Lunch with my Wanna-be Gordon Ramsay

When you will read this, please know that it was so hard to not post it right then and there.

On Saturday, I planned out and organized my recipes and blog schedule so I could maximize my time and efforts. In theory, it’s a foolproof plan, but in reality, I’m dying to share my recipe since it’s a killer, and the pictures turned out amazing.

I came up with a list of 20 odd recipes to test in the next coming weeks, for my own blog, as well for my monthly blog on the PumpUp site. This week, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and try something that I have never tried before. I have honestly never eaten anything Asian inspired, mostly because it usually involves eggs/nuts/gluten/meat… or a combination of spices that I’m not really a fan of. But, that being said, I decided it was time to try it out. And I am glad I did.

Before I get into this, I just wanted to take the time to thank the super helpful and friendly clerk at the InterMarché here on rue St-Jean in Quebec city. If ever you read this, merci énormément pour ton aide et tes conseils! La recette est excellente! For those wondering why I’m doing this shout-out, when I went to get my hoisin sauce and sesame oil, I ended up chatting with this man about my blog, my recipes and food in general, and he gave me some excellent advice and tips. So therefore, if ever you see me at the grocery store or in the streets, please come and talk to me!

Ok. So this week’s recipe is from The Sprouted Kitchen‘s cookbook, “The Sprouted Kitchen; A Tastier Take on Whole Foods”. I picked this book out at HomeSense last year before I moved out, and I’m very glad I did. The recipe for my stuffed squash is actually from the same book. It’s a great vegan/vegetarian book, and I highly recommend taking a look at their blog (linked above on their name).

This week’s recipe is Asian Inspired Tofu Tacos. Before I start, I will tell you that I attempted to make my own corn tortillas for this recipe, but they failed since I bought the wrong type of flour (my corn flour was too fine and didn’t hold up). Some of the pictures have these failed tortillas in them (I did eat them, they were OK), but the last one is with store-bought flour tortillas, which in the end, turned out to be the better choice.

Also, feel free to use chicken instead of tofu. My friend, who agreed to be my taste tester, is a lot like Gordon Ramsay, fiery and unafraid to share what’s on his mind, and was happily impressed with the use of tofu. I forgot to tell him it was tofu based, and that he doesn’t particularly like it… After eating not one, but two servings, and picking at the leftover tofu cubes, he told me that it was the first time he actually enjoyed eating tofu, and that he would definitely have these tacos on a regular basis. #WINNING.

Ok, here goes the recipe!

You will need

  • extra firm tofu, chopped into 1 inch cubes (or smaller), pressed/drained (15 minutes to a few hours, depending on the time you have)
  • 3/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spice (I didn’t have any, so I googled for a homemade version, and created my own with ground black peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves…knowing that I was missing out on ground fennel and ground star anise… and that my black pepper is clearly not Szechuan peppercorns)
  • 3 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Asian pear (I used a Cortland apple, since the grocery store I went to didn’t sell the pear, and that the Cortland is one of the closest to it)
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 5 green onions, white and green parts chopped
  • 2 1/2 cup finely shredded green or napa cabbage (I used a green cabbage)
  • tortillas (corn/rice/flour)
  • lime

How to

Drain your tofu (line your tofu cubes with paper towels on a plate and cover them with a heavy book so that the water drains out).

While the tofu is draining, stir in your Chinese 5 spices, 2 tbsp of the rice vinegar, the ginger, 1 tbsp. of the sesame oil and salt. Once your tofu has been draining, pat it dry and place it in a shallow baking dish and cover it with your spice mix. Let it marinate for 15 minutes to an hour, while you prep the rest of your ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, mix together your hoisin sauce, yogurt and 1 tbsp of rice vinegar.

Final steps are to prep your veg and apple. So finely shred your cabbage, and finely mince your green onions. Save 1/3 of the green onions for the topping in a little dish. Don’t forget to cut your apple in fine strips/bite size pieces sticks.

DSC_0469 copy

Now for the fun part. In a non stick frying pan, add the last 1/2 tbsp. of sesame oil and the 3/4 of your green onions. Let if fry up for a bit, then add your tofu and all of its marinade. You’re going to want to sauté it until it turns nice and golden and crispy, which takes about 10 minutes. DSC_0478 copy

While that’s frying, toss your shredded cabbage in your hoisin and yogurt sauce and make sure its nice and coated. That will be the slaw you will be stuffing your tacos with.

Last step, broil your tortillas (place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper) until they start to get golden. You’ll want to flip them over as well so both sides get crispy.

The assembly part is the fun part. Once your tofu is golden and crispy, tortillas are heated and your slaw is ready, you’re ready to serve. I started by placing the slaw first, then a few bits of apple, tofu and then a pinch of green onions. My friend and I realized that a squirt of lime juice added a whole new dimension to it, so go ahead, squirt some of that on! DSC_0481 copy

Now, just so y’all don’t get too confused, I didn’t eat the tortillas my friend brought since they were made with regular flour, but the slaw, tofu and apple by themselves/mixed together in a bowl, is pretty decent as well. We also decided that, to make amazing looking appetizers, it would be awesome to broil the tortillas in muffin tins, so they have a bowl shape, which is great to fill up with the slaw and tofu.

DSC_0485 copy DSC_0489 copy

I was very nervous having someone try the end result because I was very much on the fence about the whole thing. I had never had hoisin sauce before and I wasn’t sure if I liked the taste, so I was afraid that every one else wouldn’t like it as well. Turns out that M. Wanna-be Ramsay loved it, gave it an 8 on 10 and told me that he’d come back for these tacos a few times a month, if it were up to him. He said that the use of sesame oil to fry the tofu cubes was genius. So thank you Sprouted Kitchen for helping me try something new!

By the way, let me know in the comments if you want the recipe for the corn tortillas. With the right flour, they would have been amazing, and perfect for this recipe.

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