Summer has a way of creeping up on us before we can shed those extra pounds in this, the season of skimpier clothing. As such many people take up diets including our own reporter, Hotaru. At one point during her weight management, Hotaru had decided to go to a vegan restaurant thinking it wouldn’t be as high in calories as other establishments.

However, when her curry arrived she noticed that there were little bits of what looked like cheese on top. They tasted kind of like cheese too. Confused by this non-vegan and diet-bending food, Hotaru asked the staff what it was. “Tofu pickles” they replied.

Hotaru also learned from them how to make this delectable topping and found it was actually incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that she also developed her own “advanced tofu pickles” recipe. We’d now like to share these recipes with you so that you many enjoy some tofu pickles in your own home.

First, here’s how to make standard tofu pickles. Hotaru often compares them to cheese in their taste and texture, but they have about one-sixth the calories of the same amount of processed cheese. They’re really easy, but remember they are pickles and will take a fair bit of time to complete so plan accordingly.

Tofu Pickles

  • Tofu – 150g (5.3oz)
  • Vinegar – Appropriate amount
  • Olive Oil – About half the amount of the vinegar

And that’s it! Don’t worry, we’ll explain how much vinegar and olive oil are needed soon. Part of the beauty of these recipes is that you don’t need to measure anything. Also, feel free to use whatever kind of vinegar you want.

How to Make
1.  Place the tofu on a heat-resistant dish. Then set the microwave to “defrost” and heat the tofu for 2 minutes.
2.  Put a small dish on top of the tofu and then place a glass on top to the dish for two hours. This is to drain the excess water out.

3.  Place the tofu in a lidded container big enough so that it easily fits. Then pour in enough vinegar so that it covers up to two-thirds of the tofu.

4.  Then add olive oil until the tofu is completely submerged.

5.  Put the container in the fridge for 2 days. (Yeah, sorry, you’re not eating this tonight!)

After the two days, your tofu pickles will be ready to eat. Overall Hotaru found them really easy to make, but she was concerned about the calories because so much olive oil is used. So, she concocted her own diet-friendly version of tofu pickles. Because it uses more ingredients she dubbed it “advanced tofu pickles” but it’s actually also pretty easy to make.

Advanced Tofu Pickles

  • Tofu – 150g (5.3oz)
  • Vinegar – 160mL (5.4 fl oz)
  • Bay Laurel – 1 leaf
  • Honey – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic Powder – 1/2 tsp (or as much as you like)
  • Coriander Seeds – 2 pinches (or as much as you like)
  • Olive Oil – 1/2 tbsp

Unfortunately for vegans, the honey introduces some animal products to advanced tofu pickles. For those who are against all animal products there’s a possibility it would work with honey or some other other sweetener.

Making advanced tofu pickles starts off similarly to the regular tofu pickles.

How to Make
1. Microwave the tofu for two minutes on the defrost setting while placed in a heat-resistant dish.
2. Put a small dish and glass on top of the tofu for two hours to drain it.
3. Put everything except the tofu into a lidded container big enough for the tofu to easily fit inside.

4. Place the tofu inside the container. Then fill up the remaining space with water.

5. Place in the fridge overnight.

As you can see, advanced tofu pickles aren’t really all that advanced. The biggest challenge is tracking down all the seasonings. In fact, advanced tofu pickles are even faster to make.

The taste is milder than regular tofu pickles because less olive oil is used, but for some the advanced might be too sour. If that’s the case you can simply lower (or increase) the amount of vinegar used to suit your own taste.

As for serving, Hotaru recommends the same way you would with cheese. She put hers on some crackers along with a piece of tomato, but she also advises adding in some extra herbs to enhance the cheesy sensation of it. You could also use it to top off a curry like the vegan restaurant did, but really as long as you have a tofu pickle in your pocket, the possibilities are endless.

Original article by Hotaru Yamakawa
[ Read in Japanese ]