Crispy & Spicy Tofu Bánh Mì with Green Papaya Slaw

A mash-up Asian recipe which is very easy to make and perfect for this meatless Monday. The tofu is coated in a sambal marinade, and then coated in panko to seal in all the flavours. Served as a sandwich with a nice baguette and green papaya slaw. You’ve got crunchy, sweet, tangy and spicy. Umami all the way!

Last year we went on holiday to Thailand. I ordered green papaya salad as a side dish for lunch and dinner everyday while we were there. I love the sweet, tangy and spicy combination. Plus it was so cheap there, I might as well indulge in my cravings. My green papaya salad recipe is a bit different, I skipped on the beans and tomatoes. I wanted to keep it more like a slaw, but it is still bursting with flavor. You can find green papaya at most Tokos (Asian stores) in Amsterdam. I bought this one at the Honk Kong store on the Kinkerstraat. I also wrote a Grocery & Market Amsterdam Guide in case you are new here and want to know where to find specific ingredients. You can see the guide here.

I love tofu. But for me I always have to season it well, since it is quite bland on its own. Last week I received some sambals from my friend Lily. Her parents own an Asian store in the south of Holland called Amazing Sang Lee. They are known for making delicious Sambal and they now sell about 20 different varieties. I wanted to incorporate their Taotjo sambal into a recipe. And I came up with this one. I made a marinade with the sambal and coated the tofu in it. Then I coated it in panko to give it some crunch and seal in the marinade. The result is so delicious. This tofu in itself doesn’t need anything else. You can just snack on it like that. But since I wanted to make it into a whole meal, I turned it into a Bánh Mì sandwich.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

For the crispy & spicy tofu:
300grs of firm tofu for frying
3 tablespoons of Taotjo Sambal (or the sambal of your preference), you can add more if you like it more spicy
4 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of honey or agave
2 teaspoons of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of celery salt
½ a teaspoon of garlic powder

For the tofu coating:
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
1 cup of all-purpose flour

For the green papaya slaw:
1 green papaya (about 600grs) shredded, gives about 4-5 cups
1/2 cup of toasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bird’s eye chili (or more to taste), minced
1 cup of shredded carrot
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar (you can also use palm sugar)

Extras:
Coriander leaves
2 baguettes
About ¾ of a cup of vegetable oil to fry the tofu
About 3 cups of mixed greens (lettuce)

 

First remove the tofu from its packaging. Pat it dry with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Then slice it into 1cm thick pieces. I prefer them not too thick because this way, you get a more balance bite of crunch, marinade and tofu.

To make the marinade: Mix the sambal with the rest of the ingredients. Brush each slice of tofu with the marinade on both sides. Place it in the fridge while you make the slaw.

To make the green papaya slaw: Peel the skin off the papaya. Then shred it. I used my mandoline with the julienne attachment. But you can also use a grater if you don’t have a mandoline.

In a big bowl, mix the chili with the garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Mix it well, trying to dissolve the sugar as much as possible. Then add the shredded green papaya and carrot. Mix well until everything is coated in the sauce. Then add the peanuts. Mix well.

To make the coating for the tofu: Have the beaten eggs in one bowl, the flour in another and the panko in the last bowl. Take the tofu out of the fridge. Grab a piece and coat it in the flour, be careful not to remove any of the sambal marinade. Then coat it in the beaten egg and finally in the panko. Repeat for all.

Pour about ¾ of a cup of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the tofu in batches. Fry until golden on both sides. This will only take a few minutes, so keep an eye on it.

To assemble each sandwich, first add a layer of mixed greens. Then add the green papaya slaw. Finally add the crispy tofu and top with some coriander leaves. Serve right away. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, travel & lifestyle; you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and Youtube channel.

