Sunday, August 8, 2010

Vegan poached eggs + black salt!

Ooh, eureka!  What have I done?  Only perfected the first vegan poached egg, that's all!  As faithful readers of this blog will know, I've been working on eggs for a while, but today I think I came pretty close to the effect I was looking for all this time.

First, the yolk.  Earlier I'd posted about making vegan egg yolks, but I'm going to re-post it now with a slightly easier to follow and more flexible recipe.

Vegan egg yolk
makes 2 large yolks

1/2 tbsp Vegenaise
1 1/4 tsp carrot juice (you can just squeeze this out of a grated carrot)
2 tbsp vegetable broth
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1 1/4 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  (On edit:  I've had more dependable results folding the Vegenaise in after the other ingredients have had a chance to set up.)  Microwave for 20 seconds.  Now depending on the initial temperature of your ingredients, keep microwaving in small increments, always under 10 seconds, whisking briskly between each session.  Once the mixture is hot, the sessions should be no more than 6 seconds each, or the mixture may separate.  You'll know when this happens, and if it does, there's nothing you can do about it but start over.  The finished yolk will look like this:



Now make the egg white.  I tried several ways of doing this, including frying tofu, actually creating an egg white out of the omelet recipe from Vegan Brunch and poaching it--doable but I wasn't too keen on the result--poaching tofu (which is actually what you see in most of these pictures) and, finally and most successfully, microwaving tofu for a minute in a covered container.  Here's the microwaved one:


It's important to use the right kind of tofu to get the texture you want.  Use the "fresh" kind, by which I mean the tofu that comes packed in plastic containers of water.  It's nice and soft and has an "eggy" texture.  Firm or extra-firm is too firm for this.  Slice off a piece about 3/4 inch thick and, if you wish, carve it into a roundish shape.  Place it in a shallow bowl, cover, and microwave for 1 minute or until the tofu is hot.  Now the genius part.  Microwaving the tofu makes it give up its water.  Place a spatula over the tofu in the bowl to hold it firmly there, and turn the bowl upside down over the sink.  Apply gentle pressure.  Quite a lot of water should flow out.  When you're satisfied that you have the texture you want, cut a hole in the middle of the slab.  This is where the yolk will go.  Place the hot tofu on a slice of bread:



Now take the part you cut out, the hole, and cut a thin slice of that, and place it in the bottom of the hole in the larger slab to keep the yolk from flowing down into the bread right away:



Spoon in some yolk:


Almost done!  Now you add the magic ingredient: black salt (and you also see black pepper; the salt I sprinkled on was the powder, not the chunks).  I have to thank Andrea for both convincing me and guilting me into finally seeking some of this out.  You can get it in Indian grocery stores, which is where I found mine.


What the heck is black salt?  According to Wikipedia, "Kala namak...also known as black salt or black Indian salt, is a salty and pungent smelling condiment used in India. The condiment is composed largely of sodium chloride with several impurities lending the salt its colour and smell....Sodium chloride provides kala namak with its salty taste, iron sulphide provides its dark violet hue, and all the sulphur compounds give kala namak its slight bitter taste as well as a highly distinctive smell, with hydrogen sulphide being the most prominent contributor to the smell."  What does it smell like?  You guessed it!  Eggs!  What does it taste like?  Why yes, it tastes just like eggs.  Who knew that the taste of eggs could be replicated so easily?  Not me, that's for sure.  To me, fresh tofu sprinkled with black salt tastes exactly like egg white, and I do mean exactly

I tried putting some of it in the tofu poaching water (and incidentally putting it into the Vegan Brunch omelet mix) but couldn't really taste it in the result.  It's best just to sprinkle it on afterwards.

This was so real it was almost scary, and so good I'll be making it again and again:


The tomato, by the way, is the first of the Sweet Millions from my two giant plants.  How did it taste?  Sweet!  How many will I get off these monsters?  Oh, millions!

34 comments:

  1. That look AMAZING, Zoa! Must make! I need to get my hands on black salt.

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  2. Now you've got me, but I'll have to wait until we get back to Seattle since there's no microwave here. I guess I could just fry the tofu in a pan, but what about the yolk? Can it be made in a pot? Oh, maybe I'll just wait.

