Shanghai-based foodie and restaurateur Lindsey Fine (aka Veggie Mama) has been creating all sorts of delicious vegan recipes since moving to China eight years ago. You can read all about the perks of eating a plant-based diet via her blog Veggie Mama and sample recipes on this series, Cooking with Veggie Mama. In this edition, Lindsey shares her recipe for Vegan Double Decker Tofu Tacos.
I love Mexican food. I love the fresh ingredients, unique flavors and the sense of community that comes with cooking and eating the cuisine. When I came to China, I was surprised to see so many dishes and ingredients that reminded me of Mexican food: scrambled eggs and tomato, cilantro on everything, fried wonton strips that remind me of tortilla chips, and all sorts of flat pancakes that resemble tortillas.
So, here is my plant-based take on the amazing love affair between Chinese and Mexican food.
Vegan Double Decker Tofu Tacos
6 soft flour tortillas
6 yellow corn tortillas or 6 premade hard taco shells
Oil for frying if not using premade shells
1 can vegan-friendly refried beans or 1.5 cups mashed kidney beans with a bit of water added to make a paste (warmed right before assembly)
3/4 cup pumpkin coconut cheeze sauce (warmed right before taco assembly)
400g super firm tofu, cut into medium cubes (if using packaged, remove as much excess liquid as possible)
1-2 teaspoons chili powder (less if feeding to heat sensitive kids or adults, more for those who like it hot)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 dashes liquid smoke (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Salsa or pico de gallo made with diced tomatoes, diced onions, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper
Jalapeño cream sauce (recipe below)
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
1. Heat wok or frying pan over medium-high heat and add a bit of cooking oil. Add tofu chunks and cook on all sides, stirring and turning gently until all sides are golden brown.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add in tomato paste, spices and liquid smoke (if using) and mix thoroughly. If too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water to combine easily. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, ensuring tofu pieces are completely coated with the spice and tomato paste mixture. Reduce heat if necessary so as not to burn. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
3. Clean out wok or frying pan and add about 2 inches of oil for frying (Pro Tip: Using a wok requires less oil). Heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is ready, carefully place half of a yellow corn tortilla into the oil and hold the other side out of the oil until the frying side is crispy. I used wooden chopsticks but you can also use tongs. Carefully flip the corn tortilla and place the other half in the oil. Make sure not to let the edges get too close together or they will harden and you won’t be able to stuff them with all the goods later. If you have access to hard taco shells, you can skip this step and use those instead. (Now that I have learned how to do it, I prefer homemade!)
4. Plate soft flour tortillas and cover with a moist towel. Microwave for 30-40 seconds to steam and soften.
5. Using a large cutting board or clean work surface, put down one flour tortilla and evenly spread about 2 tablespoons of refried or kidney beans on it, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin coconut cheeze on top. Add a hard corn tortilla and fill with about 3 tablespoons spiced tofu chunks and add other toppings as desired. Repeat with remaining tacos.
6. Once tacos are complete and plated, drizzle with jalapeño cream sauce and top with chopped cilantro. If you’re looking for some extra tang, squeeze with fresh lime.
Jalapeño Cream Sauce
200 grams silken tofu
1 heaping tablespoon sliced pickled jalapeño
2 teaspoons lime juice (sub with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Add all ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth.
2. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Read more Cooking with Veggie Mama
[Images courtesy of Veggie Mama/Lindsey Fine]