Soy is a contentious character. Alongside gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free and child-friendly recipes, soy-free recipes round out my most requested top 5 list. While soy products make for easy vegan cooking, so much debate surrounding GMO foods has led many away from the soy path. Fermented soy such as tempeh, tamari and miso are good; regular soy is bad. Or so the debate goes. For my two cents, I think moderation and common sense should prevail in such debates. Too much of anything is rarely good but we’ll all go pretty hungry if we run from every “bad” food. Today’s bad food may be tomorrow’s holy grail; the debate spins on a dime.
With that said, I am happy to have discovered chickpea tofu. Made from chickpea flour rather than soy, this tofu is smooth, creamy and delicious without the controversy.
I first came across chickpea tofu while watching Peaceful Cuisine on YouTube. Ryoya is from Japan and his videos are so wonderfully calming and hypnotic; I am lulled in to believing I am a Masterchef. And sometimes a chicken. Ryoya also demonstrates fantastically global recipes including a raw chickpea version of this chickpea tofu. His version creates a pudding like tofu, which I will be including here soon, but today we are working with the firmer chickpea flour tofu, also known as Burmese tofu.
In my research I came across various recipes but I have stuck with a variation of this one from Christina Aung, tweaked by Sarah from My New Roots and now twisted a little here. This recipe takes longer than some but it is mostly downtime, soaking and such. The result is well worth the time. This chickpea tofu is smooth, creamy and lightly flavoured. It is easily cubed and served raw, as in this Game Changing Chickpea Green Bowl, and can be shallow fried as long as it is coated in a crumb of some sort first. My very talented friend Jodie rolled the tofu in a salt/pepper/dukkha rub before shallow frying with most delicious results.
Chickpea Tofu won’t do everything soy tofu will do but it is a very good alternative. And it is delicious.
Pairing this tofu with cold soba noodles, crunchy homemade kale chips, kimchi, broccolini, avocado and a miso dressing, this green bowl is a wonder of textures and balanced flavours. While the chickpea tofu will need 24 hours to prepare, the bowl itself is quick. Quicker still, you can sub out the kale chips for store-bought or simply add some torn seaweed sheets. Simples.
And I like simples. Enjoy.
Game Changing Chickpea Tofu Green Bowl
- 1 and 1/2 cups chickpea or besan flour 225 grams
- 7 and 1/2 cups 1.875L water
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea saltMiso Dressing
- 25 grams Shiro miso paste
- 15 ml tamari
- 15 ml sesame oil
- 5 ml sunflower oil
- 20 ml apple cider vinegar100 grams cooked soba noodles cooked
- 1/2 avocado
- kimchi I used a store-bought light horseradish kimchi
- 3 stems curly kale washed, dried and stem removed
- 3-4 broccolini stalks
- sunflower oil
- sea salt
- black sesame seeds optional
- To prepare the chickpea tofu, whisk together the chickpea flour and water in a large pot and leave to stand overnight (preferably 12 hours).
- The next day, carefully, scoop out 3 cups of water being sure not to disturb the sediment sitting on the bottom of the pot. Discard the 3 cups of liquid.
- Gently pour the remaining liquid in to another large pot without pouring the sediment sludge out.
- Add the garlic powder and sea salt and heat the liquid over low to medium heat to a soft simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring regularly. The mixture will come together and appear to thicken slightly.
- Meanwhile, place a clean tea towel in to the bottom of a smallish brownie pan.
- After around 30 minutes, add the chickpea sludge to the pot of simmering liquid and stir. The mixture will thicken substantially.
- Turn the heat down and continue stirring for ten minutes.
- Remove from the heat and pour the thick batter in to the lined brownie pan. Bang the pan to level.
- Set the batter aside to set for at least five hours (and up to 8 hours)
- To remove the tofu from the pan, place a chopping board over the face of the pan and flip.
- Cut up the tofu and place in an airtight container. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days. The tofu will produce water, which is fine and normal.
- To make the kale chips, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 F)
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the kale pieces down and gently massage each leaf with a small amount of sunflower oil. You should only use a scant tablespoon for the whole tray. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10 minutes.
- Turn the tray around in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until the kale is slightly charred around the edges. Remove from the oven and sit for a few minutes to crispen.
- To make the dressing, combine ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
- Cook the soba noodles according to the packet instructions. When cooked, run under cold water until cold.
- Pan fry the broccolini on a hot pan for around 4 minutes or until cooked but still slightly crunchy.
- Slice an avocado in half and peel.
- To serve, place the soba noodles in a bowl followed by the half avocado. Place the broccolini next to the avocado and place a few tofu cubes nearby. Add a spoon of kimchi. Drizzle with the miso dressing and scatter the kale chips over the top. Finish with a pinch of sea salt and a smattering of black sesame seeds.