What turns a good meal into a special one? Complementary textures and colour are something to consider as well as the obvious flavour and scent. Let’s put comfort food aside – those days when you just need to hoover up a plate of spaghetti can be some of the most memorable. But a humble plate of pasta will taste heavenly with a scatter of toasted breadcrumbs. Ice Cream or Ice Cream with toppings….and with chocolate sauce? You get my point.
Once you think of it, you realize you have probably been eating this way all along, but for me it is good to think about this when planning a meal. Oriental dishes take this approach beautifully. Yin and Yang balance. The same with Indian food and its traditional concept of hot and cold food.
What we have here came together as a vegan alternative for BBQ nights, but turned into an awesome barbecued tofu salad that is a balance of textures, temperatures and flavours. Whisper thin courgette noodles tossed with cashew nuts and topped with a slab of barbecued and smoked Tofu with a sweet, sour and salty dressing. Oh and herbs. Lots of herbs. I kind of failed on the colour front, so added a bright borage flower garnish, but some bright red flecks of chopped fresh chilli would be perfect. As with many South East Asian foods, this dish masks the fat that it is healthy by its vibrant and full on flavour.
Not sure about Tofu? Not in possession of a barbecue?
To make it easier or different, here are our #Franglaisrecipehacks .
- You can cook the tofu on the hob in a frying pan with a smear of sesame oil instead of the barbecue. Use smoked tofu (readily available) to keep the smoky flavour.
- Not a tofu fan? That’s ok there is only one of us in our house who is… why not try the courgette noodles, nuts and dressing with barbecued or roasted baby sweetcorn and mangetout?
- If you cannot get Thai basil, normal basil is fine. As long as you have coriander and mint. It’s all about the mix.
- 1 block firm Tofu (smoked tofu if you want)
- 2 Courgettes
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons Cashew nuts, chopped roughly
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin (rice wine)
- 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate/paste
- 1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese basil
- 1 tablespoon mint
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes or half a chopped red chilli (more or less according to taste)
- Wrap the tofu in a wad of kitchen towels and place between 2 chopping boards. Put a couple of plates on top to weight it down for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Slice the courgettes thinly, ideally with a mandolin.
- Heat up the barbecue and throw on some soaked woodchips if you have them.
- Slice the tofu into large slabs and brush with sesame oil.
- Cook on barbecue until browned on each side or in a saucepan on the hob.
- Place the courgettes on the plate
- Top with the tofu and cashew nuts.
- Combine the soy, mirin, tamarind and maple syrup
- Pour over the sald and top with chopped herbs and chilli
Here are some other veggie barbecue ideas:
Jeanne has this feta stuffed roasted butternut squash
Kellie has a barbecue tofu and sweetcorn with miso butter.
Not barbecued but Helen’s pan fried tofu with asparagus and charred capers sounds super.
And Michelle has this Butternut, Tofu, beans and red onion roast with a scrummy maple syrup glaze.
and Jac has a wonderful idea – Tofu fingers – Mixed with spices and coated in breadcrumbs.