Nachos El GrandeI hope everyone is enjoying my blog. This week, I want to share is one of my favourites, something I like even better than this delightful dish. It is Nachos El Grande.

Slice up one red and one yellow capsicum – put onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper, bake in moderate oven for about 20 minutes (or until soft).

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan. Dice an onion finely, and peel and roughly chop a clove of garlic and add both to the oil. Cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Add a drained can of cannellini beans and cook for further minute or so – pop mixture into a blender with 1/2 a cup of water and a packet of taco seasoning and blitz. Return to pan and add a can of five-bean mix and a tin of corn kernels – simmer for around five minutes.

De-seed an avocado and cut into cubes. Place into a bowl with two diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, thinly sliced mint and basil, the zest and juice from a lime and a dash of olive oil – add some salt and pepper, mix and set aside.

Heat corn chips on an ovenproof tray for a few minutes prior to serving. Layer the corn chips, bean mix, grilled peppers and avocado mixture. Top with your favourite tomato salsa, sliced black olives, green onions and sprinkle with fresh parsley to finish – Enjoy!

Agedashi TofuOne of my favourite Japanese dishes is agedashi tofu but unfortunately as the name suggests, it is traditionally made with dashi, a Japanese stock prepared with bonito flakes – dried fish. Since going veg back in January this year, I have longed for a bowl of agedashi tofu.

This delicate dish with its soft tofu pieces swimming in sweet, salty broth is absolutely heavenly. The texture of the tofu in the dish is very unique and I have often wondered how this is achieved, luckily, a few months ago I was ordering lunch at Perigian Beach Sushi Wave when I noticed agedashi tofu on the menu. Desperate for a bowl, I asked the head chef if he could prepare a vegetarian version for me.

He was more than happy to oblige and I was delighted! Shortly after, the chef personally delivered a bowl of vegetarian friendly agedashi tofu to my table along with a hearty serving of edamame (young soy beans) and a wakame salad.

I took full advantage of the situation and asked the chef how the wonderful texture of the tofu was created in this dish, the answer – potato starch! Needless to say I have been determined to make my own version of this dish ever since, and I have finally done it. I love simple food that tastes amazing! This dish has a few ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to make from start to finish! The best part is, it tastes divine, and is a perfect soup for summer as the flavours are fresh and light!

Agedashi Tofu

Serves 2 – takes 15-20 minutes to make

2 cups vegetable stock (homemade is best)

1/3 cup Mirin

1/3 cup light soy sauce

1 packet firm silken tofu (harder than silken, softer than firm)

1/2 cup potato starch

Pinch of salt

Rice bran oil – for frying

Green onions

Place vegetable stock, mirin and soy sauce into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat do not boil, just let the liquid heat slowly until it has almost reached boiling point. This should only take a few minutes. You can tell it’s ready when steam starts to rise from the liquid. Rest broth over a low heat while preparing tofu.

Remove tofu from package and slice into cubes approx 2cm square, and rest on paper towel. Place potato starch and salt into a bowl and add tofu cubes, and use your fingers to gently coat the tofu with potato starch. Heat rice bran oil in a wok on the stovetop. Rice bran oil is light in colour and has a high burning point so it is perfect for making this dish. To test the oil, insert a chopstick vertically into the wok touching the base of the wok with the end of the chopsticks. Bubbles will appear around the chopstick when the oil is hot enough. Add the tofu pieces and fry for 1 minute. Until the edges are crisp but not golden, the tofu should not change colour.

Remove tofu from wok and rest on a piece paper towel. Place tofu pieces into serving bowls and gently ladle broth into bowls, pouring it down the sides of each bowl, don’t pour it over the tofu. Garnish the dish with thinly sliced green onions – enjoy