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Vegan Tofu Tempura with Wasabi Aioli

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I always find it difficult to explain my diet to others. Technically, I’m vegetarian, as I do eat eggs, though I eat vegan about 75% of the time, and a lot of that is raw. No dairy (except for the occasional cheese), and I only consume cage-free eggs from pastured hens which means things like mayonnaise, many staple vegetarian foods like quiche or eggs florentine, fresh pastas, and delicious custardy desserts are a no-go, unless I make them at home. But, something I can never get used to is homemade mayonnaise. I don’t like it homemade. I just don’t. And, since I don’t know where the eggs come from in pre-prepared varieties, I’ve found myself avoiding it all together. So, I had been using Vegenaise for the last few years up until recently when I was sent a sample of Nasoya’s Nayonaise to try. I’ve been using their tofu and wonton wrappers for quite some time, so I figured I’d put Nasoya to the ultimate test and try Nayonaise in a dish I’ve been DYING to vegan-ize for a guilty little pleasure: Morimoto’s Rock Shrimp Tempura with Wasabi Aioli.  That’s where my vegan tofu tempura was born.

I swapped the rock shrimp for large dice-sized cubes of tofu, and whipped up a batch of vegan wasabi aioli using Nayonaise, wasabi (obvs), some dashi, and miso to add a little hit of umami. If you have a deep-fryer at home, go to it (I’m jealous); if not, use a wok or sauce pan to heat the canola oil and deep fry the tofu.

I have to say, I was rather pleased with how these turned out and even found myself literally being chased around the apartment (I’m not the best at sharing) by my hubby who HAD to have a bite. Success.

Further Food Nutritionist Commentary:

Through the use of smarter cooking techniques, this Tofu Tempura dish allows for a little indulgence with half the calories. Instead of deep frying, Megan chooses to pan fry the tofu in canola oil. Not only does canola oil contain two essential polyunsaturated acids in omega-3 and 6 but it helps fight cholesterol because of its low saturated fat content. Of course tofu is known as a vegetarian protein source but it also contains all essential amino acids, and is an excellent source of iron, calcium and magnesium. The fiery wasabi root has been shown to suppress many bacterium that are responsible causing gastric inflammation, stomach cancer and even food poisoning.

By Ale Zozos

Vegan Tofu Tempura with Wasabi Aioli

  • Prep Time:45 minutes
  • Cook Time:5 minutes
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 (14 ounce) block Nasoya Organic tofu
1 quart canola oil for frying
2/3 cup Nayonaise Original
1/4 cup dashi
1/2 teaspoon miso
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
Dash of fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1 cup chilled seltzer water
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

Instructions

1. Wrap the tofu in paper towel and set between to small cutting boards, plates, or baking sheets. Rest a heavy cast iron pan or a few cans of tomatoes on top and press out excess liquid for at least 30 minutes.
2. Cut the tofu into large dice (3/4″x3/4″x3/4″) and set aside. Begin to heat the canola oil to about 385 degrees. A thermometer is helpful, but if you don’t have one, eyeball it with a few testers before dropping in the entire lot.
3. In a blender, combine the Nayonaise, dashi, miso, wasabi paste and powder, a pinch of sea salt, lime juice, and cilantro. Blend until well combined. Set aside.
4. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour and the seltzer. Place the remaining flour into another small bowl for dredging.
5. Dust the tofu cubes in the flour and toss them in the tempura batter. Immediately drop into the hot oil and fry about 1 minute or until golden. Remove from oil and drain on a plate covered in paper towel.
6. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and place the tempura into a mixing bowl. Ladle the aioli into the bowl, just enough to coat the tempura, and toss. Scoop onto a plate and garnish with the sliced chives. Serve immediately.

1. Wrap the tofu in paper towel and set between to small cutting boards, plates, or baking sheets. Rest a heavy cast iron pan or a few cans of tomatoes on top and press out excess liquid for at least 30 minutes. 2. Cut the tofu into large dice (3/4″x3/4″x3/4″) and set aside. Begin to heat the canola oil to about 385 degrees. A thermometer is helpful, but if you don’t have one, eyeball it with a few testers before dropping in the entire lot. 3. In a blender, combine the Nayonaise, dashi, miso, wasabi paste and powder, a pinch of sea salt, lime juice, and cilantro. Blend until well combined. Set aside. 4. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour and the seltzer. Place the remaining flour into another small bowl for dredging. 5. Dust the tofu cubes in the flour and toss them in the tempura batter. Immediately drop into the hot oil and fry about 1 minute or until golden. Remove from oil and drain on a plate covered in paper towel. 6. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and place the tempura into a mixing bowl. Ladle the aioli into the bowl, just enough to coat the tempura, and toss. Scoop onto a plate and garnish with the sliced chives. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

Per Serving:  Calories: 370; Total Fat: 19 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 10 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 2072 mg; Potassium: 399 mg; Carbohydrate: 35 g;  Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 2 g; Protein: 16 g
Nutrition Bonus:
Vit A: 85%; Vitamin C: 74%; Iron: 24%; Calcium: 15%;
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