Glazed sandos and tomato salad: Ravinder Bhogal’s recipes for barbecued tofu

Lifestyle

The possibilities of what you can cook over fire are endless. Invest in seasonal ingredients, such as heritage tomatoes that have a complex, herbaceous flavour, and good-quality tofu. Think of the plumes of smoke almost as another seasoning, adding intense flavour and fragrance that you would normally get from roasting or grilling indoors.

Glazed tofu sandos with green mango slaw
What’s not to love about sticky, blistered tofu and a punchy little mango salad between two slices of white bread? The key to the success of this sandwich is thick slices cut from a fluffy, fresh, whole loaf.

Prep 40 min
Rest 1 hr 30 min
Cook 10 min
Makes 4

2 x packets firm tofu (I like Miso Tasty’s craft tofu)
3 tbsp sambal oelek or other chilli sauce, plus extra for spreading
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
8 slices white bread
4 tbsp mayonnaise

For the green mango slaw
1-2 red bird’s eye chillies (depending on your heat tolerance), roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
3 unripe green mangoes, peeled, stoned and finely shredded with a julienne peeler or cut into fine matchsticks
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
1 handful each Thai basil, mint and coriander leaves, roughly torn

Put the tofu on a plate lined with kitchen paper, then put a plate on top and weigh it down with a couple of tins of beans or similar. Set aside for half an hour, then pour away any excess moisture and cut each tofu block lengthways into four.

Combine the sambal oelek, ginger, garlic, honey, soy and oil, then massage the mix all over the tofu and set aside to marinate for at least an hour (the longer, the better).

To make the slaw, pound the chilli, garlic and sugar to a smooth paste in a mortar, then add a tablespoon of water to loosen. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce and vinegar, taste and adjust with more sugar, fish sauce or lime juice. Fold in half the mango, bruise it in the dressing slightly, then mix in the remaining ingredients and set aside.

Heat a griddle pan or barbecue to a medium-high heat, then grill the tofu, brushing regularly with its marinade and turning, until blistered and crisp at the edges.

To make the sandos, spread the chilli sauce on four slices of bread. Lay two pieces of tofu on each slice and top with some mango slaw. Spread the remaining bread with mayonnaise and place mayo side down on top of the slaw. Trim the crusts and the bread so it is the same size as the tofu, cut into fingers and serve with extra slaw on the side.

This Thai-inspired salad proves that a tomato salad can travel well beyond the Mediterranean. Kissing the tomatoes with the heat of the barbecue concentrates their flavour and opens up their silky flesh to soaking up the zingy dressing.

Prep 30 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

600g heirloom tomatoes, cut into assorted shapes – wedges, thick discs, halves, etc
Salt and pepper
Rapeseed oil, to drizzle
600g silken tofu, cut into 3cm pieces
2 baby cucumbers, cut in half lengthways, seeds scraped out and discarded, flesh coarsely chopped
6 radishes, finely sliced on a mandoline

For the dressing
80ml lime juice, plus the grated zest of 1 lime
2 bird’s eye chillies, coarsely chopped
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 lime leaves, stems removed
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm or soft brown sugar

To garnish
1 handful each Thai basil, mint and coriander leaves
1 handful crispy shallots
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks

Blitz all the dressing ingredients in a food processor, then set aside.

Heat a griddle or barbecue to a medium heat. Season the tomatoes with sea salt, drizzle with oil and grill cut side down until charred.

Lay the tofu, tomatoes, cucumber and radish on a platter and drizzle the dressing over the top. Scatter with the herbs, crispy shallots, sliced chilli and ginger, and serve at once.