Tag Archives: vegetarian food

Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Nuoc Cham

18 Jun

Negligence is becoming my middle name.

I am honestly starting to believe that my list of things to do would make anyone stop in their tracks and blink, dazedly. Even the person who is convinced they are the worst procrastinator in the world! I’m worse than that!!! I’m sure if I wrote it all out, it would cover miles of land… I’m picturing one of those enormous scrolls in cartoons that start out looking normal and average-sized, but with a shake of the wrist that unravels the lot… it is clearly formidable to the point of unrealistic goal-setting.

My excuses to avoid getting on with important things recently:

  • My birthday! 😀


  • The love’s birthday, and his mom’s


  • Dog-sitting


Me and this bundle of beautiful have totally bonded. I want one of her.


He, on the other hand, is like a little old man. Adorable though.


And hilarious.

  • The BBC Good Food Show/Gardener’s World!









(Haha :D)

  • Symphony Hall


  • Misc.

Especially the last one. Gosh how that takes up my time!

Included in the ‘misc’ category is Pinterest. Damn you Pinterest I never thought I’d get drawn in! I am weak when it comes to websites laden with beautiful images and ideas… Pinterest is where I found this incredible recipe 🙂


Which is actually one of those things I would happily have gotten round to earlier, only I couldn’t find black sesame seeds in any of my local shops 😦 and they make the finished dish look so pretty! Don’t you think? Luckily The Good Food Show was just around the corner and of course it didn’t let me down 😀 Thanks BBC Good Food! (Hire me!) ((Jokes, so not qualified)). You could of course buy some online.

Still, I made it a couple of days ago and I guess it taught me a lesson about striking while the iron is hot when another blogger I follow wrote about the same recipe this morning!!! Now that’s a bit frustrating when I had it all planned.

Oh, what’s that? Your now desperate to follow me on both Tumblr AND Pinterest!? Awesome! Don’t be shy, there’s links to both on the right hand side of my WordPress 😛 just in case you can’t find them I’ve totally helped you out by adding the links above too 😀

Anyhow, here’s my version:

Serves 2.

  • 1 package of firm tofu
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs (panko would be best)
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • oil for frying

For the Nuoc Cham:

  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2-3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 fiery chillies (Thai if you can find them), de-seeded (if preferred) and thinly sliced

To Serve:

  • Chopped mixed vegetables (I used spring onions, carrot, sweet red pepper and mushrooms)
  • Noodles or rice
  1. First you need to drain your tofu in whichever way you like to do so. I place mine between 2 chopping boards in the sink and balance something heavy on the top. I would recommend you do this at least an hour before you plan to start cooking.
  2. At least half an hour before planning to eat, make the nuoc cham so the flavours have enough time to become well acquainted. Simply whisk all of the ingredients together and taste. It should be salty (but not too salty), full of interesting flavours, and with subtly ensuing heat from the chillies. The finer you chop the garlic and the chillies, the stronger tasting these aspects of the finished sauce will be.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tsp water. In a larger bowl, mix the sesame seeds and bread crumbs with the salt.
  4. Slice the (now much firmer) tofu. I like mine to be in chunky cubes – you decide how you like yours and adjust cooking times accordingly. One at a time, dip each piece of tofu into the egg. Scrape off any excess, then roll it around in the bread crumb mixture. Put to one side while you finish the others.
  5. Heat some oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and fry the tofu pieces for about 2 minutes on each side (if following my lead with chunky cubes). Serve with the nuoc cham, veggies and carbs of your choosing 🙂

The nuoc cham is, I think, meant to be used as a dipping sauce, but – tell me if it’s just me – I don’t have the patience for this at dinner time. At dinner time, I’m hungry and I want a bowl full of food. So I used it as a pouring sauce 🙂 make sure you distribute it evenly though if you do it this way, to avoid pungency overload on top and blandness on the bottom.


Unless there is tofu on the bottom – this stuff is not bland in the slightest! I just mean bland in comparison to the mouth-puckeringness of the sauce 🙂 The tofu is amazingly crisp, then meltingly moreish. It is perfect and I will make it again many, many times.

And I’m just realising that I should have put a disclaimer at the start of this post: Loads of pictures! Looooong post!

Thanks for reading 😀



Moroccan Vegetable Crumble

2 Dec

Well, this started out life as a crumble but I’m not sure it should still claim the same title.

The love asked for one so I rummaged through the internet the BBC Good Food website and found a very satisfying recipe.

However, looking through Tagines and Couscous by Ghillie Basan, I came across the idea for a Moroccan ratatouille which I thought I might use to make my own version of a savoury crumble. I did try it, but in all honesty it wasn’t good. The flavour combinations were all over the place, but I still felt that I had the seed of a good idea, so I tried again. I replaced the dried dates for fresh figs, omitted the sugar and improvised with my own ‘crumble’ topping, also inspired by Ghillie Basan. It is a very good book.

This is a really lovely, warming dinner which sings of goodness and tastes smoky, sweet, savoury and tangy. The ras-el-hanout is responsible for the smokiness, but it also acts to enhance the sweetness involved and to give the meal a well-rounded flavour.

Serves 2.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, halved and deseeded 
  • 1/2 green pepper, deseeded
  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes or 400g passata
  • 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 4 small or 2 large fresh figs
  • 150g couscous
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 knobs of butter, 1 broken into little pieces
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  1. Prepare all the vegetables by halving lengthways then slicing horizontally into 2cm slices. Top and tail the figs, then quarter them.
  2. Heat some sunflower or vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Fry gently for 8-10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the aubergine, pepper and courgettes and fry for 10 minutes more. Add the figs, tomatoes and ras-el-hanout and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°c and make up the couscous by pouring it in a bowl and covering it with 200ml recently boiled water with a little added salt. Leave the couscous to absorb the water, then rub the olive oil into the couscous with your fingers to break up any lumps. Set aside.
  4. You can also prepare the almonds while the vegetables are cooking. Melt the unbroken knob of butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring until they start to turn golden. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. When the vegetables are tender but still retain a bit of bite, transfer the mixture to a casserole dish. Smooth down then spread the couscous over the top. Scatter the broken knob of butter over the couscous and bake for about 15 minutes, until the couscous is getting crispy. Scatter over the fresh parsley and toasted almonds, ready to serve.


Here, as you can see, the parsley and almonds were sadly forgotten. But trust me, your meal will only benefit from including these touches. And forgive the flour; I was too hungry to clear up before taking the photograph and hurrying to sit down and eat. As the saying goes: ‘a messy kitchen is a happy kitchen’ 🙂

Perhaps now I’ll work on a recipe for a more legitimate savoury crumble…