Weekend Bites: Hold the beef: tofu burgers a less guilty pleasure
Paper Edition | Page: 24
I tend to associate burgers with junk food; I feel my hips getting rounder at mere mention of the word. But if we make a burger ourselves from scratch and we buy quality meat from a trusted source, the so-called big, bad burger is not necessarily bad.
Red meat is hard to digest, especially if we add French fries to the combo. When I crave a burger, I’ll sometimes cheat myself by using tofu to substitute for beef. Try this vegetarian option, and see if you, and perhaps your children, also find it to your taste.
For 4 servings
4 burger buns
200 g firm tofu
Few bunches of garlic chives
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2-3 ripe tomatoes
100 g cabbage
100 g bean sprouts
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
Groundnut or canola oil
• Crumble the tofu roughly, season with salt and pepper and whizz in a food processor, along with the egg and the breadcrumbs until it becomes a malleable dough.
• Transfer the tofu into a bowl. Cut the garlic chives into thin rounds and combine. Divide into four and shape to form burger patties. Set aside while you prepare the rest.
• Slice carrot, cabbage and onion into julienne - thin strips - and finely chop garlic.
• Heat, on a low setting, about 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok and fry the garlic for about 30 seconds until it’s fragrant but not burnt.
• Turn the heat up to medium high and quickly add carrot. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until it’s slightly wilted. Add onion and cabbage and cook for 2 minutes before adding the bean sprouts, soy sauce, pepper, and a little pinch of salt.
• Continue stir-frying only for another minute so the vegetables maintain their crunch. Set aside in a warm place.
• Cut the burger buns in two using a serrated knife. Heat them on a non-stick pan, with the cut side downwards, until they’re slightly golden.
• Meanwhile, in another pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the tofu burger patties. Let each side cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they’re firm and golden, flipping them just once. Transfer onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
• Cut the cucumber and tomatoes into 0.5-centimeter rounds. Now you’re ready to assemble the burgers.
• First, place the vegetables along with half a tablespoon of the juice to moisten the bread a bit.
• Though it won’t change the flavor if you do it differently, ideally arrange the next layers in this order: cucumber, tofu burger and, finally, tomatoes. Their juice will moisten the top layer of the bread and help attach it better to the tofu and keep the burger “tower” together.
• Serve hot with some fries and tomato ketchup if you desire. A little bit of gluttony won’t hurt too much.
— All photos by Theodora Hurustiati