‘Chickpea tofu?’ I hear you say. ‚Is that tofu with chickpeas? Or chickpeas with soy?’ Neither nor! It’s soy-free tofu made with chickpea flour. ‚But how is that Japanese?’ I hear you say again. Fair question, so let me tell you a little story.
A few years ago I went to Japan for a few days. At that time I was living in Hong Kong and my boyfriend frequently had to go Japan for business. On one of those trips I joined him and we flew to Tokyo. Now I would call myself an avid traveller, a so-called experienced adventurer who has seen many different cultures, lived in way too many countries (though there is no such thing as too many) and even spent a long summer in South Korea. A country just a stone-throw away from Japan. But yet, the moment I stepped out of the airplane I felt like I had landed on a different planet.
The following days I went from one awe-inspiring moment to another. I ate my way to Tokyo, stopped at convenience shops in metro station, dined at high end restaurants and munched on cute little pastries in shaped and colours that go beyond my imagination. If there was only one thing I learned in Japan (but honestly I couldn’t even grasp all my new experiences) it would have been about the country’s approach to food.
Contrary to what probably most people assume, Japan is not only about traditional high quality food and preserving its culture at every cost. Japanese food is actually very playful and experimental too. In Japan, there is a trend of taking traditional food and reinventing it with new ingredients or the other way around. I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a noodle place that serves its miso soup with chickpea tofu. But I can very well imagine that Japanese people would appreciate the idea. And even if it was only for the attempt to challenge their traditional food, yet keeping its Japanese spirit.
As for everyone else, this chickpea tofu is a great soy-free alternative to tofu. I know that commercial soy has gained quite a bad reputation over the last decade. Personally, I don’t like the tofu that is offered in Turkey. So far I was only able to find one brand and I’m pretty sure they don’t use any organic soy. Besides, it’s super salty, another reason why this chickpea tofu is so genius. I only adapted the recipe from various cookbooks and blogs but whoever came up with it first, deserved a culinary noble price.
First of all, you can make it as home within a few hours. Secondly, the ingredients are super easy to find. And last but not least, you can season it the way you like. So for this Japanese Sushi bowl, just add some wasabi and ginger powder to your chickpea tofu. For a Middle Eastern bowl, add some cumin and cinnamon and for an Indian bowl, you could add some curry spices.
Japanese Sushi Bowl with Chickpea Tofu
- 1 cup / 120 grams chickpea flour
- 2 cups / 480 ml water
- ½ tsp ginger *
- ½ tsp salt
- *optional: any other Japanese spices like wasabi powder or completely different flavours like cumin, curry etc.)
- 1 cup / 180 grams organic white rice
- 2 cup water
- 2 handful salad leaves
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced or spiralized
- 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 sheets dried seaweed, crumbled
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp wasabi
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil or olive oil
- 1 tsp coconut sugar or any type of syrup
- Lightly grease a loaf pan, set aside
- In a saucepan, combine water, flour and spices over medium heat and cook for 6-10 min until the mixture is thick (this depend on the brand/texture of chickpea flour and can take up to 15 min)
- Quickly pour mixture into load pan and spread evenly with wet spatula, place in the fridge for at least 4 hours
- Cook rice according to instructions or bring 2 cups of water to boil, add rice and cover over medium heat for 15 - 18 min or until water is absorbed
- Divide all sushi bowl ingredients between two bowls, starting with salad leaves, rice, cucumber stick, spiralized carrot, crumbled seaweed sheet and sliced avocado
- Remove chickpea tofu from fridge and slice into bite-sized chunks, add to sushi bowl
- In a small bowl, combine tamari, wasabi, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, coconut sugar and mix well until sugar is dissolved
- Drizzle dressing over sushi bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds