This is best prepared the day or two before you require it because the tofu needs to be frozen and then defrosted and dry-fried, and then needs to marinade for as long as possible.
If you have two woks, so much the better - if not, two large frying pans or skillets will suffice. The actual cooking time is around 10 minutes.
Do feel free to sub any of the vegetables in the second part of the recipe. You might also wish to add some chilli to the marinade - I think this would work really well. If you don't like tofu, you could use chicken, prawns, scallops....anything delicate should work. And obviously you won't have to do all the prep beforehand!
Approximate nutritional values per person:
(Please note that these are based on the ingredients I used - your own may be slightly different)
For two people:
For the marinated tofu:
800g block fresh firm tofu (if you have access to a Chinese supermarket, it will be cheaper from there than from a western supermarket). It seems like a lot of tofu but once it has been frozen and defrosted, it will shrink.
25ml coconut cream (not coconut milk)
1tbsp olive oil
1tsp ginger root, grated
1 lime - juice and zest
15g spring onion tops (the green part)
1.5tsp grain mustard
15g maple syrup
25g fresh coriander
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
.5tbsp oil for cooking
135g pak choi (chop off about half a centimetre at the base and discard/use it for stock, compost, or whatever!) - buy from Chinese supermarkets/fresh produce markets....it's less than half the price charged in western supermarkets!
150g straight to wok noodles
1 Romano pepper- thinly sliced into rings
10g brown rice miso
.5tbsp soy sauce (like the tofu and the pak choi, this is much cheaper from Chinese supermarkets)
300ml water (approx)
Fresh coriander to finish
Before you do anything else...
1. Drain the tofu and rinse under cold running water.
2. Gently blot with a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll.
3. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for 12-24 hours.
The evening before you want to eat...
1. Remove the tofu from the freezer, and place on a clean tea towel which has been folded in half (or two teatowels). Cover with another two layers of clean tea towel, and then weight down. I put mine on a tray (which will contain any excess moisture), with a small chopping board on top of the tofu, and place a le Creuset pan on the chopping board as a weight.
2. Leave until fully defrosted, and as drained as possible. You will notice that the tofu is now denser and the texture changed considerably; when cut, it resembles a sponge. This makes it ideal for soaking up flavours, plus it won't fall apart when you cook it!
Cut into cubes and dry fry in a hot skillet until each face of the cube is a pale gold colour. This will get rid of the last of the water - you'll probably see it sizzle and evaporate in the pan!
Make the marinade...
1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade, making sure they are well-blended.
2. Add the tofu to the marinade. Gently ensure that each cube is coated.
3. Cover and leave to marinate for as long as possible (the longer the better).
1. When the tofu is ready, heat the water in one of the woks, and when it is boiling, stir in the miso. Keep stirring until it is dissolved (you may need a whisk for this if it's particularly stubborn!). Add the soy sauce.
2. Add the romano pepper, and turn the heat down to medium.
3. Add the pak choi and the noodles.Give everything a brief stir, then leave to cook while you attend to the tofu.
4. In the other wok, heat the oil over a high heat, then carefully add the tofu and its marinade. Stir gently, or keep shaking the wok, keeping the tofu moving all the time (it's a bit like flipping a pancake!). Place on the heat for 20 seconds or so, shake it all up, place back on the heat, etc.
5. Repeat this little routine for around 5-7 minutes until the tofu is heated through.
6. Turn off both woks, serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh, chopped coriander.
This is a half-portion of tofu!