Lemongrass and kecap manis marinated tofu burger with Indonesian style spicy peanut sauce. It’s big on flavour and is vegan/vegetarian friendly too.
This tofu burger is healthy, relatively easy to make and big on flavour. I’m very excited for this recipe because it also shows a bit about my South-East-Asian background. It has lemongrass, kecap manis, and peanut sauce. In this recipe I’m also going to prove that tofu is not just a spongey and flavourless ingredient but it can also be flavourful, when done right.
Now the reason why I chose tofu as the protein in this burger was not to treat tofu as a substitute for meat. I know there have been a lot of recipes for vegetarian/vegan friendly that uses tofu as meat replacement but for me tofu has a pretty distinct taste to meat.
For example, imagine if we use tofu to replace beef patty in a burger and then combine it with mustard, mayo and cheese. It would be a bit weird right? Because tofu doesn’t taste like beef. For starter, it doesn’t have any flavour and the texture is different as well. But if we accept tofu as it is and embrace its differences, when we do it right, we can easily make this protein sings. We can marinate tofu to make it more flavourful, or appreciate its mildness and use it alongside other much more vibrant flavours and mix them with sauces that would make them more appealing.
So forget about tasteless bland tofu that doesn’t make you feel excited about. If you want to use tofu in your recipes, have a think on how to make it blends well with other ingredients and tastes great. For this tofu burger. I marinated these tofu slices in fragrant and flavourful lemongrass marinade for at least half an hour before they go into the hot pan. To make grill tofu and get it crispy around the outside, it’s best to use firm or extra-firm tofu. Soft tofu wouldn’t hold its shape properly because of its high water content.
Not to forget the sauce that binds everything together – the peanut sauce. Before I did this recipe I have already imagined how good this combination would be because I was thinking to make it tastes like Indonesian gado-gado salad. In Indonesia, we often use fried tofu cubes with leafy vegetable salad and peanut sauce and every Indonesian loves it even though Indonesian doesn’t eat heaps of salad and prefer meat based dish instead of vegetarian meal. This is all thanks to the spicy peanut sauce.
- 200 gr dry firm tofu, cut into four thin rectangular slices
- 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
- 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 100 gr roasted peanut
- 1 shallots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp chopped chillies
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- ½ tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 burger or brioche buns, cut in half and toasted
- 50 gr cabbage, shredded very finely
- To make the lemongrass marinade, blend lemongrass stalk, kecap manis, soy sauce, and garlic clove in a food processor until well combined. Marinate tofu slices evenly with lemongrass mixture for half an hour.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and sear tofu slices on one side for 3-4 minutes or until brown. Flip tofu and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- To make peanut sauce, blend all ingredients in a food processor until well combined. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and pour peanut sauce into the skillet. Cook peanut sauce for 4-5 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Set aside.
- To assemble, spread a tablespoon of peanut sauce on the base of each bun and add shredded cabbage. Top with 2 tofu slices and an extra tablespoon of peanut sauce. Sandwich with the remaining halves of the bun.