Low-carb! Cauliflower Cheese with Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce

I occasionally crave gratin. I love the combination of bechamel sauce and cheese melting all together. I love the look in the oven – the bubbling sauce and golden surface…. Yum Yum Yum.

However…, gratin is not certainly suitable when you are on a diet…, I know…, but I still feel like it.

So! I made this recipe.

Cauliflower Cheese with Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce

In this recipe, I made white sauce out of Silken Tofu. The key is to remove the tofu’s unique smell (see the method below) and mix the tofu until it becomes super smooth. I added Miso, which gives a richness and depth to the delicate tofu.

This was actually one of my experimental recipes, but it came out really good on the first trial. This is a keeper, definitely!

This Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce is suitable for a gluten free diet as well.

When you are on a diet and sick of salad and soup, try this low-carb cauliflower cheese!
Hope you like it.

Ingredients (Serving 3-4)
600g of Cauliflower - cut into medium-sized florets
1 Onion - sliced
3 teaspoons of Olive Oil
A pinch of Sea Salt
60g of Parmesan Cheese - shredded

For Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce
300g of Silken Tofu
2 tablespoons of Milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of Miso (I use Shinshu Miso)
1/2 teaspoon of Soy Sauce
A pinch of Sea Salt for seasoning
Method: 
1. Preheat oven to 200 C.

2. Firstly we make Tofu Miso Cream. Wrap tofu with 2-3 layers of paper towels and microwave it for 2 minutes.
Remove it from the microwave and place a flat plate or a light chopping board on top of the tofu. Do not unwrap the paper towels.
Leave it for about 5 minutes. This is a good method to remove the excess water from tofu, which contains tofu's unique smell.

3. Place all the ingredients of Tofu Miso Cream (except sea salt), and combine well well until it becomes homogenised and smooth. You can use a electric mixer if you wish.

4. Taste the tofu miso creamy sauce and add a pinch of sea salt as necessary. Put it aside

5. Place cauliflower and onion in a baking tray. Coat them with olive oil and sea salt evenly.

6. Pour the Tofu Miso Cream over the cauliflower and put Parmesan cheese on top.

7. Bake it for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked and the cheese becomes golden. Serve while hot.
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Bocconcini Salad with Strawberry Dressing

At this moment, I do not have access to my pots, pans or to my pantry as we are currently in temporary accommodation. What I have is only some essential things such as soy sauce (of course!!), dashi powder, cooking sake and sugar, which I think allows me to cook decent things.

And…, my boss (the kind one) gave me a packet of Shio Koji.

As I have written about it in my blog previously, Shio Koji is one of my “super foods” – which is not only for its nutrition but also for its versatility (please see here for more detail).

That made me cook something different from the usual suspects, and even allowed me to come up with this new salad idea!

This strawberry dressing is a little bit sweet as well as a little bit savoury – as the result of a touch of Shio Koji. It is a perfect salad for hot summer days!

Since Shio Koji can be purchased in the Japanese shops in Perth, I assume that it can be found in other cities. If you have a chance to find it, I recommend you to get and try it 🙂

Ingredient: 
For Salad
200g Salad Leaves
210g Traditional Bocconcini- cut into 4
1 Lebanese Cucumber -diced
1/2 Onion - finely chopped

For Strawberry Dressing
250g Strawberries - washed and hulled
1/2 tablespoon of Shio Koji
1/2 tablespoon of Sugar
1/2 tablespoon of Lemon

Method :
For Strawberry Dressing
1. Place all of the ingredients for dressing in a small pot. Heat the pot over medium heat with the lid on. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low.

2. Keep cooking for about 15 minutes or until the strawberries become very soft, while stirring and mashing the strawberries occasionally.

3. Remove it from the heat. Place the dressing in a clean container and cool it down in the fridge.

For Salad
In a salad bowl or plate, place salad leaves, bocconcini, cucumber and onions nicely. Just before serving, pour the strawberry dressing over the salad.

The Easiest Ever Japanese – Nasu Dengaku (Miso Glazed Eggplant)

I would like to introduce my 2nd Easiest Ever Japanese recipe – Nasu Dengaku, which is known as Miso Glazed Eggplant.

Nasu Dengaku a little bit of soy
Juicy! Nasu Dengaku.

