Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hana's tofu balls

Breakfast: Home-made granola with blueberries

Lunch: Couscous salad with yogurt and mint dressing

Dinner: Hana’s tofu balls with spicy wedges

We all need comfort foods sometimes, and as Putin was killing himself with exams this week, I figured now was the time to crack out these bad boys. And potatoes; the Ukrainians love those potatoes.

For this recipe I have to thank my lovely Czech friend Hana. I worked on Hana’s sustainable farm for a week in the mountains of Perak in Malaysia and day in, day out, amid the breathtaking scenery and the crazy antics, she fed me a variety of fantastic foods, accommodating my vegetarianism and getting me addicted to a chocolate cake that will appear on here one day soon. I also got obsessed with these, and willingly imported the recipe back home. Hooray for Hana!

You’ll need:
            300g firm tofu, grated 
            4 cloves garlic, grated / crushed
            1 carrot or a handful of cabbage, both grated
            2 eggs
            about 3 slices of bread turned into breadcrumbs
            soy sauce
            juice of 1/2 a lime
            oil of your choice

            Mix all the grated ingredients together in a bowl
            Beat the eggs and pour just over half into the grated mix
            Add a splash of soy sauce and the lime juice
            Put the egg in a small bowl and the breadcrumbs on a plate
Grab enough mixture to form a small ball and squeeze it tightly in your hand. Liquid should come out and the mixture should stay together. If not, it is either too dry or too wet; add more egg or some breadcrumbs accordingly.
If it seems a good consistency, roll the mixture into a small ball
Roll the ball in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Ensure it is covered
Set aside on a plate
Continue forming the balls and covering them until all the mixture is used up
If possible, put the formed balls into the fridge for an hour or more. This will encourage them to stay together when cooked.
When ready, heat a few centimeters of oil in a pan
When the oil is hot (but not too hot – be careful as spitting oil stings like a bitch!) place a few balls into it – as many as you can without them touching
Keep turning them until all sides are golden brown and crispy
To minimize the residual oil, hang in a strainer for a minute or place between 2 sheets of kitchen paper
Serve up with your chosen side and some dips; home-made hummus and sweet chili sauce are great!

Yes, these are deep fried, but these are the only things that I do deep fry; as I said before, everything in moderation. I’d be much more worried about my cake intake than the odd deep-fried tofu ball, to be honest.

If it bothers you though, you can shallow fry them, but it takes longer to get them cooked through and they tend to fall apart a bit more.

This goes fantastically with a fresh salad or some roasted vegetables, or a fantastic spinach dish.


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  2. These are an absolute shit to make! I think I put slightly more than half the egg in and they wouldn't stick together, ended up using half a loaf of bread (Not sure how big the bread is that you're cutting, but I'm impressed with using just 3 slices).
    After an hour of faffing and an extra egg I now have some balls in my fridge.
    I'll let you know how I get on tomorrow. I have learnt a lot about moisture levels with certain foods and also how to make breadcrumbs so all is not lost!

  3. Tom it sounds like you've used WAY too much bread! The moisture of the egg (with the splashes of soy and lime juice) is meant to be the binding agent and if you go mental on the breadcrumbs they will be too crumbly to stick together. The 2 eggs are usually enough to make them stick together and to roll in at the end. 1/2 an egg definitely wouldn't be enough!

    Just a note: even if you get it right these aren't going to be so tough you can throw them at a wall or anything. Keep trying! :)