Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tofu, Scallion, Kale protein balls for Salad.

Today's lunch box salad was enriched with Tofu-Scallion-Kale protein balls.  I prepared these protein balls with turmeric-hing seasoning, for binding Besan and  organic buckwheat flour  is used. Salad base was iceberg lettuce, locally produced cucumber from Porter farms, and black olives. No salad dressing was used except little drizzle of vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. After packing salad for lunch box I saved  few tofu balls to prepare one more serving for my lunch. Recipe for tofu protein balls has evolved from earlier made mix vegetable Tofu-Paneer koftas  which were  prepared for sattvik kofta curry. Later with some alterations and tweaks I  continued to create different tofu balls. Scroll down to see images of tofu koftas prepared earlier. These are Vegan and Gluten free tofu protein balls.

Tofu-Veggie ball salad I enjoyed for my lunch.

Salad packed in lunch box.

Ingredients for Salad with Vegetable Tofu balls :
Makes 12-15 Tofu balls / 2 Servings of salad.
Tofu Ball Ingredients
  • 1 block - Firm tofu (8 oz.) , I cut half from 16 oz. slab of tofu.
  • 1/3 Cup - Finely sliced scallion greens.
  • 1/3 Cup - Tightly packed very finely sliced kale leaves.
  • 1.5 Tb.spoon - Besan flour /gram flour ( roasted)
  • 1.5 Tb.spoon - Buckwheat flour ( roasted)
  • 1 Tb.spoon - fine rice flour to use while shaping tofu balls.
  • 1 green chili - finely sliced.
  • 1 pinch - Hing/Asafoetida
  • 1 pinch - Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 T.spoon - salt
  • 3 Cups - Chopped Iceberg lettuce leaves.
  • 1/2 Cucumber - sliced into thin half moon shape. (1.5 Cup yield)
  • Black olives - 12-15 thoroughly drained and rinsed.( I used canned whole pitted olives.)
  • 1 T.spoon - oil + 1/2 tsp more to roast flours.
Salad Ingredients
3.5 Cups - Chopped Iceberg lettuce leaves. ( about 100 gm)
1 Persian cucumber - 25-30  slices
1 green chili - finely sliced
1 Tb.spoon - Extra virgin olive oil
1.5 T.spoon - Vinegar
1/4 cup - Purslane leaves (optional)
1 tiny pinch - salt
1 pinch - sugar

 How to prepare Tofu protein balls for salad :
  1. Preparing Tofu :Cut half portion from 16 oz Tofu block. Rinse under water, press block few times between the palms of your hand, pat with thick two layers of paper towel, absorb as much as water,  then place it in the bowl, break slab by using fork. Take a clean cotton cloth, place in all scrambled tofu, twist and tie cloth tightly, squeeze few times to remove all water content from the tofu. Give 4-5 minutes for water extraction, at least two times open the twisted cloth, move center part of the tofu towards bottom, squeeze again. This will drain out maximum water, I got around 1/2 cup drained liquid. Place water drained tofu back into the dry bowl.
  2. In a small saute pan add  1.5  tbsp each of Besan and buckwheat flour, 1/2 tsp oil. Roast over medium heat, stirring constantly  until flour turns dry, slightly grainy and aromatic.This will take little over 3 minutes.
  3. In a drained tofu bowl add very finely sliced 1/3 cup scallion greens, 1 tbsp roasted  flour, 1 sliced green chili, one pinch of hing and one generous pinch of  turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp salt. Mix all well.
  4. Next add  finely sliced Kale leaves, mix well, sprinkle 1 more tbsp roasted  buckwheat and  besan flour. You can add kale leaves along with scallion greens, I added it later because initially I had thought about using only scallion. Mix and knead well, once smooth ball is formed, divide it into small size balls. I made assorted shaped balls but later I cut roasted bigger size protein balls into half.  It is better to make small bite sized balls because they will cook through quicker and more enjoyable in salads. While making balls first firmly press and create rough round ball, then hold it between the two palms and roll to achieve smooth rounds. If you feel stickiness, dust with rice flour, also oil greased palm will help.
  5. Heat  saute pan by drizzling few drops of oil, Place all the balls, cook over medium heat for about 12-15 minutes. Flip the balls very often to get roasted all around. Also 2-3 times increase heat to medium high, heat pan for a minute then  hold pan handle and swirl around for  20 seconds so that tofu balls are cooked through well and form even roast marks around ball.  Next time I will experiment  to bake, grill and steam these tofu protein balls. For better  flavor I added rinsed whole pitted black olives in the  pan along with tofu balls when tofu balls were roasted half way through, after 7 minutes. Remove roasted olives and tofu balls from the pan, allow to cool.
Salad assembly -- I prepared two portions of salad, one I packed for husbands lunch and remaining portion  I ate for my lunch. Chop 3-4 iceberg lettuce leaves to make 3.5  cups quantity. Slice  half persian cucumber into round shape and remaining into half moon shape. Chop one green chili very finely. Mix Chopped lettuce, sliced cucumbers, chopped green chili into one bowl. Add  1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1.5 tsp vinegar, sprinkle one tiny pinch of salt and one pinch of sugar, Toss to mix all well. Serve or pack in lunch box topped with tofu protein balls and roasted olives.(Few larger tofu balls I cut into 2-3 pieces.) In lunch box I set lettuce, cucumber, tofu balls separately. In my salad I additionally added fresh plucked purslane leaves from the pot. If you prefer, season Tofu balls and olives with olive oil and vinegar before adding to salad.

Note : Any variety  of greens can be added along with additional seasoning of cumin powder, hint of garam masala, ginger, garlic, onion, herbs. More tweaking can be done with the use of seeds and nuts. Create variety of tofu protein balls/Koftas by mix and match of ingredients.

finely sliced kale leaves

Roasting whole pitted black olives along with tofu balls.


Images of variety of Tofu balls made in the past.

mix vegetable Paneer+Tofu  koftas for sattvic kofta curry.

Fish+Tofu Koftas for Tava Pulao.

Non-Deep Fried version of Mix veg Paneer and Tofu Kofta.

Square shaped koftas done by using two piece rice cube.(These are pan roasted.)