I rarely ever use minced meat anymore. I find its presence kind of redundant at this point. Pastas with just veg (or veg and cheese) sauces do me just fine for example. On rare occasion I’ll use it to make burgers, lasagna or moussaka. And when I do get mine I get some from a sustainable local butcher so I’m sure(r) it’s not a load of crap.
Still, I sometimes miss the texture of minced meat. But then I learned to hot make my own vegan mince with my trusty pall tofu.
Making your own vegan minced tofu is super easy and a lot cheaper than store-bought options, especially if you buy your tofu from an Asian supermarket instead of a creepy chain store. In this post I’ll take you through the steps of making your own vegan minced tofu (I hate SEO).
Usually half a kilo of firm tofu yields four meals for me. I’ll use half of it for recipes with this minced tofu and the other half for recipes with oven-baked tofu puffs.
This is one of those annoying instances where I post the recipes twice, also for horrible horrible SEO reasons, so you can either follow the pictures or scroll down for the wordier printable version of the recipe.
Step 1: Press your tofu
Place the amount of tofu you want to use on an oven sheet and a few sheets of kitchen towel.
Place some more kitchen towels on top and then press the tofu for half an hour with a heavy object. I like to use my Dutch oven for this but when I didn’t have one I’d use whatever heavy object was nearby. You don’t have to physically press it, you just have to place the heavy object on top and leave it.
Step 2: Crumble your tofu
Next, crumble the pressed tofu into a bowl.
The pieces should end up uneven in shape and size, as if you’ve fried off some actual minced meat in a frying pan. Or until it, as my friend Tessa commented, looks like popcorn. Or maybe like the UK falling to pieces off the coast of Europe. Either way, as picture above.
Step 3: Coat and salt the minced tofu
Coat your tofu lightly in corn flour, I use about half a tablespoon per portion.
Salt your minced tofu heavily. Heavily in this case meaning: if you think it’s enough, add a tad more. Both the corn flour and salt will help the tofu crisp up in the next step.
If you don’t have corn flour at hand, rice flour or other (fine) starches should work too.
Step 4: Fry your minced tofu
In the final step you’re going to shallow fry the tofu. You could probably also do this in an oven with a thin coating of oil on the tofu, but I’ve never tried. If you do, let me know how you get on. I suggest 185 C on some parchment with frequent turning via vigorously shaking until you’re reached the desired level of crisp.
Back to frying: heat a thin layer of sunflower oil in a (non-stick) frying pan.
Fry the minced tofu until golden and partially crisp. If you’re making a large portion and have a small frying pan, it’s best to do this in batches. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan. The tofu should be in a single layer with ample ‘breathing’ room to crisp up and blow off steam. If it’s too crowded the steam will blow into the faces of the other pieces of tofu and they won’t crisp up.
Leave to drain on another bunch of kitchen towels.
Great, I have minced tofu. Now what?
I use these for a great many of things, basically just douse them in your favorite sauce and stick them on your favorite carb and you’re good to go. If that’s complicated, here are some recipes for using home-made minced tofu:
- Vegan sweet potato and harissa tofu tacos
- Vegan tofu larb gai lettuce wraps
- Korean-inspired vegan crispy tofu tacos
- Baked sweet potato with broccoli and miso-glazed tofu
- Coat them in some hot-tingle mapo hot sauce and have them with rice (and some nice green veg)
- Use them for vegan tika massala if you’re not into cauliflower (or have vegan tika massala with cauliflower and tofu)
- Use them for vegetarian Buffalo tacos if you’re still not into cauliflower (as above so below)
- Use them with this harissa sauce and stick them on a baked sweet potato with some greens
The possibilities are endless. What are you waiting for?
Vegan Minced Tofu - How To
- A heavy object, like a Dutch oven
- Kitchen towels
- 250 gr firm tofu per portion
- 1/2 tb corn flour or other fine starch, per portion
- sunflower oil for shallow frying, do not use olive oil as this will burn and isn't as neutral in flavor
- Press the tofu by placing it on an oven sheet with some kitchen towels. Placing more kitchen towels on top and then finally placing a heavy object on top of that for 30 minutes or so.
- Crumble the tofu into a bowl. The pieces should remain uneven in size and shape, as if you've fried off some actual minced meat in a frying pan.
- Thinly coat the crumbled tofu with corn flour or any starch at hand.
- Salt the crumbled tofu heavily.
- Fry the crumbled tofu in a thin layer of sunflower oil in a (non-stick) frying pan. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and ensure crisp. Fry the tofu until golden and partially crispy.
- Drain on a kitchen towel and mix with whatever sauce you had in mind.