I thought I was done with tofu.
I never liked it as an entrée, and I could always detect the flavor when it was used in creamy desserts or as an egg substitute. And don’t get me started about the cheap soy protein isolate that is thrown into some energy and protein bars. Soy just isn’t my thing.
Then, in the early days of my love affair with chickpea flour, I learned of Burmese tofu. It’s made from chickpea flour. It’s 100% soy-free. It’s fast and easy to make. It’s high in protein & fiber and low in calories.
And it’s incredibly delicious.
In short, Burmese tofu–also known as chickpea flour tofu, shan tofu, and tòhú–is the meatless, soy-free, main-dish protein we’ve all been waiting for.
Here’s the ingredient list to put this recipe in action:
(1) Chickpea flour
(4) Ground turmeric (traditional, but not required)
You will also need about 10 minutes of cooking time, followed by some unattended waiting time. Then invert the slab of tofu onto a cutting board, cut into cubes, slabs, triangles, or any shape you like. It’s a perfect protein snack as is (it keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks), or you can use it in any savory recipe that calls for firm or extra-firm tofu. Fried in a bit of oil, or oven-fried on a sheet pan (the first two pics are oven -fried with a spritz of oil–450F for about 12 minutes), it is positively swoon-worthy.
Don’t like the squishy, squelchy texture of soy tofu? Me neither, and chickpea tofu has none of it. Instead the texture is like velvet: gently firm, yet melt-in-your-mouth creamy. It holds together beautifully in stir-fries, and if you want it to be even firmer, wait an extra day or two; the tofu releases water a it sits, so it will become firmer the longer you wait.
As mentioned, the turmeric is optional, but the subtle, mysterious flavor it adds is addictive; it’s also what lends the tofu it’s distinctive golden hue (although, for me, it happily shouts “I am not soy tofu!”) You can add other spices and herbs to your heart’s content–think Thai curry paste, chopped fresh cilantro, grates fresh ginger…oh the possibility! Simply stir in the flavors of your choice before spreading the mixture into the pan.
Excited? You should be! Chickpea flour tofu is truly a game changer. Happy eats, everyone!
- 1 cup chickpea flour (120 grams)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 cups water, divided
- Grease or spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, salt, turmeric and 1-1/2 cups of the water until blended and smooth.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1-1/2 cups water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the chickpea mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, for 6 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and glossy. Immediately pour and scrape it into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Cool the tofu to room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours until very firm (or up to 5 days).
- Drain any water from the pan (water will release from the tofu as it sets); invert the tofu onto a cutting board. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes or any desired shape.
- Serve plain as a snack, fry or bake (spritz with oil) for a tasty appetizer, or use in any recipe calling for soy tofu (I love it in stir-fries, or for making "egg" salad sandwiches)