Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Burmese tofu

January 4, 2015

I first heard of Burmese tofu a few months ago when our friend Troy got excited about it and made a big batch for a brunch potluck he hosted a few months back. He'd discovered it during a period of soy-free eating when he was looking for an alternative to the usual staples. Burmese tofu is really more like polenta than tofu - it's a pretty simple combination of chickpea flour and water, thickened up over heat to your desired texture and then cooked. Troy had made a soft version, going for an eggy kind of style while we had a firmer version in mind, to serve with some simple stir-fried veggies and rice.

We used a recipe from Veganise This!, preferring Mel's speedy version to some of the recipes that require overnight soaking. It's super easy - about 15 minutes of cooking on the stove and then a few hours in the fridge to set. Mel ate hers straight from the fridge, but we decided to stick ours under the grill and try to get a crispy skin on them - it wasn't entirely successful, but our approach added a bit of texture to the tofu slices. Much like traditional tofu, this dish isn't exactly bursting with flavour on its own. We also copied Mel's dressing - a tangy combo of chilli, tamarind, sesame oil and soy sauce, which did the trick perfectly.

Burmese tofu is a good addition to our protein options - it's easy to whip up, will carry any flavour you add to it and seems to be pretty versatile.

Burmese tofu with tamarind dressing
(based on a recipe from Veganise This!, which was adapted from BestOodles)

4 cups water
1 tablespoon margarine
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon chilli oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons tamarind puree
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Put 2 1/2 cups of the water and the margarine in a big saucepan bring it to the boil. 

In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, the rest of the water and the turmeric, salt and sugar. Pour the mixture into the boiling water and whisk it all up into a smooth paste. Drop the heat down to low and keep it bubbling for five minutes or so - it should be quite thick.

Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and smooth the top as best you can. Refrigerate for a few hours until it's solid.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

When you're ready to eat it, carve it up into little rectangular prisms and grill for about 15 minutes, flipping them all over about halfway through.

Serve, topped with the dressing, alongside some rice and stir-fried veggies.


  1. sounds interesting - I have had chickpea chips before which were quite good - must try this one some time

    1. Hi Johanna - this is probably very similar to your chickpea chips!

  2. I went out for Burmese late last year, and had never eaten it before. I was surprised by the strange 'tofu', but found it delicious, and like you say - kind of like polenta. I forgot to follow up to find out more about it. Thanks for the recipe, will have to give it a shot at home!

    1. You're welcome, littleveganbear! I bet you'll think of many cool uses for it. :-)

  3. I've read about Burmese tofu before and been intrigued by it. It doesn't seem quite as versatile as tofu but I'd like to try some as a protein in a Burmese style curry. This recipe is an easy one to try it out.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Yes, it's the easier starter recipe. Maybe we'll step up to the overnight version now that we know what we're doing. :-)