Chilli and peanut is my jam. I love to put it on some noodles, all creamy like. I really and truly love Ruby Tandoh’s ‘Ghanian Groundnut and Chicken Stew’ from Flavour, however it’s VERY spicy and my child will not eat it. And then there’s gado-gado… Peanut and chilli simply is. the most. delicious. combination.
However, as with the groundnut stew, the spice level in such dishes can be a tricky thing to work around when everyone in your household has a different palate. Some small people will literally run away from the table screaming when there’s heat on their plate; not even exaggerating, we’ve seen it happen.
The following recipe arose from the following considerations:
- A friend once asked me, How do you make tofu so it tastes good? I love tofu, but I take the point. It is very bland and wobbly.
- To answer her, I recalled this recipe for a peanut butter tofu bowl by Becky Striepe, that I found over at Vegan Richa.
- Many months later my husband requested something like the peanut butter tofu they sell at the vegan stall on Thursdays near his work.
- I have never eaten that peanut butter tofu, but I wondered if I could create something that I could literally just slap together in a baking dish.
- I had a jar of chilli jam to use up.
Yes, that’s right. The J in this PB&J tofu is for chilli jam, also known in the States as hot pepper jelly. It works pretty well in this context because it’s tangy and a just little spicy. The peanut butter mellows it out such that no one is going to be begging for milk. The problem is, chilli jam is not the cheapest condiment, and they don’t have it in all shops. If you can find, I would say definitely splurge and go for it because it’s one of those things that just makes almost anything taste better.
However, if don’t want to shell out for it (or if you can’t find it anywhere), try using sweet chilli sauce instead. Or just some regular old chilli sauce and a tablespoon of sugar. Or fresh chillis and some brown sugar. Or chilli paste and apricot jam. The key thing is just to get a balance of sweet and spicy and salty nuttiness.
Between the peanut butter and the tofu, this recipe is also FULL of vegan protein. I personally like tofu as an alternative protein because there’s something really comforting about it. It is the perfect vehicle for strong flavours. As such, it’s a culinary shapeshifter. It can become anything. Plus, it’s hearty and vegan and a lot lower in salt and additives than many of the meat alternatives you find at the shops.
PB & J Tofu
Time: 35 minutes
This is amazing cold the next day for lunch, so it might be worthwhile to double it. Or triple it. Why not?
A block of tofu, cubed
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chili jam or other sweet-spicy condiment
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped finely, or about 2 tsp from a jar
A knob of ginger about the size of your thumb, finely grated, or 1 tbsp from a jar/tube
2 tbsp oil of your choice
Mix all the sauce-y things together in a baking dish. Throw in your cubes of tofu and gently toss until the tofu is coated. Bake at 200c for 30 minutes, until crusty at the top and slightly puffed. Serve with rice or noodles or potatoes and plenty of veg.
Prepare in the morning before work, so the tofu can marinate all day
Substitute the butter of another nut (or seed).
Can you put coconut in this? Yes, you can!
Need more heat? Hot sauce. My husband pours huge amounts of Encona onto everything.