    I agree that when you add the kala namak to a dish while it's cooking, the egg-y flavor seems to dissipate. BUT, I've substituted black salt for regular in baked goods, and it seems to add a rich (egg-y?) layer of flavor. Try it and see what you think.

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  3. Thanks, Trinity, I'm pretty stoked ;-)

    Andrea, I'm not sure about the yolk in the pan yet, but I'll try it and let you know. (Or you could, you're picky about egg flavours and I'm dying to know what you think.) Nice idea about the baked goods!

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  4. I don't have a microwave either, but it looks great. Very exciting step for vegankind.

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  5. I looooove kala namak, and you have totally taken this to the next level. Awesome!

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  6. Zoa,

    I think you have made a huge vegan breakthrough! All the textures and colors have been perfected...and I'm sure it's delicious.

    I think you should patent this now!

    Do you think I could do it w/o a microwave...don't have one of those new-fangled things yet.

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  7. wow, that's amazing! I only wish they had veganaise in Korea so that I could try this!

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    1. You can make veganaise by mixing simple cooking oil & silken tofu in a chopper or blender, with a small splash of apple cider vinegar, salt, & pepper! There are recipes online to help better w/measurements, too. I don't know if I'm allowed to link an address, but I'll try:
      :-)
      http://epicurvegan.com/2011/01/17/better-than-vegenaise-mayo/

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  8. You are a genius. That's all I can say.

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  9. Hi Zoa,
    Just wanted to let you know that you received an award on my blog...

    I was on the fence about posting it, because I'm a bit shy and have my reservations about blog awards:

    I appreciate the spirit in which they are given, and I think it's a fun way for people to discover blogs, but I don't like the "chain" aspect of them. It ends up becoming a little insidious.

    At any rate; I prefaced in my blog that I'm no stickler for blog award protocol...if there is such I thing...so just receive and enjoy.

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  10. Thanks for this recipe: I used it this morning, drizzled on scrambled okara. It was really good, and we thought it was freakily like egg yolk. 5 stars!

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  11. Hi, Jo:

    I'm thrilled that you tried it! And I agree, it is freaky...

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  12. Wow! I discovered your blog through i eat food's blog and I am so blown away by this recipe - so so brilliant! I made this this morning and it was A-MAZING! Though I haven't been following your blog (before now) I too have a fondness for eggs though have also found that black salt does wonders (courtesy of Vegan Brunch). The "yolk" flavor profile is spot on, and I like the use of carrot juice for the authentic color instead of the usual turmeric which I don't like (find it has a slight bitterness I'm not fond of). I hope you don't mind if I feature this post as one of a couple others that I will reference in an upcoming blog post of mine about eggy tofu?

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  13. To begin with, what a showpiece!! It's gorgeous!! I want to have some folks over for a brunch and serve these up...but will trial-run it first of course. Amazing job...thanks for sharing the idea, as it was totally patentable out of the gate! :)

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  14. Dawne, cool, I read your post and loved it (http://www.plantbasedfoodie.com/tofu-egg-salad-other-egg-y-things/). I'm so glad you liked the egg. If you come up with any improvements, please let me know (I use broth powder and bottled carrot juice sometimes too and they're just as good as the vegetable broth/squeezed carrot). I've added you to my blog roll and look forward to reading more about your "eggy" adventures.

    Sam, thanks, and do trial run it with the larger quantities, which I haven't done. I also haven't been able to make the yolk recipe work very well on the stovetop, so beware. Again, please do report back with tips and stories.

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  15. Half way through, I didn't think this recipe was going to work out..
    But it did!
    AND IT WAS AMAZINGGGG!!
    I cannot believe it was just like eggs!!!
    Thank you!

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  16. I tried it again tonight, this time on the stove-top, and it worked really quickly. The yolk is also great on scrambled okara.

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  17. I can't wait to try this, I wonder if it's possible to make vegan hard-boiled eggs...then you could make deviled eggs!

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  18. You've blown my mind! Now I can't wait to get back to Canada (where I can get Veganaise) and try this.

    Please post more of your wizardry :)

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  19. This is GREAT!.. I HATE eggs so much, but I love this and I love vegenaise and now I have to do something like this too. Brilliant!

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  20. thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Now where's the marmite....

