In May each year we celebrate #NationalVegetarianWeek at Bridges. Although many of our dishes are veg based already, we love to promote higher vegetable consumption from the 15th to 21st. For us, it's to remind ourselves that there are loads of beautiful recipes that are plant based.
Some people worry about protein or iron deficiency if they cut down on meat. We particularly like using tofu in stir fries with lots of seasonal vegetables as it's packed with protein. And it happens to be gluten free, high in calcium and an excellent choice for vegans. Our recent trial of tofu was so popular, it's now going to be a regular item on the menu. Give it a try at home, it's nutritious, easy to make and really yummy!
We have noticed that many of our customers are turning to a more vegetarian diet, as they realise that meat can take longer to digest. They have noticed that they do not feel so bloated after a meal. I personally believe in gut health, and a veg based diet lightens the load on our kidneys and digestive system. But I couldn't cut meat out completely, as I do enjoy small amounts of it.
We loved these posters that @CambridgeFoodCycle put on social media this week (credit: mikimottes.com and simplehapykitchen.com). There are so many different kinds of beans and pulses that are protein and calcium rich, full of vitamins & minerals.And it just goes to show, we could go meat free and still have a balanced diet.
There are so many way to cook tofu. Here is a quick and simple one to share if you want to have a go at home.
Summer Tofu Dish with Fresh Vegetables
- Fried Tofu (230g), cut into bite size
- Shiitake Mushroom 200g, quarter each of them
- Corn from 2 fresh corn on cob or a small can of sweetcorn
- Fresh Garlic Shoots 100g, cut and blanched
- Cherry Tomatoes 10 pieces, halved & seared
- Freshly chopped garlic, spring onion, a small piece of ginger,
- Mix 30ml gluten free soya sauce with 60ml of water and a tablespoon of sugar
- Mix a flat tablespoon of cornflour with 20 ml of water
1. Grease pan with a tablespoon of oil, put the pounded ginger into pan to give oil gingery flavour before adding the tofu gently brown the edges.
2. Add fresh corn, chopped garlic, mushroom into the pan and stir fry for a minute or two
3. Add the soya sauce mixture (with water and sugar) and cover with lid for a minute or until the tofu soaks up half (but not all) of the sauce
4. Add the blanched garlic shoots and mix well
5. Add cornflour mixture to thicken the remaining sauce by stirring in quickly
6. Put into serving dish, add seared cherry tomato and the chopped spring onion on top
- In this simple recipe, I use fried tofu so minimum oil is needed to brown the tofu, but if you are using fresh tofu, just spend extra 10 minutes at the beginning to lightly fry the tofu with oil that has higher cooking point (Olive oil or rapeseed oil are my favourite). Just a reminder, sesame oil can be added at the end but not for frying due to it's low heat point
- If you are buying fresh tofu, choose the firm ones (the soft ones are for adding to soup, not for frying)
- I'm using fresh corn cut off from the cob here but if you are using canned sweetcorn, add it after heat turned off
- It can be served hot or cold. A bed of stir fried beansprout or a bed of blanched green vegetables underneath will make a great party dish, homemade garlic sauce can be added on top (mixture of soya sauce, water and lightly fried chopped garlic & white part of spring onion, a drop of honey & sesame oil) after veg is cooked
- Any ingredients listed here can be replaced by other easily available vegetables. I have attached a few pictures below to show the nutritious vegetables we love to add to this dish for daily variation.
- blanching is the best method for the green to put underneath the cooked tofu, hot bath before an ice cold rinse followed by ice cold garlic sauce pour on top of the green
Hope you enjoy this simple dish and let me know if you have other special ways to cook tofu. Would love to hear from you!