I first tried tofu pockets at a small vegetarian restaurant in Primrose Hill. They were baked in a rich smokey barbeque sauce and I was curious what was going to be inside. I’ve experimented with different fillings – mushrooms, or onions and arame, or a combination of all three. You could even try cooking down courgettes and onions. I’ve included how to make your own sauce but you can always use a store bought version as it might be stickier. One thing I found is you need to sear the tofu first so that it stands up to being stuffed.
1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved and chopped finely
1/4 cup dried hijiki or arame seaweed
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 carrot, peeled and very finely grated
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1-2 tsp mild curry powder
2 -3 Tbs brown sugar, molasses or alternative sweetener (use enough to slightly sweeten)
2 Tbs Braggs or shoyu or tamari
1 Tbs vegetable bouillon
2 Tbs tomato paste
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbs olive oil
1. Cut tofu block into 2 big ‘steaks’.
2. Gently braise the steaks in a little olive oil in a frying pan until all sides are seared.
3. Meanwhile soak the arame or hijiki seaweed in boiled water (enough to just cover the seaweed) for 20 minutes.
4. Transfer the seaweed and the soaking water into a small pot. Add Braggs or shoyu and cook the seaweed down until the water leaves the mix.
5. Prepare the barbeque sauce. In a medium saucepan, add some olive oil and the chopped onions and finely grated carrot and slowly cook down till soft (the onions should soften and turn ‘sweet’). Add the canned tomatoes, diced garlic, tomato paste, curry paste, bouillon, brown sugar (or alternative sweetener) and lemon juice (or white vinegar) and cook the sauce down for about 10 mins.
6. Cut a ‘pocket’ in each steak using a sharp knife; cut along the middle of one edge being careful not to cut through to the other side.
7. Stuff each ‘pocket’ with some of the seaweed mixture.
8. Place the pockets in an oiled oven pan. Cover generously with the barbeque sauce.
9. Bake at 180 C or 350 F for 30 mins or more until the sauce begins to thicken and brown on the tofu.
Optional: use mushrooms instead of seaweed. Sliced thinly and gently cooked down in 2 tbs olive oil with sea salt. Or try cooking down courgettes the same way.
Suggested: Serve the pockets with a mixed green salad and steamed green vegetables and short grain brown rice.