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Archive for February, 2010

The first recipes on this blog featured my then-obsession, Chickpea Tofu, also known as Shan or Burmese Tofu.  I had it and Mingala, a Burmese restaurant on East 6th street which, I found out yesterday, has closed!!! NO!!!!

In memory of the great Mingala (and also because I promised a recipe almost a YEAR ago), here is how to make the precious Chickfu.

The process to making Chickfu is much like polenta in that you boil the chickpea flour in water until it is thick then put it in a mold to cool.  In this sense, you don’t get that satisfying ooh! aah!! that you might get when watching traditional soy tofu clump in the pot like magic alchemy, but that’s also why you’ll be making this a lot more often than you’ll be making soyfu.

First thing to do is get your hands on some chickpea flour. You can find this for beaucoup bucks at Whole Foods or, if you’re lucky, for about $5 for 5 lbs at the local indian grocery store.

Chickpea Flour, graceful and melodic.

I usually weigh my ingredients out on a small digital scale.  I simply press the tare button to reset the scale to zero every time I add a new ingredient.  This is super convenient because not only can I dump all the ingredients directly in one bowl, I also don’t have to wash any annoying measuring cups or spoons.If you’re the washing type, though, I’ll give you those measurements too.

Take 9 cups (4.5 lbs/2040g) of water and mix it up with 3 cups (15 oz/437g) of chickpea flour.  Set it aside to soak for 12 hours or more.

Now, in Myanmar (Burma to those of a certain age), these would be made with real chickpeas, soaked then ground. You’ll find recipes online like this one that tell you to soak in much more water than I indicate, strain it, then skim off the top 6 cups of water.  As far as I can tell, that harkens to the traditional mode of preparation where you would need to strain off hulls or stones, the skim off scum and any remaining hulls floating on the surface. Working with chickpea flour eliminates the need for all of that. Besides, every time I tried to do it the “traditional way”, I ended up with flavorless yellow jello that never solidified. This was probably because “straining and discarding solids” as indicated gets rid of much of the starch which we will need later to coagulate the tofu.

Okay, assuming reading that paragraph took you 12 hours, your chickpea slurry is ready. A yellow sludge should have settled on the bottom of the container, with a cloudy liquid floating above.

Before 12 Hour Paragraph

After 12 Hour Paragraph

Carefully pour this cloudy liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until it has reduced by a third.

Add 1/2 t turmeric and 2 tsp kosher salt and whisk well.

While on medium heat, pour the settled sludge into the saucepan, whisking constantly for 5 minutes.

Sludge Time

It should start to thicken considerably. Make sure to keep whisking to keep lumps at bay.

Chickfu-to-Be

At this thick porridge-like state, the Burmese like to serve it on noodles, garnished with crisped peanuts, chilis, garlic, onion, soy sauce, vinegar and cilantro (kinda like a creamy pad-thai). Taste it. It tastes a little like polenta, doesn’t it?

Pour this mixture into an oiled mold (I usually use a loaf pan), and refrigerate until it sets.

Chickfu

When ready, you can cut it into triangles and fry it in the traditional manner and serve it on a salad like I do here. Cut it into sticks and make chickpea fries or croutons. Cut thin slices straight from the fridge and throw it in a sandwich.  Use it any way you would use regular tofu. Just expect it to be yummier.

Chickfu will last about a week in the fridge. Any longer than that and you should freeze it, either whole or in slices. Defrost slowly in the refrigerator as opposed to the counter top.

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Creamy Tofu Sauce

So I haven’t posted in three months. So sue me. If you can find me. MWAHAHAhahahaha..

I am so backlogged with a camera full of delicious things that I have no hope of catching up with in the next month (though I will try..), but while eating my lunch, I literally paused the documentary on Loving and Cheating on Hulu and opened up a new tab to write about this amazing stuff I have in my mouth RIGHT NOW.

Creamy. Tofu. Sauce.

I know that one-third of the above statement is not quite appealing to you but, believe me, you need to try it.  Not only is it healthy No, it isn’t. I just put the ingredients through a calorie calculator and it’s 88% fat. What? Obviously, food science is not my forte.

I have no pictures because I’m too busy shoveling it into my mouth while I’m eating, but this is a very versatile sauce that you could pour on anything: use it as a dip for fresh veggies, put it on top of pasta or a rice bowl, or pour it on some chicken or fish (though, then you would defeat the purpose of the utterly vegan recipe. But who cares. It’s yummy.)

Imagine it as an unholy alliance between that onion dip you stand next to at the buffet, hoping nobody notices you double dipping, and tahini/hummus, goddess dressing, caesar salad dressing, and cheese sauce. Ok, I don’t know how that sounds to you, but to me that sounds frickin’ awesome.

Creamy Tofu Sauce
adapted from a thousand sated vegans on the web

  • 8 oz firm tofu
  • 6 T hazelnut oil (or any nut oil or neutral oil..olive oil might be too bitter)
  • 6 T water
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1 T nutritional yeast (available at Whole Foods as Red Star, or in the bulk section of your local E4th St Food Co-op)
  • Pinch o’ salt
  • Pinch o’ onion powder
  • Pinch o’ garlic powder
  • Pinch o’ dried basil (or a cube of frozen chopped basil)
  • 1 t of lemon juice
  • 1 t of tamari (if you don’t have tamari, just substitute more soy sauce)

Dump it all in a blender and blend. You end up with a creamy, versatile sauce that you can serve hot or cold, and that you can pretend is healthy despite being 88% fat. <—I still don’t believe it.

This is easy to change up the flavorings to, too! Don’t have basil? Try rosemary! Want a little kick? Cayenne pepper! Doing some moroccan action? Add some couscous spice, sumac or za’atar. The possiblities are endless.

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