Recently I have been struggling for inspiration/motivation, I think it's down to my general state of mind, which hasn't been so great recently. I've found myself being really hard on myself and falling back into bad habits. But this week I was determined to create a dish from scratch that I was proud of. And do you know what I bloody did it!
Well it was actually a bit of a team creative process. I had a block of tofu in the freezer and had been wanting to make satay, but was also feeling burgers. But I also felt a bit uninspired by both of them. With a nudge in the right direction from Jamie and Alice the Satay tofu burger was born. I've been thinking of calling it a Safu burger, cos why the hell not name your own burger, but I also feel like a bit of a dick typing that so will probably stick with Satay Tofu burger.
If you are wondering freezing tofu (once it's pressed) can give it a firmer texture, it isn't 100% necessary with this recipe but it worked well. If you don't know how to press tofu I will leave a note at the end of the recipe on how to do this.
Tofu sometimes gets a bad rep, either in how it tastes (guys come on if it tastes bland you just aint cooking it right) or nutritionally. Tofu is made of soy beans, one of the myths that surrounds soy is that it's high in estrogen; too much estrogen can have a negative effect on health, such as increased risk of breast cancer potentially. The estrogen in soy however is weak phytoestrogen. Your body's estrogen is much, much stronger than the phytoestrogen in soy. Some studies have even linked soy with a reduced risk of breast cancer, all though most of these studies have been carried out in Asia, where soy consumption is much higher from a young age and the diet is healthier as a whole. Soy is also an excellent sauce of protein with very little fat and no cholesterol.
Satay originates from Java, Indonesia And is now a national dish, often served as street food. It can also be found in many Chinese or Asian takeaways throughout the UK. It is usually skewers with either meat or tofu topped with a sauce, usually soy and peanut sauce, which is now widely referred to as satay sauce. This is my spin on this dish, taking inspiration from the sweet peanutty sauce, and combining it with a spicy nutty burger. This was honestly one of my proudest creations, it tasted so damn good. And I was really worried about it at the start having never made a tofu burger before.
I served my burger with a satay sauce, cucumber, carrot and coriander, and a touch or sriracha. Plus some sugar snaps on the side. I'm totally obsessed with these green pods of goodness right now, they are my go to snack.
Makes 5 - 6 burgers
For the tofu burger
1 block of pressed tofu (if you don't know how to press tofu please see note below)
3 spring onions
1 thumb size piece of galangal (or ginger)
1 stalk of lemon grass
3 garlic cloves
1/2 red chilli (or more to suit your taste)
1 tablespoon gram flour
For the satay sauce
2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter (try to find peanut butter with nothing added to it, I used this one)
3 tablespoons coconut milk (from a can)
2 teaspoons agave or fruit syrup
1/2 red chilli
2 tablespoons soy sauce
To serve (optional)
1) Place the spring onion, galangal, lemon grass, garlic, chilli, coriander, peanuts and soy sauce in a blender and blend to a crumbly texture. Add the tofu and gram flour and blend again. The mixture should come together and be quite sticky.
2) Finely dice the chilli for the satay sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3) Heat up a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Fry the tofu burgers on both sides for a few minutes until a golden brown.
4) Finely slice cucumber and coriander. Grate the carrot. Toast the burger buns, place the tofu burger on them, top with satay sauce, sriracha and cucumber,carrot and coriander.
Note: How to press tofu
1) Remove tofu from packaging draining away all the water it sits in.
2) Place the tofu on a chopping board between two sheets of paper towel.
3) On top of the tofu place another chopping board, on top of this balance heavy pans/ heavy books/ anything else you have lying around the kitchen that is heavy.
4) Leave for at least an hour, the longer you can leave your tofu for the better. Once pressed either use your tofu straight away or freeze.