I really love tofu as it’s such a versatile ingredient. It easily absorbs flavor and can be tossed in a simple sauce for a quick delicious meal. It's also a great binding agent especially after you have removed the liquid. It will turn into a mashed paste which can then be mixed with other ingredients and shaped into patties or balls.
If you are looking for a simple and quick meal, then, give these vegan tofu balls a try. The recipe is easy to follow and made with simple pantry ingredients. Here, the balls are made from firm tofu with a great crunch from assorted vegetables and nuts. (That said, other great alternatives to tofu include mashed chickpeas or potatoes that will go well with chopped vegetables.) It has a nice glazed teriyaki sauce that's made from ginger, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar that is so delicious with a bowl of rice.
Some tips for this recipe:
When using firm tofu, it’s important to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. I love to do this using a nut milk bag. Simply break them into larger pieces so you can squeeze out the liquid with ease. To check if the tofu is dry enough, take a small portion and form it into a ball with your palm. If it stays in a ball shape without breaking apart, then, it’s ready.
Finely chop the pairing ingredients. The smaller the better so all the vegetables and tofu can bind properly.
If you'd like to make these ahead of time, you can store the tofu balls in a tight container after they are cooked. Store the sauce separately and reheat for a quick meal the next day. —WoonHeng Chia
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 3
- Tofu Balls
firm tofu, drained well
finely chopped kale stems
finely chopped carrot
chopped toasted unsalted cashews
freshly ground black pepper
Neutral oil, for cooking
broccoli florets, blanched
sesame seeds, for garnish
chopped scallions, for garnish
- Teriyaki Sauce
finely grated ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons
granulated sugar or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
cornstarch mixed with 2/3 cup water
- Prepare the tofu: Remove tofu from its package and place it in a nut milk bag. Squeeze the tofu to mash it into a paste and to remove the liquid. The less liquid the better so the tofu will bind properly with other ingredients. Transfer mashed tofu into a large bowl.
- To the bowl with the tofu, add in finely chopped kale stems, carrots, and cashews. Season with salt and pepper then gradually add in the cornstarch. Mix everything together until well-combined.
- Take a heaping tablespoon of tofu and place it on your palm. Roll it into a ball and set aside on a plate. Continue until you finish with the tofu mixture.
- In a large pan or wok set over medium-high heat, add in enough oil to come 2 inches up the sides of the pan.
- Fry the tofu balls in the hot oil until golden brown, working in batches. This will take about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil and set aside. Drain the pan of oil and wipe it clean.
- In the pan set over medium heat, add 1/2 tablespoon of oil. To the oil, add the ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and cornstarch slurry to the pan and stir; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute to let the sugar melt.
- Once the sugar has melted, add the reserved tofu balls to the pan. Quickly toss to coat the tofu balls with sauce and let the mixture simmer until it starts to thicken.
- Push the tofu balls to the side and add in the blanched broccoli.
- Toss to combine and garnish with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve warm.