Tuesday, April 24, 2007

McKeith’s balls

The day had arrived. It had been an age since I first said “I must make those smoked tofu and kidney bean burgers!”. I checked off the ingredients – all present and correct.

Doing my best to follow a real recipe I reached for the “You are what you eat cookbook” and flicked to an earmarked page. Did I follow Dr McKeith’s recipe to the letter? This is a close representation but as always I made a few twists and turns to put my stamp on it. A food processor is an essential piece of kitchen gadgetry for this one, don’t even think about using a mortar and pestle!

Smoked tofu burgers

Heat the oven to 200c.

1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic
2/3 – 1 cup of your favourite nuts and/or seeds (I used almond and pistachio)
1 carrot, grated
1 can organic kidney beans, well rinsed
200 gm smoked tofu, roughly cubed
1 “small bunch” of parsley (I used half a large bunch), chopped
2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder (the wonderful imported Marigold, if you can’t get extremely good, not too salty vegetable stock powder, maybe use a dash of tamari instead)
2-3 tsp roasted sesame oil

Start at the top of the list by giving the onions a blast in the food processor, then add garlic and nuts. Throw in the carrot and give it 1-2 pulses, then the beans - enough to break them down a bit without turning them into mush. Now add the tofu, parsley and bouillon powder. Whiz it about til the ingredients have blended without being totally smooth. (McKeiths way is to throw all ingredients in at once and process for 7-8 minutes – that seemed excessive to me, especially as the tofu I was using already had a creamy consistency.)

Now taste the mixture. At this point I added a touch of sesame oii. Does it need anything else? The mixture should hold together well, so you can form balls easily.

Cover a tray with baking paper. Now form your burgers (or balls if you’d prefer little bite sized cocktail numbers). I made 11 medium sized burgers but its up to you what size and thickness you make. These took about 20 minutes at 200c to turn a nut brown colour, larger versions might take longer.

Once cooked the burgers were on the soft side but held together ok. They were neither crispy or chewy. If you want a more robust burger add cooked brown rice or substitute it for the kidney beans. I had flash backs to making tofu balls in my shared house days!

For nostalgia’s sake – heres a basic template for making tofu balls

Tofu balls

I always made these by hand, which is a very sensual process, but a short whiz in the food processor would speed it up if you prefer.

Equal quantaties plain tofu and cooked brown rice (brown has a nuttiness and a texture that white doesn’t have so don’t substitute). The vegetables as above (carrot, onion, parsley) are optional. A slurp of tamari (soy sauce) and a little sesame oil. Roll into balls, up to the size of a tennis ball (this will take longer to bake) and roll in sesame seeds. Bake in a moderate oven.

These go well with peanut sauce!

If you liked these recipes: try my nut roast.

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