Again there is nothing difficult involved in this recipe, basically all you have to do is make miso sauce (by just mixing) and bake eggplant. Ingredients are common Japanese ones which you might already have in your pantry, otherwise can be obtained easily from the shop.

The baked eggplant will be super tender and melting in your month with the sweet and salty miso glaze. It is delicious!

This is another good recipe if you are not familiar with cooking Japanese.  Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients (serving 2)

1 big Eggplant – about 500g

2 teaspoon of Sesame Oil

Sesame Seeds for topping

For Dengaku Sauce

1 tablespoon of Miso

1 tablespoon of Sugar

1/2 tablespoon of Cooking Sake

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  2. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the flesh (almost to the skin) around the inner edge of the skin about 5mm in, and then score the same diagonally inside in small squares (see photo).

    Nasu Dengaku step by step
    Nasu Dengaku How to score eggplant flash

  3. Put sesame oil on the surfaces of the eggplant. Place the eggplant facing up on a baking tray. Bake it for about 30 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked and juicy.
  4. In the mean time, mix all ingredients for dengaku sauce
  5. Take out the eggplant from the oven.  Glaze the eggplant with the dengaku sauce. Turn the oven to 220 °C. Bake the eggplant for another 8-10 minutes.
  6. Take it out from the oven. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve while hot.

 

My Low Carb Recipe – Miso Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini (Vegetarian)

Today, I would like to introduce my second low carb recipe – a well-known Ottoman dish with my Japanese Twist – Miso Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini.

Lupin Miso Mushrrom Stuffed Zucchini_alittlebitofsoy

The rich miso stuffing definitely matches with fresh and light zucchini. I also like the crunchiness and juiciness of zucchini, which makes you satisfied without eating rice or bread.

Instead of flour, I use Lupin Flakes to prevent the stuffing from being runny (As you may have already known, Lupin is a low carb and gluten free legume full of protein and fibre).

I actually think that this is the first time for me to use Lupin as a supporting role…. It does not interrupt the main flavour, is super easy to use and works perfectly! Definitely it is still my favorite super food!

As with my other low carb recipe, this dish can accommodate most dietary requirements  -Vegetarian, Vegan and can be Gluten Free as well.

Hope you enjoy my Japanese twist in this dish 🙂

Ingredients (serving 4): 

2 Zucchini – large

4 pinches of Sea Salt

1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped

200g Mushrooms (about 4 large mushrooms) – roughly chopped

1/2 Onion – chopped

1/4 Red Capsicum  – chopped

1/2 Tablespoon of Miso

1/2 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake (or white wine)

1/2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

2.5 Tablespoon of Lupin Flakes

Sea Salt for seasoning

Method:

For Zucchini

  1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and flesh with a spoon. Chop the seeds and flesh roughly and put them aside (we will use them later).
  2. Sprinkle 4 pinches of sea salt over the zucchini. Wrap the zucchini with some kitchen paper towels and leave it for about 15 minutes. This is to remove the excess water from the zucchini.

For Lupin Miso Mushroom Miso Stuffing

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil (not included in the ingredients list above) and garlic in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add mushrooms, onion, red capsicum and the chopped zucchini seeds and flesh. Stir them with a wooden spoon for a minute or until the vegetables are evenly coated with the oil. turn the heat to low-medium and put a lid on. Keep cooking it for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add miso, cooking sake and soy sauce. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add lupin flakes and stir all together. season with sea salt as necessary. Turn the heat off and cool it down.

Construction and Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 220° C.
  2. Wipe excess water from the zucchini. Stuff the zucchini with the Lupin Miso Mushroom stuffing and place them on a baking tray. Bake them for 20 – 25 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked. Serve while hot.

Lupin Miso Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini _ alittlebitofsoy

My Low Carb Recipe – Mushrooms on Tofu

2018-07-17_16.17.03

I like trying out my new ideas in the kitchen. My current mission is to expand my repertoire of low-carb recipes. This is just because of us trying to eat less, and sometimes without carbs, I feel that the dish does not give me the same level of satisfaction…. How can I fix this issue…?

And then, I had this idea! How about replacing bread with Tofu?!

Yes, tofu can be boring sometimes…, but it means it is versatile. Tofu is generally quite filling so that this “non-satisfaction” issue can be resolved.

