Firecracker Tofu, Wagamama’s Style

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I’m not the biggest fan of Wagamama’s. Granted, both times I’ve visited I’ve ordered the exact same dish (Tofu pad thai with no egg or fish sauce), but it’s never really hit the spot for me. Perhaps it was the way they cooked their tofu or the inclusion of copious amounts of “the devil’s herb” that put me off. Regardless, my impression of Wagamama’s currently isn’t the best.

My meat-eating boyfriend however, has a very different opinion on the matter. To him, Wagamama’s is the best thing since sliced bread. On one occasion he asked me to try the sauce from his favourite dish, Firecracker Chicken, to see if I could be won over but unfortunately Wagamama’s own sauce contains fish so I did the next best thing and attempted to veganise the dish at home.

Now, I can’t vouch for this myself having never actually tasted Wagamama’s version, but apparently Nicky at Kitchen Sanctuary  has done a pretty good job with her copycat recipe with one commentor even claiming she’s managed to create a recipe which has a 99% closeness to the real thing – that’s good enough for me! And all it took was a few simple adaptations on my part to make this recipe totally vegan -even better!

I can not fault how this recipe turned out, it’s literally the perfect combination of sweet and spicy! Every bite packs a ton of flavour and this is a dish that will most definitely feature in my regular rotation in the foreseeable future. It’s so easy to whip up tastes so much better than a greasy old takeaway. If this recipe is anything to go by, I might just have to give Wagamama’s another chance….third time lucky, right?

Firecracker Tofu

Tofu Marinade/Sauce 

  • 100g Organic Tofu pressed and cut into bitesize pieces
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

Stir Fry

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 white onion cut into chunks
  • 1/2 red pepper cut into chunks
  • 1/2 green pepper cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup of snap peas
  • Small bunch of spring onions, chopped

Serve with: 

  • Boiled Rice
  • Wedge of Lime
  • White Sesame Seeds

Ensure your tofu has been pressed prior to cooking, this will ensure it doesn’t crumble apart during the cooking process and allow for better absorption of flavour. You can use a tofu press to do this or follow this guide for an alternative method.

Begin by mixing all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl before placing in the tofu. Cover and allow to marinade in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer you allow the tofu to sit the more intense the flavour will be.

Cook rice according to instructions.

While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a wok or skillet on high heat. Remove tofu from the marinade (set this aside) and cook through until your pieces start to become slightly brown. Add in onions and allow them to cook for around two minutes before adding in the rest of the marinade along with the peppers and snap peas. Continue to cook on medium heat for around 4-5 minutes, adding a splash of water if sauce becomes too thick. Add in spring onions and cook for another minute before removing pan from heat.

Create a rice mound by placing rice in a small bowl and pressing down with a spoon. Place a plate on top and flip over and remove the lid to create a mound like the one pictured above.

Carefully spoon the firecracker tofu around the rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place a lime wedge on top of the rice, serve and enjoy!

Note: This recipe would also work well served with quinoa or some udon noodles if you wanted to mix things up a little!

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Hearty Lentil Loaf

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Anyone who knows me can vouch for my love of a good roast dinner. The combination of roast potatoes, mash, stuffing and as many vegetables as can be squeezed on to one plate alongside a jug of warm, thick gravy is my idea of perfection and something I eat far more often than is good for me.

Linda McCartney’s Country Pies have long served as my ‘meat alternative’ having outperformed any of the bland, prepackaged nut/lentil roasts available in my local supermarket around the time I first became vegan. In fact, so bad was my experience with frozen versions of these veggie classics that they became something I shunned until quite recently. After trying the amazing vegan nut roast at Casita Ibiza this summer, I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to get over my so-called ‘hatred’ of lentil loafs too and attempt to make my own from scratch – and needless to say, the effort paid off!

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This flavoursome, filling roast compliments all the traditional trimmings to perfection, resulting in a delicious, wholesome meatloaf alternative that will impress even the fussiest of eaters and the rich cranberry glaze adds just the right amount of sweetness to offset this perfectly seasoned dish. Feel free to switch up which vegetables you use.

Hearty Lentil Loaf

Loaf

  • 1 Cup green lentils
  • 2 1/2  cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp flax seed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 celery stick
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and rosemary.
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Glaze 

  • 4 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 tsp brown sugar

Begin by rinsing the lentils and placing them in a large pot with the vegetable broth. Bring to the boil and then reduce and cover for 40 minutes until lentils are soft.

Meanwhile, mix the flaxseed with 1/3 of a cup of water and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. This will act like an egg, helping to bind the mixture together.

Prepare your veggies. I like to cut the carrots and celery into quite small pieces to ensure there is crunch throughout as much of the loaf as possible. Add your vegetables and spices into a pan and cook for around 15 minutes.You want them to have softened while remaining firm. I saute mine in water but you can use oil if you’d prefer.

Once the lentils have finished, allow them to cool for a few minutes before using an immersion blender or fork to blend around 2/3 of the mixture. You will then want to add this into a mixing bowl, along with your veggies, flour and flax egg and mix through before transferring the mixture into a loaf pan.

Combine ingredients for the glaze and spread evenly over the top of the loaf. You can double this if you wish your loaf to have a sweeter taste.

Place pan in oven and heat on 160 for 40 minutes. Allow a few minutes to cool before serving.

Notes

This recipe serves 6 people and can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Thanks to Simple Veganista who’s Ultimate Lentil Loaf recipe served as a basis for my own version, check her out!