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  21. You're right, this tastes so real, it's almost scary! And the ingredients are so few and basic (once you can get your hands on the black salt. I was fortunate to have lived in Singapore for 2 years, so I got a box for about $1+. I should have stocked up. I'm guessing it's probably expensive here in U.S.). I tried microwaving the "yolk", but it was getting too time-consuming, with not much progress. So I ended up heating it in a small saucepan, constantly stirring, and it came out great. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe! Can't wait to try vegan loco moco with this:)

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  22. This is an awesome recipe!! I have tried the yolk which tastes spot on and am going to make the whole "egg" for Christmas brunch. I was wondering what kind of tofu you use. You say the ones packed in water but firm & extra firm are too firm for them. So would that mean you use fresh packed silken tofu? Do you have an example of a brand you use?
    Thanks!!

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  23. Hi, Koshoonna, glad you like the egg! The tofu that works best for me is the tofu that usually comes in two big blocks in a hard plastic packet (not the foil-lined cardboard ones). Many companies make it, for instance Sunrise. So it's sometimes called "silken" and sometimes called "fresh" (but confusingly, can also be labelled "firm" or "extra firm"). Do a test run for the whites and if you're happy with the texture, go for it!

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  24. I made this for Christmas brunch. The egg yoke flavor was spot on! During microwaving though it seized...fortunately I was able to recover it back to the desired consistency with the use of an immersion blender. Everyone raved about how crazy the flavor is. Was wondering if anyone has tried to grind up the tofu and reshape it into a round shape or even stuff it with the egg yoke mixture after it gels?

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  25. This looks cool, I wish there was a way to make the yolk without the veganaise and vegan butter though.

    I am going to pick up some black salt and use it in my silken tofu omelette recipe to see if it makes it even yummier. I don't have the vegan brunch book (Isa Chandara's recipes are too heavy for me) but I specialize in low fat vegan dishes http://lowfatveganchef.com/the-best-low-fat-vegan-silken-tofu-omelette-recipe/

    Lovely pictures by the way!

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  26. Black salt was second best 'vegan discovery' for me, right after nutritional yeast. Oh and also understanding the difference (and the importance) between firm and silken tofu. But now I'm blabbering... YES black salt tastes exactly like eggs. I also noticed that the eggy flavour disappears when cooked or mixed in, it's best when sprinkled (for instance on a tofu scramble) just like you said. SO anyway, for vegans who miss the egg flavour, find black salt, it's so worth it. I ordered mine online from a health food store, hard to find where I live.

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  27. Omgeeeee!!! I made this for my hubby and myself this morning. After the first bite I had to keep reminding myself that I had not infact eaten an egg! After going vegan and swearing them off for good I thought id never see a breakfast like this. My husband is just begining to attempt veganism and has said he will not unless I can convince him he will still love to eat... we will be having a new vegan in the family.... thanks!!!

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  28. I tried making a 'fried egg' with tofu and this recipe for egg yolk, and it was really tasty! I just fried the tofu in a frying pan, with a little bit of black salt on each side, and then put it on a cracker. Then I made the 'yolk', but I did it a little bit differently because I didn't have carrots or carrot juice. So I used turmeric for the color, and I added a little bit of salt and pepper. I made it on a stove, and it did start separating a little bit, but that was my fault for putting the heat too high. I also made a little bit more than the recipe said, so I used more cornstarch. After it thickened enough, I added a spoonful of each to the tofu-on-cracker, and sprinkled a little more black salt and a little bit of parsley on top. Very tasty! Here's a picture (if you can open the link):
    http://www.piercingforum.nl/attachment.php?attachmentid=47067&d=1367686840

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  29. omg love this I am going to have to try this

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  30. Hi Zoa! I tried your recipe and it's reeeally good... I think it could help people who can’t quit eggs to go vegan.
    Therefore I would ask for your permission to translate and publish your recipe on an italian website (www.agireoraedizioni.org -forum: http://www.veganhome.it) and on its pamphlets, with credits, of course. I hope you will allow me to share your great recipe.
    Thank you,
    Barbara

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    1. Barbara, yes, certainly! Anyone should feel free to use this recipe, share it, post it, change it, translate it. I'm just pleased so many people are looking for egg alternatives, and am happy to contribute to the cause.

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  31. Thank you very much. You probably won't imagine how many chefs are jealous of their recipes!
    Thanks a lot, again
    Barbara

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