It’s that time of year again – Brussel Sprouts are here! We just love this recipe from Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty which focuses on interesting vegetarian recipes with a unique Middle Eastern twist.
Brussel Sprouts & Tofu
Brussels sprouts are really quite versatile. Here, they are charred to enhance their flavour and keep their firm texture. The tofu is marinated in a potent mixture to give it added personality. The resulting dish may even convert some firm abstainers from tofu (as I was until recently) and/or sprouts. Serve with steamed rice. Serves four.
150g firm tofu (Tau Kwa)
2 tbsp chilli sauce
1½ tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
500g brussels sprouts
180ml sunflower oil
100g spring onion, sliced
½ small chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
120g shiitake mushrooms, halved
15g picked coriander leaves
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
First, marinate the tofu. In a bowl, whisk together the chilli sauce, soy, two tablespoons of sesame oil, vinegar and syrup. Cut the tofu block into 0.5cm thick slices and then each slice into two squarish pieces. Gently lay in the marinade and set aside.
Trim the bases off the sprouts and cut each lengthways into three thick slices. Take a large, nonstick pan, and in it heat up four tablespoons of sunflower oil. Add half the sprouts and a little salt, and cook on high heat for two minutes. Don’t stir much – you want them almost to burn in a few places and cook through but remain crunchy. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the rest of the sprouts.
Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan, heat up and sauté the onion, chilli and mushrooms for a minute or two. Transfer to the sprout bowl.
Leave the pan on high heat and, using a pair of tongs, lift half the tofu from the marinade and gently lay in the pan (be careful: the oil may spit), spaced apart and in one layer. Lower the heat to medium and cook for two minutes on each side until nicely caramelised. Transfer to the sprout bowl and repeat with the rest of the tofu.
Once all the tofu is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and return all the cooked ingredients to it. Add the tofu marinade and half the coriander. Toss together and allow to cool slightly in the pan. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir in the remaining sesame oil (extra, if you like) and serve warm, not hot, garnished with sesame seeds and the rest of the coriander.
· Yotam Ottolenghi is chef-patron of Ottolenghi, London.