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Tofu Tempura with Sour Cucumber Purée & Seaweed Ash

Food Main Courses Starters Dairy-free Vegan Vegetarian
Eddie Shepherd, author of Modernist Vegetarian
4 Servings
Ingredients
FOR THE SOUR CUCUMBER FLUID GEL
Cucumber juice 600ml (freshly juiced)
Caster sugar 120g
Citric acid 8g
Ascorbic acid 8g
Agar Agar 7g
FOR THE MARINATED TOFU
Plain firm tofu 240g
Kombu 1 Stick / 12g
Dried shiitake 50g
Boiling water 500ml
Dried thyme 1tsp
Tamari 80g
Rice wine vinegar 2 tbsp
FOR THE TEMPURA BATTER
Methylcellulose slurry (1.5g Methylcellulose F50 Hydrated in 100ml just boiled water) 100ml
Water 210ml
Vodka 85ml
Plain flour 125g
Chinese 5 spice 2tsp
Dried chilli a pinch
Salt a pinch
FOR THE SEAWEED ASH
Dried Dulse 20g
Method
  1. FOR THE SOUR CUCUMBER FLUID GEL
  2. Set 300ml of cucumber juice to one side
  3. Mix together remaining cucumber juice, caster sugar, citric and ascorbic acid, and agar agar. Bring to a simmer whilst whisking and hold for a couple of minutes before removing from heat
  4. Slowly pour the cold cucumber juice into the mixture, transfer to a container and put in the fridge for a couple of hours until it sets to a gel
  5. - Blend set gel to make a puree using a stick blender, then place in a squeeze bottle and refrigerate
  6. FOR THE MARINATED TOFU
  7. Prepare marinade: combine kombu, dried shiitake and dried thyme in a bowl, and pour boiling water over. Add tamari and rice wine vinegar and leave the mixture to soak for one hour
  8. Strain marinade liquid and set to one side. Cut plain tofu into 2.5cm cubes, put in marinade and refrigerate overnight
  9. FOR THE TEMPURA BATTER
  10. Mix all liquids together and stir well. Combine flour with the spices and salt in a bowl. Whisk liquid into flour until smooth and strain to remove any lumps
  11. Pour into a cream whipper and charge with two CO2 chargers. Chill, ideally for around two hours
  12. To cook the tofu, heat deep frying oil to 190°C. Dip marinated tofu first into flour and shake off excess. Spray batter into a bowl and dip tofu in. Drop in fryer and cook for 2-3 mins until crispy. Drain off excess oil on paper towel
  13. FOR THE SEAWEED ASH
  14. Place dried dulse seaweed into a metal bowl. With a blow-torch, burn the dulse until it no longer flames but glows red
  15. Allow the burnt dulse to cool, then carefully place the ash in a spice grinder and blend it to a powder. Store in an airtight container
  16. TO SERVE
  17. Dot cucumber purée around the plate, then place a few of the tofu tempura pieces centered on the plate. Sprinkle the seaweed ash over dish, before seasoning and garnish