Korean Chili Tofu Fingers
In 2009 I spent 6 months teaching English in South Korea. Within about 35 minutes of arriving in SK - you will inevitably be introduced to the staple food of kimchi. Kimchi is essentially cabbage that is fermented in a thick, delicious chili paste. Since leaving SK, 11 years ago, I had yet to come across kimchi that tasted anything like the authentic stuff I had during my stay there - until I stumbled onto Ché Gourmet kimchi and fermentables.
Ché is one of the hardest working entrepreneurs I have been lucky enough to e-meet - and she makes the best frikkin' kimchi outside of SK. Not a surprise to find out she also lived there some years ago then, but she spent a full three years learning the tricks of South Korean cooking and cuisine. There is a lot to be said about the health benefits of kimchi - but I'll leave that up to you to read if you like here. On the Ché Gourmet Instagram account there is always useful information being posted about fermented foods - it's 100% worth a follow.
Sometimes, you really just want to eat kimchi straight out of the jar but in an effort to be remotely adult, you need a simple dish that is quick to make, nutritious and will also let the kimchi shine like it's supposed to. This is my take on a handful of fresh salad, topped with a wedge of spicy, crispy protein and topped with a glorious dollop of South Africa's finest kimchi.
1 x 200g block of firm tofu, drained
1 x handful baby tomatoes, halved
1/2 a pineapple, diced
1 butter lettuce
Jar of Ché Gourmet Kimchi (you can use others, but I wouldn't recommend it - it will categorically not be the same)
Spicy Coating: 3 tsp Korean Chili (gochugaru), 1 tsp salt, 80mls chickpea flour (can use corn flour instead), 3 TBSP nutritional yeast, 1 tsp garlic powder. You can make this as spicy as suits your taste buds!
NOTE: You can sub gochugaru with paprika or regular chili powder - no sweat
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
Slice the tofu block into 'steaks' about 1 - 1,5cm thick
Using a teaspoon thickly sprinkle the spicy coating all over the tofu steaks. Use the back of the spoon to press it down firmly.
Heat a decent amount of oil of your choice in a frying pan (non-stick is best) - medium heat.
Lay the tofu steaks down into the heated oil, coated side down.
With the uncoated side up, now use the teaspoon to sprinkle on more spicy coating and press it down with the back of the teaspoon.
Cook for a few minutes until brown, then flip. Turn off the heat when both sides are nicely brown and crisped.
For the Lettuce Wrappers:
Rinse and lightly pat off several large butter lettuce leaves with a tea towel (+- 10)
Smear a layer of vegan mayo on the base, and then sprinkle with pineapple and tomato
When your tofu steaks have cooled, cut them into fingers and lay one finger in each lettuce cup.
Top with +-1 to 2 teaspoons of kimchi (depending on your taste buds!)
They are now ready to smash!