If your family is not tempted by tofu, win them round with this Chinese-style dish. The tofu is glazed with ginger and soy, and served on a bed of garlicky noodles and crisp vegetables tossed with plum sauce. Although the method may look long, the dish is incredibly quick to make and there's very little washing up!
250 g firm (hard) tofu, drained
2 tbsp salt-reduced soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp canola oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
170 g Chinese egg noodles
200 g broccoli florets, sliced into small pieces
200 g carrots, cut into thin sticks
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into thin strips
150 ml vegetable stock, preferably homemade or water
1/4 cup (60 ml) plum sauce
200 g pak choy, stems and leaves separated and thickly sliced
4 spring onions, cut into thin strips about 5 cm long
1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
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Preheat the grill. Line the grill pan with foil. Using a small knife, mark both sides of the tofu with a crisscross pattern. Cut the tofu into quarters and place on the foil, spaced apart. Fold up the edges of the foil to make a case.
Mix together 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp oil, 1 garlic clove and the ginger, then brush the mixture on the top and bottom of the tofu squares. Set the tofu aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Put the noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for about 5 minutes, or according to the packet instructions.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the broccoli and stir-fry over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, red capsicum and remaining cloves of garlic, then stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, remaining soy sauce and tomato paste, then mix in the plum sauce. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
Drain the noodles and add to the wok together with the pak choy and three-quarters of the spring onions. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the pak choy leaves have just wilted. Remove the wok from the heat and keep hot while you cook the tofu.
Put the tofu under the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Turn it over and grill the other side for 1 minute. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over and cook for a further 1 minute.
Spoon the vegetables and noodles into bowls, place a piece of tofu in the centre of each and garnish with the remaining spring onions. Serve hot.
Some more ideas…
Chicken and green vegetable stir-fry Use 4 skinless chicken breast fillets (about 140 g each). Spread the skinned side with the soy and ginger glaze, then grill for 6 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, make the stir-fry, substituting zucchini for the carrots and a green capsicum in place of the red; omit the noodles. Turn the chicken glazed side uppermost and sprinkle with 2 tsp sesame seeds. Grill for 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve on the vegetables with rice.
Tofu is high in protein but low in saturated fat. It is also rich in iron and B vitamins and is a useful source of calcium. As the fibre from the soya bean is removed during processing, tofu is very easy to digest.