I’m not one to pass up on a food opportunity, so when I was contacted by Joe Blogs Network on behalf of Homeserve about the launch of their new lifestyle blog, Ketchup, I was intrigued. The company wanted to enlist the help of bloggers to spread the word by choosing from six different ketchup recipes to re-create, keeping in the theme of the aptly named online magazine.
Homeserve think that ketchup is an essential ingredient of of the home – although personally, I’m not really a fan of ketchup (eeek, I said it). However, I was keen to have a go at making my own following a recipe, so I was able to be in control of what was going into it. Not just something to squirt on your plate to dip things into, the aim of this challenge was to show how it can be used as a key ingredient for a range of scrumptious recipes.
I had the choice of:
- Sweet & Sour Chicken
- BBQ Pulled Pork
- Korean Fried Chicken
- Insanity Burger
- Chili Tofu
- Ketchup Chicken
…I decided to go for the latter one, having not really cooked with firm tofu before, I was keen to give it a go once the ingredients arrived, ready for me to get cooking.
Chili Tofu – Original Recipe
- 1 pack of tofu, drained and pat dried
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 onion
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (note: I used tamari as soy sauce contains wheat)
- 1 tbsp arrowroot (note: I didn’t use this)
- 1/2 tsp Sriracha
- 2 tbsps chopped garlic
- 1/2 tbsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (I used Chipotle flakes)
- 1 tsp tomato ketchup
- Cut the tofu in cubes and put in a bowl. Add paprika, salt and cornmeal/cornflour/flour and toss well.
- Heat a pan with 2 tsp oil. Pan fry tofu in the heated pan for 3-4 min each sides, until you see a golden crust. This can also be baked at 350 deg F for 20~30mins. Set aside when ready.
- In the heated pan, pan sear the cut peppers and onions. If you did the tofu in the same pan, there is no need to add any oil for sauteing your veggies. Saute for about 5~7 mins. Set aside in the same bowl when you put tofu.
- In a bowl/cup, mix water, soy sauce, cornstarch, sriracha and tomato ketchup.
- Heat the same pan with 2 tsp of sesame oil. Add ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 mins.
- On medium high heat, now add the sauce mixture prepared in the step one above. Cook until the sauce reduces to half and thickens.
- Immediately add the bowl of tofu, onions and peppers. Toss well.
Here’s what I changed:
I chose to pan-fry the tofu in a non-stick pan with a little Fry Light to use less oil, then I kept the crisp tofu pieces warm on a plate while I then cooked the vegetables separately.
I found the sauce to be pretty thick and almost jelly like, so I used much more water – I’m guessing I added another ½ cup at least and just played it by ear, adding more until I was happy with a thick but still runny consistency.
I served the finished dish with a pile of vegetables on a plate, arranged some tofu cubes on top, then drizzled some of the sauce over.
Verdict of the challenge
Let’s start with the tofu: As many may know, I LOVE using silken tofu in many of my sweet recipes as an ideal cream cheese replacement in things like cheesecakes and mousses. Firm tofu is something I’ve never really given a go, and sadly my preconceptions were realised: despite the coating, it didn’t provide much taste at all…However, it worked nicely with the supporting ketchup and stayed crispy on the outside – it just felt like there was something missing. If I was to do it again, I’d probably marinade the tofu for a few hours beforehand, to help it absorb the flavours before cooking.
And last but not least…Once I was happy with the texture and consistency, well, the ketchup blew me away! Zingy thanks to the ginger, a delicious kick from the Sriracha (I may have added a little more than the recipe suggested ha) and chipotle, balanced out deliciously with the saltiness and rich flavours of the tamari. Easy and with quite a lot leftover, I stored the rest in the fridge in an airtight container and added it to salads and stir-fries. I’ll definitely be making this again – and maybe use it with chicken rather than tofu as a variation.