Kale Coconut Fried Rice with Sriracha & Lime and Crispy Tofu

kale coconut rice

I had read that you can make whipped cream with coconut milk. For me, it didn’t work out. I read that you need to leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and that the next day when you open it; the cream would have separated from the water. I read that it had to be full fat and have no preservatives for it to work. After opening many different cans of coconut milk the day after, I still found that it didn’t separate. So I had a lot of opened coconut milk cans to spare. I made this stir-fried rice with one of them. It is a very healthy dish, and very filling too. I really liked the texture that the kale gave to the dish. It makes for a great lunch the next day. It is better if you make the rice the night before, just so it is less sticky to stir-fry. But if you don’t have the time, don’t worry about it. It will still turn out great. This recipe serves 3.

kale coconut

To make the coconut rice you will need:

170grs can of coconut milk (you can also use low fat coconut milk)

Basmati rice to fill the empty 270grs can

Boiling water to fill the empty 270grs can

Pinch of salt

For the fried rice:

Coconut rice (preferably from the night before)

4 cups of shredded kale

1 ½ tablespoons of ginger, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 spring onions, chopped

10 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce

Juice of 2 limes

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

For the Tofu:

300gr firm tofu

1 cup of cornmeal

Salt

Pepper

Lemon pepper

2 tablespoons of coconut oil, or vegetable oil

Toppings:

6 baby Paksoy

3 fried eggs

 

To make the coconut rice, place the rice, coconut milk, boiling water and salt in a medium saucepan. Start on medium heat until it starts to boil. Give it a good stir. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, mix the coconut rice with 4 cups of shredded kale.

In small bowl, mix the sriracha, lime juice and soy sauce. Set aside.

Slice the tofu about the same size as fish sticks. Pat the tofu dry with paper towels.

Mix the cornmeal, some salt, pepper and lemon pepper on a plate. Coat the tofu pieces in this mixture.

In a large pan, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Over medium-high heat, pan fry the tofu until it is golden and crispy on both sides. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan. Over high heat, stir fry the baby paksoy. Season with salt, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Fry 3 eggs.

Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the same pan. Over medium-high heat, add the ginger, garlic, spring onion and radish. Stir fry for 1 minute and then add the coconut rice mixed with kale. Stir fry for about 2 minutes and then add the sauce. Stir fry for another minute.  Then remove from the heat.

Divide the rice between 3 plates. Serve with 2 baby paksoi, a fried egg and some of the crispy tofu.

Kale, Tofu and Peanut Potstickers (Gyoza)

gyozgyophoto 1

I have been on a peanut butter strike lately. There are months where I can go without eating peanut butter and some where I eat it every day.  I was watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts unknown, where he was in Shanghai eating all these dumplings.  And of course I got a very strong urge to eat them as well.

I try to go meatless at least 3 to 4 times a week, so these kale and tofu potstickers are great for that. I added a bit of peanut butter to the filling and they turned out great.  I made this for dinner yesterday and served them with some white rice and kale chips.  It was a really nice combination to get some crunchy kale with the dumplings and dipping sauce.  This recipe makes about 30 potstickers. For the meat version, you can check out my recipe for Pork and ginger potstickers.

photo 2

Ingredients:

300gr silken tofu

100gr of kale, chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of ginger, minced

1 chili, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 teaspoons of peanut butter

Sprinkle of Chinese five spice powder

1 pack of Gyoza wrappers

Dipping sauce:

½ cup of soy sauce

Juice of one lime

2 teaspoons of sesame oil

Half of a spring onion cut very finely (white included)

1 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon of honey

Kale chips (optional):

A small bowl of chopped up kale (chopped small as if it were for a slaw)

A teaspoon of olive oil

A sprinkle of salt

 

First leave the frozen dough out for a few hours to thaw.

For the dipping sauce, just combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

To make the kale chips, preheat the oven to 150C/300F.  Put the chopped kale in a bowl; add the olive oil and salt. Massage it with your hands so the oil gets in between all the leaves.  Arrange on a single layer in a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes.

Press the tofu in between paper towels to get rid of excess liquid. In a large bowl combine the tofu, kale, spring onion, ginger and chili.

In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter and Chinese five spice powder. Add the peanut sauce to the kale and tofu. Mix well.

To assemble the Potstickers, just add about a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each wrapper.  You can brush the sides of the wrapper with an egg wash or some water. Then fold the wrapper in half to form a half moon shape. Starting on one end, fold/pinch the wrapper tightly together. Keep going until it is completely sealed, trying not to get any air bubbles.  Repeat for all.

Boil some water.

Brush a non-stick pan with a lid, with a bit of vegetable oil, just enough for the Potstickers not to stick. Once the pan is hot, place the potstickers inside, and cook until one side is golden. Then add half a cup of water and cover right away. Be careful because it will splatter. The water will steam the dumplings. Once the water has evaporated, let it cook for another minute uncovered so the brown side can crisp up again.

Serve right away.