My first recipe for this idea is everyone’s favourite breakfast – Mushrooms on Toast…, I mean…, on Tofu.

I made the mushroom saucier, so that you can eat light flavoured (sometime boring) tofu with sauce together. This dish is quite filling and satisfying, so we normally eat it as dinner.

This is a good dish which can accommodate most dietary requirements – Vegetarian and can be Gluten Free as well.

Hope you like it 🙂

 

Ingredients (serving for 3):

For Tofu

500g Classic Tofu

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

For Mushroom Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

400g Button Mushrooms – cut into chunks

1 Onion – thinly sliced

2 pinches of Sea Salt

¼ Teaspoon of Thyme

1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Japanese Soy Sauce (gluten free soy sauce as an option)

1 Teaspoon of Unsalted Butter

(Optional) Black Pepper for seasoning and any green garnish for presentation

 

Method:

For Tofu

  1. Cut tofu half to make it 1.5-2cm thick. Then cut each piece into 3 (total 6 pieces of tofu).
  2. On a flat plate or a chopping board, place 3-4 layers of paper towels and lay the tofu on it. Place another 3-4 layers of paper towels, and then place a flat plate or light chopping board on top of it. Leave it for 15-20 minutes. This is a process to remove excess water from the tofu.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan on high heat. Once the frying pan gets really hot, reduce the heat to medium and pan-fry the tofu until the surface becomes lightly browned and crispy.

For Mushroom Sauce

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil and garlic in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add mushrooms, onion and sea salt into the pan. Stir them with a wood spoon for a minute or until the mushrooms are evenly coated with the oil.
  2. Add thyme into the pan. Turn the heat to low/medium and out a lid on. Keep cooking it for about 10 minutes or until juice from the mushrooms almost cover them.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Simmer for about 2- 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and add unsalted butter. Let it melt.

Plating

Place 2 slices of the tofu on each plate and pour the mushroom sauce over the tofu. Serve while warm. Seasoning with black pepper and some green garnish on top are an option.

Marinaded Vegetable and Bean Salad

This is a super easy and super humble recipe!

2018-07-23_20.11.43

In this season, we often get a lot of lemons from our friends who have lemon trees in their garden. In addition to my usual Honey Lemon Ginger, this is another good way of using up lemons.

I made this marinade liquid tangier than normal salad dressing so that the salad keeps a bit of kick after leaving over night.

If you make a big batch, it can be stored in the fridge for about 3-4 days.

If you have a lot of lemons in your kitchen or your garden, try this recipe. Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients

1 Carrot – diced

3 stalks of Celery – diced

1 Onion – diced

1 tin (400g including liquid) of Borlotti Beans (or your favorite beans)

For Marinade Liquid

100ml of Lemon Juice (about 1.5 lemons)

100ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

Good quality Sea Salt and Black Pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for dressing.
  2. Marinade all chopped vegetables and beans in the dressing over night.

Spiced Carrot and Coconut Soup

Carrots, Onions and Potatoes are probably the most common vegetables to have in your kitchen. This Carrot Soup recipe can turn these “normal” veggies into a bit of a fun and exciting dish. I think that it is good to have this kind of dish in your repertoire.

It is getting cold here in Australia. This soup hopefully help you and your loved ones to warm up.

2018-01-02_17.56.50

Ingredients: (Serving 4-5)  

5 Carrots – roughly chopped

1 Onion – roughly chopped

1 Potato – roughly chopped

1 clove of Garlic

1 Bay Leaf – bend in half

700ml of Vegetable Stock

¼ Teaspoon of Cumin Powder

¼ Teaspoon of Turmeric Powder

¼ Teaspoon of Nutmeg

140mlof Coconut Cream

A pinch of Sea Salt

1 bunch of Coriander – roughly chopped

 

Method:

  1. Place carrot, onion, potato, garlic, bay leaf and vegetable stock in a pot. Heat it over medium heat and bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low/medium and simmer it for about 30 minutes, or until the carrot becomes very soft and is breakable with a fork.
  2. Remove it from the heat and puree it with a hand mixer.
  3. Reheat it over a low heat. Stir cumin, turmeric and nutmeg into the puree. Add coconut cream. Season with sea salt. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit of water to make the soup your desired consistency.
  4. Top with coriander and serve while warm.