Every Saturday the Guardian magazine publishes a column by Yotam Ottolenghi called ‘The New Vegetarian’. His recipes are invariably interesting, often unusual, and judging by the ones we have tried, always delicious. This one caught my eye as it is a new way of cooking sprouts, which like dogs, are for life not just Christmas.
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus marinating time
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Skill level: medium
Serves: meant to be 4 but the two of us managed it all
- firm tofu – 300g
- brussels sprouts – 500g
- dried shiitake mushrooms – 120g
- ‘yude udon’ japanese noodles – 200g
- spring onions – sliced – 100g
- chilli sauce – 2tbsp
- sesame oil – 3tbsp
- light soy sauce – 1.5 tbsp
- rice vinegar – 1tsp
- honey – 1tbsp
- sunflower oil – 180ml
- half small chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
- toasted sesame seeds – 1tbsp
First marinate your tofu by cutting the block into 5mm slices and then cutting them in half to produce 8-10 squarish pieces. Mix together the chilli sauce, soy, vinegar, honey and 2 tbsp of sesame oil then pour over the tofu. Set aside for an hour or so until needed.
Put the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Set aside for half an hour until soft.
Trim the bases off the sprouts and cut lengthways into 3 thick slices. Heat up some of the sunflower oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Add the sprouts, season and fry for 2 minutes each side. Ensure the sprouts are only one deep and try not to stir too much. They should be cooked until they are starting to blacken in some places. Depending on the size of your pan, you will probably have to do this in 2 stages. When cooked, place in a dish and keep warm.
Add more oil to the pan and sautÃ© the onion, mushrooms (cut into slices) and chilli for a minute or two. Transfer to the sprout bowl.
Next, remove the tofu from the marinade and fry over a medium heat for a couple minutes each side until lightly browned and caramelised, again, this may have to be done in two stages. Put aside and keep warm.
Return the sprout mixture to the frying pan, pour over the marinade and quickly heat up. Taste and season if necessary.
Meanwhile cook the noodles as per instructions – should be no more than 2 minutes.
To serve, place the noodles in the bottom of a dish, add sprout mixture, place tofu in top and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.
Verdict: Excellent. The sprouts were slightly charred but still crisp, and the tofu sweet and silky.
Drink: Well, our intended 3 weeks of temperence crumbled after (a still impressive) 7 days, so we got stuck into some of the wine and beer kindly bought by family for Christmas.
Entertainment: ‘Still Game’, series 3, episodes 2 & 3. Tam wins an electric shopping scooter in a card game where 3 Queens are described as 6 titties. This has to be one of the funniest comedies ever and deserves many more awards and accolades. Certainly more than the much over-rated ‘Extras’.