Once upon a time I went on a vegan diet. It was a sorry state of affairs, as I had no good substitute for scrambled eggs, even if just for the colour. I’d tried making the dish with firm tofu but without much success; it always came out too dry. However, I’d never thought to try making it with silken tofu.
I’d become familiar with silken tofu while staying in Japan at Kirigayaji in 2000. When we returned to Holland, I looked high and low for it but it was hard to find. But then, not so long ago and much to my delight, there it was! Quietly tucked away between the aisles of soy and long-life milk in one of the big supermarkets.
It turns out to be a wonderful substitute for scrambled eggs. With its mild, neutral flavour and soft creamy texture, it even looks like them. And if you ever happen to run out of eggs, or don’t have enough of them, sneak in some crumbled silken tofu and it will be hardly noticeable. 🙂
¼ red onion (4 tablespoons)
¼ red bell pepper (4 tablespoons)
250 g (8 ounces/ 1¼ cups) silken/soft tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon corn starch
Dash smoked paprika powder
1–2 sprigs of parsley
1 stem spring onions (scallions)
Sea salt, or black salt
- Peel and small-dice the red onion.
- Deseed and small-dice the red bell pepper.
- Roughly chop the parsley and mince the spring onions.
- Remove the silken tofu from its packaging and drain the excess water.
- In a non-stick frying pan on medium flame, heat up one tablespoon of olive oil and fry the red onion and bell pepper until caramelized and aromatic. Season with smoked paprika and a little sea or black salt. While they fry, prepare the silken tofu.
- Put the silken tofu in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork until it crumbles, being careful not to crumble it too much. Sprinkle with the turmeric and cornstarch and mix in gently.
- Put the crumbled tofu into the frying pan with the onions and bell peppers and fry until the tofu is hot and sizzling. Move the tofu around carefully, flipping it over now and then. When thoroughly heated, it will begin to deepen in colour and start to “set”, about three–four minutes. Remove from the flame. Season to taste.
- Serve garnished with parsley and spring onions.
Tip: Black salt (kala namak) is known both for its ayurvedic cooling properties and for adding a slight eggy flavour to vegan dishes. Try using it instead of sea salt!