Panko Tofu

Tofu in itself isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. But that doesn’t stop a billion or more Chinese, Japanese and vegetarians around the world eating it. It comes in many textures from silky to solid. The one we pick up is solid and once it has the liquid drained from it, is a good dish for everything from this panko tofu, to ma po tofu, to adding to soup. Even if it’s bland in itself, it absorbs flavours from the sauces around it.

We cook this when we’re going through a non-meat phase. The leftovers made a good lunch in a wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, cucmber, hoummous and chilli sauce, like you would with falafel.

Ingredients, serves 2

200 g tofu, drained and cubed
1-2 eggs
enough panko
2-3 tbsp oil.


Drain the tofu. Press it with kitchen rolls until the liquid is gone then cut into chopstick-sized cubes.

Prepare your flour. It could be plain, with salt and pepper or as I like it with paprika and dried garlic, the two herbs and spices I use most of in my kitchen.

Crack one or two eggs in a bowl and beat.

Prepare your panko for coating.

Fry in the oil until brown and crispy.

Serve with the vegetable of choice. Last night we had al-dente broccoli with sesame oil and sesame seeds, a combination I like. Spinach works just as well. Wilt spinach with a kettle full of boiling water and again, give it some sesame oil and sesame seeds.

Finished fried panko tofu

The crispy cubes of tofu go well with dips such as sweet chilli sauce and oyster sauce.

This recipe works just as well with slabs of pork for tonkatsu, or even pork chops. With chops, being thicker, give them 5 minutes in the oven at 200C to finish off and cook properly through the middle.

So there you have one of our meat-free dishes. This will certainly be in the cookbook!

HelloFresh recipe box – review, tasty

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 21.14.54There was a half price bargain to be had, so we took the plunge and got a couple of HelloFresh boxes at half price. Tuesday morning they arrived by truck incredibly well packed. The refrigerables packeded in insulated bags and all the other ingredients portioned into little boxes of a size appropriate to the recipes, or in some case more.

Over two boxes, the recipes we got were:

  • Paprikás Csirke – a Hungarian paprika chicken dish. A dash of honey and soy sauce at the end, lifted the dish somewhat.
  • Beef Enchiladas – There were enough tortillas left over, we had this again for lunch again the following day. Probably my favourite.
  • Pan Fried Chicken with tarragon sauce – a simple sauce of tarragon simmered in crème fraîche.
  • Honey mustard sausages with read onion gravy – the sausages were tiny and the gravy a cheaty version of the one I do, but the real revelation here was cabbage that was quartered, fried lightly then baked in the oven in stock. This I will cook again!
  • Jamie’s grilled chicken with green bean salad – fairly classic, lemony Jamie.
  • Salmon baked on a bed of walnut-herby mushrooms with cerleriac fries. Sorry, there’s nothing to commend celeriac, it’s a vegetable of winter desperation. The mushrooms however, were awesome.  The texture of the nuts and the flavour of lots of fresh herbs. Amazing.

So there we have it. Would I do it again? Probably not. The recipes were easy enough but nothing you couldn’t do with a recipe book and a supermarket. I think my expectations were for more umami and more exotic flavours. Good enough though and if I were a busy executive with a career, wife and mistress, it might be tempting. 3/5.


Goulash London style and a heresy


A friend said he was cooking this which immediately gave me a yearning.

First thing was that my paprika was supermarket and stale, so I ventured to the Spice Shop in Brighton, purveyor of all things herby, spicy and tasty.

Then it starts getting religious: is it a soup or a stew? Sour cream or not? Served with potatoes, rice, pasta, dumpling or some form of bread? Whose grandmother is the one true queen of goulash?

Ultimately, it seems to me at least, it boils down to distinguishing it from any other beef stew and that means NO WINE and NO tomatoes, however tempting that may be. The guardian recipe recommends faffing with green peppers, I didn’t and they were fine. Use lots of onions, they cook right down to the volume doesn’t matter. For a pound of meat, at least three, fried gently. IMG_1332

Hungarian joke: “what do you want for dinner tonight to go with your sour cream?”

Having stocked up on shiny new paprika it was disappointing to find that my caraway was dead. The end result was good enough but we both thought “needed mushrooms”.

Last night I did it again my way:

  • Put in a bunch of quartered button mushrooms
  • Used most of a bottle of red wine (Hungarian! Undrinkable!)
  • Use a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Threw in a handful of pearl barley just because
  • Bought fresh caraway seeds
  • Scored beef shin from Morrisons which was fatty, marbled and so tender.
  • I threw in some garlic at the onion frying stage
  • I put a tablespoon of flour in with three of the paprika when coating before frying. Threw the unused in anyway
  • I made herby (with Greek oregano!) dumplings

I liked mine better.