Sunday, 23 January 2011

Breakfast tofu

What? More tofu? Yep! If you are looking for the very definition of 'staple', the only thing that beats tofu in our house is houmous. Oh and margheritas. This is an unashamed 'bacon butty' replacement that I've been making for years now and which always goes down well, even with the odd meat eater. Sorry, that came out wrong. Meat eaters aren't odd. Well not that odd. Anyway onto the recipe.

First of all tofu. Or compressed soya beans if you'd like a more straightforward definition. A lot of people have had bad tofu moments. Mostly this is because of poor recipes and the terrible brand of tofu that dominates all the main supermarket chains. The best tofu can be had from health food stores or, even better, from Chinese supermarkets. If you have to buy the brand in the supermarket whose brand name brings to mind the witches of Macbeth, go for the smoked option as it stays together better. The tofu I've used for this recipe is Clear Spot. Just as good is Pauls. I've used plain tofu, but opt for smoked if you want to really emulate bacon.


450g block of firm plain or smoked tofu
Tbsp vegetable oil
Sprinkle of salt
Tbsp of sesame oil
Soya sauce
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

To serve:

Toasted pitta bread
Ketchup, Piri piri or pepper sauce


Slice the tofu lengthways into slices 3cm wide by 1cm thick. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and then begin to cook the tofu on a low to medium heat. You may be at this some time, as tofu really repays a bit of patience when you're cooking. Try to rush things and it could fall apart. This morning I took 30 or 40 minutes with this dish, just leaving it to gently cook whilst mucking around with the kids.

While the tofu is cooking, sprinkle over the salt, the sesame oil and, gently, the soya sauce. Let this seep into the tofu for a good 10 minutes or so, and then turn the tofu over. Leave cooking for another ten minutes or so. When the tofu is looking pretty good and brown, tip a tablespoon or so of mixed seeds into the pan, which add extra crunch. Continue to cook until everything is browned nicely.

To serve, toast the pitta, slice it open and then pop the tofu and seed mixture in. Finish the whole thing off with ketchup, or in my case a hot pepper sauce. Breakfast sorted.

Am aiming for the next recipe to be less tofu-centric, promise! May also include a slightly differentiated colour palette as I've noticed this blog is looking a bit muted for my liking. But then it is January...


  1. presume this would work as well with tempeh [my prefered soy bean foodstuff]. Good supplies from Unicorn of course...

  2. Tempeh is fabulous but there's something about it that doesn't work for me at breakfast? Maybe it's the fermented nature of them... I prefer to stick with tofu.

  3. Bit of a debate broke out on Facebook when I posted this up. Here's what my mate Davie Hunter had to say:

    Davie Hunter: Don't you just hate the meat substituton stuff though? Subs. to bacon, sausages etc? Have your cake and eat it mentality. I think the only difficult area is milk...that seems a necessary candidate for a substitute but most other animal products could surely be erased from the culinary vocabulary of the vegan or vegetarian?

    We stayed in a buddhist monastery in Koyasan in Japan for a couple of days and that was a real different track from the western outlook on what a breakfast constitutes.

  4. To which I replied:

    Steve Connor: DAVID!

    You walked straight into it! I was waiting for someone to bring up the 'why copy meat' question. Brilliant! Okay deep breath...

    First of all I'm vegan for ethical reasons, with health benefits being a rather wonderful side effect. At no point did I decide that there was something inherently unpleasant about things that were sausage or burger-shaped. In fact it seems an eminently sensible way of getting food into a bap, bun or pitta bread.

    ... but what about the symbolism of slaughter that these typologies represent I hear you cry?

    Well maybe we should be allowed to reclaim the sausage, the savoury slice and the minced up patty from the carnivorous hordes!

    You mind if we repost this on the blog? I expect it won't be the last time - wait till I make toad in the hole! ha ha ha.