So we made it to the final day of vegan work lunches – well done everyone!
To celebrate this momentous occasion I wanted to make something a little bit different. Something that perhaps my friends hadn’t tried before, tofu! Even if you have eaten tofu before, it’s not to everyone’s liking and so, as you can imagine, I was more than a little nervous about this particular lunch. To make matters worse I also decided to go out for dinner with friends the night I had to prepare my food. Needless to say I had a very late night, up cooking until 1am; tiredness probably contributed to my nerves.
I also experienced a certain amount of self-induced pressure, being the only actual vegan of the group, I felt I had something to prove.
So here’s my (oh OK it’s actually by Sarah Tildesley from the Jamie Oliver Magazine) Vegan Vietnamese bun cha with sticky spicy tofu recipe.
🍃 as a side note, before becoming vegan, Jamie Oliver had started to annoy me slightly, over exposure perhaps? However I have come to rely on some of his vegan recipes. They’re not always the healthiest, and I sometimes try to substitute ingredients for slightly healthier options, but he really is a great example of how main stream veganism is becoming. Next up, a completely vegan TV show with accompanying book please Jamie!
Anyway, I digress, back to the recipe :
🌿1 large brown onion, peeled and thinly sliced
🌿350g pack of firm tofu, drained and broken into very rough chunks
🌿6 tbsp hoisin sauce
🌿2 tbsp sesame seeds
🌿250g thin brown rice noodles, soaked in boiling water until soft
🌿a small handful of peanuts, crushed
🌿1 long red chilli, finely sliced
🌿2 limes, cut into wedges
🌿chilli sauce, to serve
🌿3 tbsp brown sugar
🌿1 stick of lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped
🌿3 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
🌿1 tbsp white wine vinegar
🌿1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus extra to serve
🌿juice of 2 limes
🌿2 carrots, grated or cut with a crinkle cutter
🌿1/2 cucumber, grated or cut with a crinkle cutter
🌿2 baby gem lettuce, finely sliced
🌿4 spring onions, finely sliced
🌿1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked
🍃And the method:
🌿Make the dressing first, so that all the flavours have time to mingle.
🌿In a large bowl or measuring jug, dissolve the sugar in 50ml of boiling water.
🌿Stir through all the other dressing ingredients, then set aside.
🌿Heat a little sesame oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over a low–medium heat, until soft and golden at the edges, about 10 minutes.
🌿In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over a medium heat, then add the tofu and fry until it starts to go crispy on the edges – about 5 minutes.
🌿Stir in the hoisin sauce and keep it on the heat for about 3 minutes, until it’s sweet and sticky and coats all the tofu.
🌿Add the sesame seeds for the final minute, then it’s done.
🌿Finally, combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
🌿To assemble your meal, divide the noodles between serving bowls, followed by the salad, then the tofu and onion, scatter over the peanuts and chilli and generously share out the dressing.
🌿Serve with extra toasted sesame oil, lime wedges and chilli sauce.
This is the recipe taken straight from the original but feel free to play with and adapt it to your needs. For example I didn’t want to chilli to be overpowering for my friends (though I love the heat!), so I cooked the chilli rather than serve it raw. I also added chopped portobello mushrooms to my hoisin tofu, to bull it out and in case not everyone enjoyed the tofu.
Oh – here’s how Sarah’s looked…
So that’s that, the week is done. Our bellies have been filled with 5 deliciously different vegan dishes. I’m keen to make this a regular thing, maybe 1 lunch a week, taking it in turns… However for now I think everyone’s a little bit veganed out – Meat free Monday’s it is then!
Be sure to come back tomorrow for a roundup of the week’s recipes plus some feedback from a few of the other girls who didn’t get a chance to cook. Don’t worry girls, you’ll be top of the chef’s list next time!