Festive Tofu Skewers
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
In my family, Christmas tradition held that a Festive gammon took centre stage on the lunch table. Bedecked in pineapple rings, cherries, treacly brown sugar and the occasional clove - it was something my Mom would labour over year-after-year. My Mom has since passed, but my sister remains a stalwart in protecting that tradition. Me however…not so much, for obvious plant-based reasons.
My sister and I are both foodies though, and chatting excitedly around 'the menu' last week we agreed on what we'd put together for Christmas Day lunch. In the spirit of sticking with tradition - I figured with tofu's versatility I could very well pull off some pretty tasty tofu skewers using the ingredients mentioned above - and so I present to you Christmas Tofu Skewers!
Smokey goodness provided by smoked paprika and liquid smoke, charred pineapple, sticky cherries and treacly brown sugar make these tofu skewers off the charts yum, and will be sure to have even the hardened Christmas traditionalists saying "Can I try one?"
Aaaand...because I could - we tried them with glacé cherries and tinned pineapple, as well as fresh black cherries and fresh pineapple! Mark's deduction was that the combo of glacé cherries and fresh pineapple was a winner - I think the fresh pineapple won hands down and works well with both fresh or glacé cherries :)
Ingredients - makes 10 large skewers
For the skewers:
3 x 350g blocks firm tofu
2 x fresh pineapple OR 2 x tins pineapple rings
1 x large punnet fresh or frozen cherries or 1 x large tub of glacé cherries
2 x onions
2 TBSP Garlic Powder
2 TBSP Onion Powder
1,5 TBSP Smoked Paprika
2 TBSP Corn Flour
2 TSP Salt
2 TBSP Oil
10 - 12 large bamboo skewers (thicker are better than thinner)
For the glaze:
6 TBSP Treacle Sugar
3 TBSP Grainy Mustard
3 Cloves Garlic (finely minced)
4 TBSP Soy Sauce (can add more if need be)
4 - 6 Drops Liquid Smoke (if you don't have this, don't stress, add another TBSP smoked paprika in here)
Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes between two chopping boards, weighted. The longer you press, the less moisture will come out during cooking (speeds up cooking).
While it's pressing, peel and cube the pineapple and the onions. If using tinned pineapple, simply chop into large-ish pieces.
Cube the tofu and place in a large bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients (corn flour, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and salt) in a mug or bowl, and then using a mesh sieve, carefully sprinkle half the mixture over the tofu blocks. Pick up the bowl of tofu and jiggle it around to spread the mix and turn the blocks. Add the remaining dry mix in the same fashion, and jiggle again.
In an oven set to 180 Celsius, preheat a lined baking tray with 2 TBSP oil of choice. When the oil is hot, add the tofu cubes and gently turn them to cover with the oil. Place back in the oven.
You may well find the tofu releases water and the liquid the cubes are cooking in becomes a hot & bubbly mixture of oil and water. Remove from the oven and drain off the watery mix, and place back in the oven. Repeat if necessary, and turn the cubes on occasion.
After +- 30 mins the tofu should be a red-golden colour - remove from oven and drain off any excess moisture. Let it stand for 10 mins and it will firm up even further.
Now, add all your ingredients one by one onto your skewers! There is no particular order, but it looks pretty to have the cherries on the ends.
Lay some of the thyme pieces on the baking tray, and then place your skewers on top of the thyme, and make sure there is still some oil residue (if not, add a smidge more).
Mix the glaze ingredients together, it should be a thick treacly consistency. Depending on your taste profile, add more mustard for a proper zing or more soy sauce for salt.
Using a tea spoon, drizzle half the glaze over the skewers, and then place them in the oven for +-20 mins. Remove and turn the skewers, drizzle more glaze on and place back in for another 20 mins. You can repeat this process as many times as you'd like until they are as sticky and gooey as you like!
Sprinkle with some fresh chopped thyme right at the end, place the skewers on a platter and prepare for upcoming food coma.