 to 1 cup edamame
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
splash of ketjap manis
1 spring onion
handful of diced and fried tofu bacon

*Rice is best if at least a day old.  I have also frozen it and gently defrosted it in the microwave which works fine.

Fry carrot over high heat in a large frypan or wok for a few minutes or until starting to soften.  Add corn and capsicum and fry another couple of minutes.  Add rice, edamame and garlic.  Fry a few minutes.  The mixture should be quite dry.  Now add in a splash of ketjap manis and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes until rice has absorbed the liquid and is fairly dry again.  Stir in spring onion until warmed through.  Check seasoning and adjust as desired.  Serve with tofu bacon scatter on top of the fried rice.

On the Stereo:
Spandau Ballet (freebie CD in The Mail on Sunday)

23 comments:

  1. I am getting the soy milk machine out right now to make tofu to make a batch of this.

    Supper sorted!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Helen - am still in awe of your tofu making - will make my own tofu one day

      Delete
  2. Really like the look of that Johanna - must bookmark and get round to making soon! Thanks for all the helpful tips about the best ways to cook it too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks C - so many of the recipes on the blog are made only once so it is nice to post something I have experimented with - enjoy it

      Delete
  3. I love the sound of this tofu bacon (and the fried rice sounds pretty darned good, too). When I read this, I thought, "I remember seeing tofu bacon on your site!!" but my memory for past recipes isn't too great, as we know! I think I was thinking of the tofu crumbles, which is used instead of bacon on my Caesar. In any event, I can't wait to try this out. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ricki - I confess I have been bombarding your events with facon - I sent in the bean and buckwheat one to SOS and the coconut one to Wellness Weekends - so no wonder you had deja vu! I really must try caesar salad now I have the bacon component down pat!

      Delete
  4. I finally have liquid smoke because my parents brought it back for me from Melbourne, so it definitely is in your area somewhere! :) I make things like this but have always just called it marinated tofu. Next time I'll call it bacon :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hannah - Cindy said she gets hers in Carlton so I could probably hunt it down but I really like smoked paprika so have just stuck to that - and I think there is a fine line between marinated tofu and facon - the tofu actually reminds me of Matthew's Delicious Tofu which has soy sauce and maple syrup in it.

      Delete
  5. I've never tried tofu bacon either but you are certainly converting me to the concept - the ingredient list for the marinade has me very interested indeed. I like the look of the fried rice too, it is one of those dishes that is surprisingly hard to get just right and this looks like a contender :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kari - you really should try tofu bacon - it finishes off so many dishes nicely - and yes agree about fried rice - I am finding that making it simpler works well

      Delete
  6. I really like tempeh bacon but you're right, it doesn't really crisp up. This looks like an awesome alternative! And I love that it's homemade and uses ingredients that I ALWAYS have around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joanne - I wish I could buy tempeh bacon occasionally - would be interested to see how it compares to the home made one.

      Delete
  7. So glad that you have spread the tofu bacon love around! I can't help snacking on it while I'm cooking it up too. I will have to try frying it in chopped up pieces next time I make a batch, that sounds like a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel - you will be seeing quite a bit of tofu bacon love on this blog as I have a few recipes to come that use it - will be interested to hear if you find it useful to fry it chopped up

      Delete
  8. I've been obsessed with my tempeh bacon and tomato sandwiches recently so can't wait to try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ashley - I haven't tried it in a sandwich but must do - I love facon tomato and avocado

      Delete
  9. I've made Facon Bacon many a time and love it, now I just have to try this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shaheen - hope you love it as much as me!

      Delete
  10. I love tofu bacon! I’ve never tried chopping it up and frying it like you did. I thought frying it up in coconut oil had the best outcome for me, it gets it really crispy, a lot more fatty, but really good texture. I prefer it much more then tempeh bacon, like you said, it never seems to crisp up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Maggie - interesting about coconut oil - I am not keen on the stuff but might try it this way

      Delete
  11. I've never tried tofu bacon but I feel like I should run to the store right now and get the ingredients! I love tempeh bacon and doesn't even like tempeh that much whereas I LUV tofu. This is going to become a staple in our house for sure! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alexe - it is that good - am sure it will be a staple for you if you try it

      Delete
  12. Hi Johanna I love you blog. I recently found liquid smoke, the one without all the carcinogens, in David jones food hall of all places! Cheers c

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you. Please feel welcome to share your feedback and questions. I have started using word verification recently to combat an avalanche of spam. Apologies for the hassle of reading the mysterious captcha code (refresh to find an easy one).