I had the weekend to myself, without much testing to do. I’d sort of decided to spend Saturday slaving over a hot stove, but when I saw how sunny it was, I had a change of plan. I still wanted to cook myself something nice, but didn’t want to spend the whole day doing it.
I decided to try the paella from the Millennium book. It’s actually one of the quicker dishes from Eric Tucker’s two books, and as long as you do a bit of planning it comes together quite quickly at the end.
It’s based on a saffron rice pilaf, which I made earlier in the day. I also home smoked the tofu at the same time – and it was the best smoked tofu I have ever done. I’ll do a tutorial on what I did when I next do it and get some photos. I didn’t take any because I’ve done it loads of times and didn’t expect it to turn out so well. There was a secret part to it, which was just a happy find.
The other main flavours of the dish included arame seaweed, capers, orange zest, chile flakes, courgettes, cumin seeds and black olives. Looking at the amount of seaweed after it had soaked, I suspected it would be too overpowering, but it just provided a really gentle taste of the sea, which was perfect.
It was served with a chile tofu aoli. I’m always a touch suspicious of silken tofu where it’s standing in for mayonnaise or sour cream. This is probably a hangover from a very early vegan brush with a Sarah Kramer recipe where the tofu ended up tasting resoundingly of… tofu, and had to be thrown away. However, this was deliciously creamy, garlicky and fresh, and worked perfectly with the deep flavours of the paella.
For a really tasty dish, from a book renowned for difficult dishes, this one really didn’t take too long. You don’t need to smoke your own tofu so don’t let that put you off. You can use shop bought smoked tofu or a seitan sausage. I would highly recommend giving this a go. And look! The recipe is available on googlebooks here – no excuses!
Mmm… this looks great!
I would love to know how you smoke tofu at home. I buy it and I am just in love with the flavour, but if I could do it myself that would be even better!
Oh yes, tofu smoking tutorial! 🙂
Wow, that sounds like a fantastic and complex dish.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!
Hi Liz! Yep, I agree, vegan paella is really nice! I make it with lots of vegetables–especially courgettes, peppers and carrots all cut in matchsticks–mixed peas and broad beans (if not available fresh I use dried ones which I soak and then boil til tender but still firm), a good splash of veg stock and an abundant pinch of saffron… it’s really good and easy–although you got to watch the pan carefully after you add the rice!
I just made this for the first time last night, and I agree it’s super tasty, and not much harder than throwing together stir-fry. I made a few substitutions, based on my partner’s palate, & what we had in the fridge, and didn’t bother with the aioli… it was still fabulous, & we both have leftovers to take to work.
If this tastes as great as it looks we are in for a treat! I wish I had a husband that would eat this kind of stuff, because it’s hard to be vegan when your husband isn’t. I’m trying to transition him but it’s really not working too well. He loves his meat.