Sandwiches are often an afterthought in vegan cooking, but the versatility of them can actually be quite astounding. There are almost endless varieties of patties and mixtures that you can put between two slices of bread and have as an easy lunch or a light supper. Some you can prepare in advance, while others need to be made fresh. This mushroom and tofu baguette is more of the serve fresh variety, preferably straight out of the pan and onto the bread while still hot. Served with chilled gem lettuce, raw chillies and mayonnaise, it is the perfect juxtaposition of hot and cold, married with just a touch of heat.
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The trick here is to drain the tofu well. Try to get it so that it is as dry as possible using either a dedicated tofu press, or your usual pots and pans stacked on top. The advantage of a tofu press, if you don’t have one, is that it drains the water away from the tofu. You can also leave it in the fridge while it is pressing without filling the fridge with heavy objects. I bought mine at a vegan fair a few years back and haven’t used saucepans since. The dryer you get the tofu, the more crispy you’ll be able to get it during cooking, so I would leave it pressing for at least an hour.
The Chinese sauces used in this dish are readily available in most large supermarkets, including the Shaohsing cooking wine. I’ve listed maple syrup for sweetness, but you can use any syrup or sugar you have. This is a very quick and easy dish to put together and will make a nice change from your usual sandwich.
Mushroom and Tofu Baguettes
For the Filling:
- 3 tbsp oil
- 400 g firm tofu pressed for 1 hour and diced
- 250 g large flat mushrooms torn or cut into small pieces
- A handful of frozen edamame beans
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce use tamari for gluten-free
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce use gluten-free variety, if needed
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp Shaohsing cooking wine
- 3 individual crusty baguettes or gluten-free alternative
- A little vegan butter
- A few leaves of gem lettuce per baguette
- Half a red chilli sliced
- A couple of spoons of vegan mayo per baguette sriracha mayo works well
- Heat the oil, until quite hot, then fry the drained tofu for about 10 minutes, until it is quite crispy. Remember to turn the pieces frequently to crisp all sides. Once this had been achieved, add the mushrooms and cook, on a medium-high heat, for a further 5-6 minutes, until they are also browned.
- Throw in the edamame beans and the garlic and give it another 4 minutes or so, stirring often.
- Now it’s time to add the spices and sauces. Put in the five spice, the ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, maple syrup and cooking wine. Stir through and let it bubble for about 4-5 minutes, until you are left with a small amount of sticky liquid, then turn off the heat.
- To serve, cut each baguette in half and butter each half. Line the bottom of each loaf with the gem lettuce leaves, then spoon on your tofu mix. Top with the sliced chilli and the vegan mayo, then place on the top half of the bread. Cut in half and serve immediately.
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