How to Make a Quick and Easy Vegan Tofu Bowl. Food is the the ultimate comfort. Whether it’s a bar of chocolate or a slice of cake, or a packet of your favourite crisps, when we need a big hug, it’s often not our loved ones, but our most beloved food we throw ourselves towards. Here’s my recipe for a hug in a bowl: a quick and easy rainbow velvet tofu bowl.
The connection between food and comfort
There is no doubt that food triggers a sense of well-being, albeit temporary. A study in Finland, from the Turku PET Centre revealed different brain patterns between a bland meal and a delicious meal. The brain releases opioid-like chemicals called Endorphins.
Interestingly, the brain released the same amount of chemicals, whether or not the meal was delicious or bland (but had the same calorific content), just in different concentration. A salty, stringy delicious pizza sends these opioid chemicals pouring out, so you instantly feel that “mmmmmmmm” feeling from the first bite. However, the bland, but no less calorific meal (for example, a protein drink), gradually releases the chemical, producing a more steady feeling of satiety. There is an ongoing study as to the connection between obesity and this flood of endorphins, and it will be interesting to see if this could have a positive affect on people with eating disorders (both over and under) in the future.
I fluctuate somewhere between the two: I am either pigging out on sweets or I’m trying to moderate by eating diet bars. When I’m busy writing or photographing, I like to prepare food that is going to keep me full and satisfied throughout the day, but I don’t want an annoying sugar crash, and likewise, I don’t want to start feeling ravenously hungry mid-shoot either.
What Is a Tofu Bowl?
Tofu Bowls are such a perfect solution to that predicament, they are healthy but in no way do you compromise on taste or satiety of hunger. You can adapt them to your own tastes on the day, or what you have in the cupboard and fridge.
What I particularly like about tofu bowls is how versatile they are. You don’t even have to use noodles, you can use rice, or I suppose, mashed potato if you had some laying around (not sure I recommend that though…).
My preferred way to serve tofu, whether it’s in a bowl or not, or is velveted. This is a common method used in Chinese cookery to keep chicken or other meat moist and flavourful, but with a crisp coating. Velveting does exactly the same for tofu. It gives it a really crisp outer, but a delicious creamy interior.
Some methods require you to add oil and jump through several other hoops, but I have a super easy, super quick method that will give you the best tofu ever! The only caveat is you must make sure you buy firm tofu. I love the Tofoo brand when I make tofu bowls, but there are many other choices out there!
Firm Tofu has been pressed so that most of the moisture has been squeezed out. You may need to dry it between a couple of sheets of paper towel when you open it but you won’t need to press it. Silken Tofu is much more fragile and may fall apart when you’re frying it. Not what you want.
Once dried, you then make it wet again, by dipping it in milk and then in a seasoned cornflour mixture. I make this simple and mess-free by using a Ziplock bag. You then fry the tofu for a couple of minutes and serve with your favourite sauce! The bowl is optional, but helps with feeling cosy! Now you can assemble your Quick and Easy Vegan Tofu Bowl with all sorts of different fridge fixin’s! I love mange tout, and baby sweetcorn, but you could use tinned corn, or cold salad veg too. If tofu is not your thing, Taylor over at Whisk Averse Baking has got a delicious recipe for a Roasted Chickpea and Sweet Potato Bowl here.
Velvet Tofu Bowl with Peanut Ginger Sauce
- Frying Pan
- Ziplock Bag
- Chopping Board
- Shallow dish
For the Velvet Tofu
- 1 pk Firm Tofu drained and dried
- ¼ cup Cornflour
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- Salt and Pepper
- ¼ cup Non-Dairy Milk
- Oil for frying
Peanut Ginger Sauce
- ¼ cup Sweet Chilli Sauce
- 1 tsp fresh Ginger grated
- 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- ½ tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp Peanut Butter
- 1 tsp Maple Syrup
- 1 tbsp Cornflour whisked with 2 tbsp water
To make the Velvet Tofu
- Drain and dry your tofu.
- Cut tofu into cubes
- Pour the milk into your shallow bowl. Add the tofu to the bowl, coating it.
- In the ziplock bag, add the cornstarch, sesame seeds and seasoning.
- Drop the cubes of tofu into the ziplock bag (not the milk though!) and gently shake the bag until the tofu is coated in the mixture.
- In a frying pan, heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil until it starts to shimmer slightly.
- Carefully drop the velvetted cubes of tofu into the hot oil and fry on each side until light golden brown. This should only take a couple of minutes.
- Remove from the oil and drain.
Peanut Ginger Sauce
- Add all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring up to the boil and stir vigorously with a whisk until it thickens. Remove from heat immediately.
- To serve, drop the cubes of tofu into the sauce and coat thoroughly.