Char-grilled Brussels sprout with lotus root and sweet marinated tofu
This recipe is from Community, Salad Recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen (Plum Books, 2014)
Brussels sprouts, with their slightly bitter character, are very well suited to the richness of Asian flavours. For this salad, I like to char-grill the sprouts on the barbecue to amplify the smoky flavour. Lotus root can now be easily purchased in the frozen section of Asian supermarkets and they add a lovely subtle crunch. If you can’t find them, just substitute with another crispy veg like water chestnuts, bamboo shoots or even snow peas.
500g firm tofu, cut into 5mm slices
600g Brussels sprouts, washed and base removed
80ml sunflower oil
4 medium eschalots, peeled and finely sliced
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
400g frozen lotus root, partially defrosted
1 cup coriander/cilantro, leaves picked
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tbsp sambal oelek
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp kecap manis
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
To make the tofu marinade, whisk together the sambal oelek, soy, kecap manis, two tablespoons of sesame oil, vinegar and syrup. Lay tofu in the marinade and let this sit for 2 hours or even in the fridge overnight. When ready to cook, trim the tofu into smaller triangles.
Depending on their size, cut each Brussels sprout in half or quarters. Place in a large bowl and add 2 tablespoon sunflower oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Combine well. On a hot barbecue or griddle pan, cook the sprouts for 3 minutes on each side until they are just tender. Repeat until all the sprouts have been cooked.
Defrost the lotus root at room temperature for about 15 minutes. In a large fry pan or wok, heat a little more oil and add the chilli and eschalots and fry for 2 minutes until they have softened. Next, add the lotus root with a pinch of salt and stir fry on medium heat for 4 minutes until the lotus roots are hot and the eschalots are completely softened. Remove from the pan.
With the same pan still on medium heat, fry the marinated tofu triangles (reserve the marinade for the dressing) for about 2 minutes on each side or until the tofu is nicely caramelised. Allow to cool.
Combine the sprouts, lotus root and tofu. Pour over the remaining marinade, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. To serve, scatter with sesame seeds and coriander.