I first had good scrambled tofu at a cafe on King Street in the late 90’s, and it blew my mind. I had eaten scrambled tofu before and it usually tried to be too much like eggs, with an overuse of turmeric to make it look yellow. This tofu was made from tender savoury tofu crumbled into chunks, with mushrooms, tomatoes, grated carrots, spinach, and a gingery/garlicky heat to it. As an aside I found out later that it was my friend Annette who was the chef at the time, but that’s another story. I quickly moved on from the awful attempts at scrambled tofu I had been experimenting with and started making tofu after the fashion of that cafe and have never looked back.
My recipe has evolved over time, and varies according to the season. In summer it will be full of fresh basil, tomatoes, and whatever greens are plentiful at the time. In winter it is more kale and mushrooms, and cold weather herbs like oregano. I’ve added different amounts of chilli, tried mixing in miso for a nice depth of flavour (this works well!), and experimented with different spices. The long and the short of it is, there is no one way to make this. Use the flavours that you love and see how they combine into a delicious savoury breakfast or brunch. The only thing I would recommend is staying away from tamari or soy based flavours as it can sometimes taste like stirfry on toast! A little is ok, but balance it out with something else as well. And it’s not going to taste like scrambled eggs, so don’t worry about trying to replicate that taste. If you ARE looking for a vegan way to get that eggy flavour, himalayan black salt adds a delicious egg-like flavour.
Flour tortillas are also something I’ve tried various recipes for over the years. This one is based on Ryan Splint’s recipe from the excellent Hot Damn and Hell Yeah cookbook, with the substitution of buckwheat flour for just over half of the flour. You can make them with all plain flour and they’ll be great too. Ryan used to live in Wollongong years ago, and anything I have cooked from his book makes me wish I had hung out with him in the kitchen while he was here! These tortillas are soft and puffy and easy to make.
This dish takes the tortillas, combines them with a savoury, saucy tofu filling, and tops the whole thing with strips of eggplant bacon and fresh avocado, and of course your choice of hot sauce! We had it for brunch in the sun, drinking coffee and listening to a little Bob Marley. A pretty damn rad Sunday morning if you ask me!
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
Thumb sized piece ginger, chopped finely
1/2 carrot, grated
6-8 leaves kale, stalks removed
4-5 mushrooms, chopped
Approx 200g firm tofu
1/2 red capsicum, diced small
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp herbamare
1 tsp slap ya mama (substitute with any kind of red pepper seasoning mix, or just add cayenne to taste)
1/4 cup fresh coriander
1.5 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup flour
1/4 cup oil or vegan margarine
3/4 cup hot water
1 tsp salt
1 large eggplant, sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp liquid smoke
Note: The eggplant bacon is an Isa Chandra Moscowitz recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen. Totes check out the original site!
Start the tortilla dough first as it needs to sit for at least an hour. Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, and add 1/4 cup of oil/margarine. Rub through with your hands until it is evenly mixed and a crumb-like consistency. Make a well in the centre and add boiling water. Stir through with a fork until a soft dough forms. Using your hands, start kneading in the bowl until it all comes together and is smooth and not sticking to your hands. I usually knead it most of the way in the bowl, and then transfer it to the chopping board for a brief knead to finish it off. Divide into 8 even sized balls, cover the bowl, and set aside to prove for at least one hour.
Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Slice your eggplant into long thin strips and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper – you may need to spread it across two. Brush with oil and place in the oven for about 10 minutes. It is ready when eggplant is cooked and there are some charred bits. Place tamari and liquid smoke in a bowl, and dip the cooked eggplant in the mixture to coat it before transferring it back to the baking tray. When all eggplant is coated, put it back in the oven, and turn it off. The residual heat will keep the eggplant warm until it is time to serve.
Saute garlic and ginger in a pan with coconut oil until they start to colour. Add the mushrooms, stir through and reduce the heat a little. Stir once or twice as they cook, but don’t keep on stirring them constantly as they will go watery. Add the carrot and capsicum and stir through, cooking for a few minutes. Crumble tofu in, and add a small amount of water. Add cumin, herbamare, slap ya mama, and sea salt and stir through. Cook for approx 5 minutes, stirring regularly. The water will evaporate and you may need to add a small amount more as you cook. Taste for seasoning, and set aside.
Heat a cast iron or heavy frypan. I used a comal, or tortilla pan. Roll one tortilla out using a rolling pin on a lightly floured bench, and add to pan. When it starts to bubble, flip and cook the other side. You shouldn’t need to add any more oil as there is already oil in the dough. When both sides are cooked, place in a tortilla warmer. If you don’t have a tortilla warmer, place a dinner plate inside a clean plastic bag and put each tortilla on the plate as it cooks, covering with the plastic between tortillas. It is also good to cover this with a tea towel for warmth. The reason you need the plastic bag is because you want the tortillas to steam and stay soft and pliable while they are cooking. Plastic seems to help the steaming process, but if you’re a plastic-phobe, I’m sure covering with a clean teatowel would work as well. Cook each tortilla as above. These will sit for a few minutes while you serve everything else.
Return the tofu to the heat and add the kale and coriander. Stir briefly until kale is wilted and put in a bowl to serve. Remove eggplant bacon from the oven and place in a bowl, and chop a fresh avocado. Bring all fillings and the tortillas to the table and flip the pile of tortillas so that the ones you cooked first are now on top of the pile (these will have steamed the longest). Put a medium sized quantity of scrambled tofu down the middle of a tortilla, top with eggplant bacon, avocado, and hot sauce, and roll up by folding one end over the filling and then tightly folding in the sides. Buen provecho!