I'm always on the lookout for vegan/vegetarian protein recipes that are bento friendly, and this flat oven baked loaf is another one. It's called triple-soy because it has tofu, edamame and miso in it. It has a very dense, rich texture with a sweet-salty glaze. One or two small squares are quite enough for a bento. It may fall apart a bit during transport, but that doesn't affect the texture or flavor. If you can, put it in its own compartment in your bento.
This is adapted quite a lot from a recipe in one of Yumiko Kano's vegan cookbooks. Her recipe used a lot of very Japanese ingredients that may be difficult to get a hold of outside of Japan. So I've experimented and used a lot of more universally available substitions. The only ingredient that you may not have on hand is kuzu or kudzu powder (more about kuzu here), but it's such a great thickening ingredient that it's worth having on hand. Kuzu is superior to cornstarch, flour and so on since sauces thickened with it stay clear and thick even after cooling. But if you can't get kuzu, just use cornstarch or potato starch instead.
Recipe: Glazed Triple-Soy Loaf
(Added April 18, 2013: I have revised this recipe to make it even simpler than it was previously. It's gluten free as long as you you use gluten free versions of miso and soy sauce. A food processor of mixer is suggested for making this dish.
Prep time: 20 min :: Cook time: 25 min :: Total time: 45 min
Yield: 1 loaf
Serving size: 1 square (about 1/9th of a loaf)
- For the loaf:
1 block (about 300g / 10.5oz) firm tofu - extra-firm tofu is ok too
1 cup shelled edamame, frozen is fine; or use frozen green peas
1 tablespoon white miso, or whatever miso you have on hand; use a gluten-free miso if you are gluten sensitive.
a pinch salt - to taste
1/2 cup (120ml) instant mashed potato flakes, the plain type with no added flavorings, milk or butter, OR
1 medium potato, boiled, well dried and mashed
1 tablespoon tahini, peanut butter can be substituted
2 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch, use a gluten-free brand if you are gluten sensitive
- For the glaze:
1 tablespoon kuzu powder, use cornstarch if you can't find kuzu
1 tablespoon soy sauce, use a gluten-free soy sauce if you are gluten sensitive
1 tablespoon mirin, use 1 tablespoon maple syrup if you don't have mirin
sesame seeds or poppy seeds as a topping
- Press the water out of the tofu by wrapping it in paper towels and placing it under a weight like a plate or a cutting board and leaving for about 15 minutes. Draining off the tofu well is very important - it should weigh half of its starting weight after you're done pressing it.
- Preheat the oven to 200° C / 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking pad like Silpat.
- To shell frozen edamame, pour some boiling water over then and drain; pop out the beans inside. You will probably need about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of whole edamame for 1 cup of shelled. Alternatively use frozen and defrosted pre-shelled edamame green peas.
- Drain and dry off the tofu with paper towels. Put all the loaf ingredients except the edamame and oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. (Note: you put in either the instant mashed potato flakes or the mashed potato, not both!)
- Add the edamame and pulse until the edamame is chopped up but not totally mashed. If it seems too runny or moist, add 1 more tablespoon of potato starch or cornstarch.
- (If mixing by hand, finely mash the tofu or pass it through a sieve, and combine well with the other ingredients. Roughly mash the edamame and add to the mix.)
- Form the mix into a flat loaf (about 25cm / 8 inches or so square) on the lined baking sheet. Smooth the surface with a spatula or your hands and a little oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until very lightly browned on top and a bit firm.
- While it bakes, make the glaze. Mix all the glaze ingredients together in a small pan until the kuzu is dissolved. Heat the pan over low-medium heat, mixing all the time, until the mixture becomes smooth and clear and thick.
- Spread the glaze over the warm loaf, and scatter with sesame seeds or kalongi (nigella) seeds or poppy seeds (optional). Let cool completely, and cut into 9 squares (or smaller if you prefer).
- Spread the glaze over the warm loaf, and scatter with sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional). Let cool completely, and cut into 9 squares, or whatever size you prefer.
- This freezes well. To defrost, put into a very lightly oiled frying pan over medium-low heat, cover the pan and let steam-cook. You can also bring it frozen - it will defrost nicely by lunchtime.
- To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and 2 Tbs. desiccated potato instead of the flour.
- To make this spicy, use gochujang (kochujang) instead of miso.
- If you don't have edamame, or don't want to bother with shelling them, use frozen green peas.
- Instead of baking as a loaf, make small patties with oiled hands and fry them in a frying pan.
- The loaf is very interesting as a sandwich filling, or spread on crackers.
(below is for search engine purposes only)
By Makiko Itoh
Published: July 21, 2008
Type: japanese, vegan, gluten-free