Recipe: vegan Japanese tofu stew

October 16th 2012

This is such a great recipe for this time of year: warming, comforting and yet incredibly healthy. It’s basically a vegan Japanese take on a classic English beef stew, with gravy, melting potatoes and flavourful chunks of carrot and onion. Crispy tofu takes the place of beef, which acts like a sponge soaking up all the lovely liquor. I first got the recipe when I did my Japanese cooking course a couple of years ago, but I’ve adapted it a fair bit since then to suit my taste and store cupboard. Do try it, the flavours you get from so few simple ingredients is really surprising.

– 1 pack deep-fried or regular firm tofu (look for ‘Abura age’ in the freezer at the Asian supermarket)
– 2 large potatoes
– 2 carrots
-1 white onion
– Handful green veg – French beans, sprouting broccoli, spring greens or pak choi would all work
– 20ml/1tbsp cooking sake
– 30ml mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
-60ml dark soy sauce
-1 tsp brown sugar
– Sprinkle of nanami togarashi / shichimi (Japanese hot spice mix) – optional

Peel the potato, carrot and onion and chop into large chunks. Heat some vegetable oil in a wok or casserole and fry the veg for 5-10 minutes on a med-high heat. You want good colouring all over.

Mix the seasonings (sake, sugar, mirin and soy) in a small bowl and add to the pan, then add water to just cover the veg and bring to a simmer. Cover and leave to bubble gently away.

If you’re using non-deep fried tofu you need to pre-fry it. Slice into 1cm pieces and blot well with kitchen paper. Dust with corn flour and shallow fry in oil on a medium heat until golden and crisp on both sides.

After the veg has been cooking about ten minutes, add the tofu to the top of the pan.After another ten minutes,add the green veg. Give another five minutes to just cook the green veg – the potatoes should be soft and cooked through now and the sauce reduced a little.

Sprinkle in the nanami togarashi if using, or season with black pepper (it shouldn” need salt)

Leave for 5-10 mins off the heat to get all the flavours fully mingled, and serve on its own or with sticky rice.

Serves 2 with leftovers to spare (it tastes great the next day), or 4 with rice.

Comments (9)

  • huma

    October 16th 2012 at 6:50 pm

    absolutely love tofu – these days am oven baking it marinated to save on the frying. this looks delicious, sounds specially good with sticky rice x

  • Interiors Online

    October 17th 2012 at 3:21 am

    wow, wow, it`s amazing! :)

  • Louisa Boyles

    October 17th 2012 at 10:22 am

    Oh my, this looks amazing. Gonna try this at the weekend.

  • Honest to Blog | Laura La Rue Honest to Blog | Loves sausage dogs and chunky heels

    October 18th 2012 at 3:29 pm

    […] Vegan Japanese tofu stew – What Katie Does […]

  • Vicky

    October 19th 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I’d never think to put some of this stuff together, even though some are my favourite foods, and it looks lovely! Sounds like I might actually be capable of making it too, which is always a plus!

  • Mat | Bobin & Twine

    October 29th 2012 at 7:32 pm

    New to tofu and started out with your recipe… how did I survive without this?! thanks thanks thanks

    1. Katie

      October 30th 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Great to hear! Tofu can be an acquired taste but once you know how it cook it it’s wonderfully versatile.

  • huma

    October 31st 2012 at 10:29 am

    Made this last night and can vouch for it – so warming and hearty. I love tofu but never considered cooking it alongside potatoes for some reason; anyway, this was very very tasty and filling. Made a few tweaks – fried the veg off in sesame oil, baked the tofu instead of frying (lightly oil spray still gives the crispy coat without too much grease) and threw in lots of kale. Had it with quinoa. Printed this off now to keep in my recipe book!

    1. Katie

      October 31st 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Glad it worked out well! I’m going to try the baked tofu tip, and kale would be a great veg addition.

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