Neither Mr NQN or I are strangers to tofu. As a hippie kid, his childhood was literally paved with the stuff whilst my my mum loved cooking it. So when we were offered the chance to learn how to make tofu lasagne, tofu chocolate cake and tofu bread, we jumped at the chance!
We would be making 7 courses today including drink (which we missed out on as we were running late). There would be tofu lasagne, okara and tofu nuggets, two types of thin tofu bread, tofu & spinach salad, yogurt soy cotta and okara chocolate cake. The items I was most interested in were the tofu lasagne and the thin tofu bread having tried neither. Yoshiko's focus is on healthy soy based cooking with less sugar and less fat.
_The fried seasoned tofu _
The tofu lasagne features lightly floured salt and pepper dipped tofu slices that have been fried. This is paired with a homemade tomato sauce and bechamel sauce and topped with cheese. The key here is to make sure that the tofu has been drained properly before frying and this can be done by draining it under a heavy weight for 2-3 hours or putting the tofu is a microwave for one minute and then cooling it down and draining the water away.
Roasted tomatoes for the sauce
The roasted tomatoes, carrot and onions emerge from the oven and once the skins are removed they are then blended up to make a rich sauce. Once the sauce is done, it's a matter of layering the tofu pieces, the roasted tomato sauce and the bechamel until the tray is full and then it's given a final sprinkling of cheese on top.
Topping the lasagne with cheese
Mincing up the tofu for the tofu bread
Pressing down the tofu bread dough
Yoshiko then moves onto demonstrating the thin tofu bread-there are two types here, cheese and garlic. She starts off by showing off how to drain the tofu and and then the other participants mince up the tofu and knead the bread mix incorporating the tofu into the mix and then spread it out on a baking tray. Garlic butter and cheese is then sprinkled onto the dough.
The baked tofu bread
She then moves onto making the yogurt soy cotta as it needs time to set. For this she uses agar agar, skim soy milk and blueberries with just a minimum of sugar.
The spinach and tofu salad is next and we make a fresh basil dressing. What is interesting about the tofu here is that it in minced up so that it resembles feta. To add flavour, we add sliced red onion and sun dried tomatoes to the crumbled tofu and then part of the dressing is poured over the tofu mix. Pine nuts are then toasted and these are added to the baby spinach salad and everything is mixed together at the last minute.
Chocolate tofu cake
As the chocolate cake has cooled down, we make a rich chocolate glaze for the cake consisting of chocolate and soy milk and we leave this aside to cool.
Last but not least is the tofu and okara nuggets.What is okara you may ask? It's the remnants of tofu making i.e. the insoluble parts of the soy beans once they have been pureed and filtered. It also happens to be very nutritious and can be used in cooking. Okara is also free from health food stores or places that make their own tofu (just ask nicely ;) ) . I'm interested in trying it and it also appeared in the chocolate cake that we are making today. In the nuggets it is minced along with tofu, onion and potato and shaped into little footballs and deep fried and then paired with a sauce.
Fried okara balls
The Tofu salad
And the final verdict? Once we tasted everything, the salad was perhaps the most popular with the fragrant sweet basil dressing, roasted pine nuts and flavoursome sun dried tomatoes and the tofu really could have been feta cheese so it was a delicious vegan meal. The tofu lasagne was good once we added some more salt and pepper as was the tofu bread where you could barely taste the tofu. The nuggets were delicious with the honey mustard sweet chilli sauce. Onto the desserts! The soy cotta was less successful as it hadn't really set but the chocolate cake was absolutely fantastic. Like a very rich and moist chocolate cake the okara gave it a moistness and richness.
Soy cotta with blueberries
Chocolate okara cake
So do you want to try your hand at some soy cooking yourself? Thanks to Yoshiko I am giving away a voucher for two people to attend a cooking class worth $190! The schedule is here on the Healthy Soy Cooking website and it's up to you which one you'd like to attend. The classes are held in Bondi Junction. * You will need to be able to make your own way there and back (sorry darlings, my limo and private jet is out of service ).*
All you have to do is tell me your favourite healthy dish. The most delicious sounding idea wins! Simply add your answer as a comment to the story. The competition ends at Midnight AEST 19th September, 2010. You can enter this once daily. This competition is open to people in Australian only as you will make your own way to the class .
Congratulations to Maree H. of Cronulla!
Best of luck!
NQN and Mr NQN attended the Tofusion cooking class as a guest of Healthy Soy Cooking
Healthy Soy Cooking