Korean-style tofu and mushroom patties with coriander pesto

This recipe for tofu and mushroom patties is made with a Korean BBQ marinade, which is a really easy and tasty way to spice up your cooking. The coriander pesto is delicious on the side and really adds something wonderful to the dish - but it's not essential, so if you prefer you can serve the patties alongside some noodles or stir fried vegetables.

Korean-style tofu and mushroom patties

First of all, let me just be honest and say that before writing this post I knew absolutely nothing about Korean food! I had never even eaten it before, let alone cooked it. So when Encona Sauces asked me if I'd like to review their new Korean BBQ Marinade I had a little bit of research to do. Being a bit of a food geek I found this rather exciting.

It turns out there is a huge and varied cuisine out there that I knew nothing about! I had heard of kimchi, which is a popular Korean fermented side dish, but the names of other recipes were completely new to me. It's so exciting to have discovered a whole new world of eating! If you'd like to find out more about Korean Food I really enjoyed looking at the Beyond Kimchee site.

I still didn't know what to make though. It needed to be something vegetarian (for me) and something that the kids wouldn't run away from crying (yes, this does sometimes happen in our house!). It was when I saw this recipe for tofu and tuna patties on Instagram that I knew what I was going to make. 

Now, the chances of R & R eating something like this are slim to none. BUT - if it looks like a burger then there is a tiny chance that they'll try it and an even larger chance that they'll either eat some of it or happily ignore it and eat the other things on their plates. It might not sound like I'm doing a good job of selling this recipe to you so let me just say here that they are really delicious! My husband and Baby S loved them. And I feel that it's important to be honest about our journey with picky eating and simply being happy to have something unfamiliar on their plates safe in the knowledge that they're not going to be forced to eat it and it's not going to do them any harm is a good step in the right direction for us.

Incidentally, this recipe is vegetarian but not vegan. I did try to make a vegan version of these for myself as I'm eating vegan for the rest of this month. The first batch fell apart completely so I had it as a tofu and mushroom scramble, which was delicious but not what I intended. The second batch I froze overnight and cooked from frozen. They held together slightly better but ended up falling apart - so I had tofu and mushroom scramble again! I would LOVE to hear how you'd make this work as a vegan recipe if you know - please tell me in the comments below.

The marinade is made from a blend of gochujang spices, which are used in a traditional spicy Korean sauce.

Here's how to make them:

Ingredients (makes eight)
400g pack of firm tofu
2 tbsp Korean BBQ marinade (you could add much more if you want a really fiery taste - I went easy on it so the kids could try them)
Sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 small mushrooms, finely chopped
50g panko breadcrumbs (if not available use ordinary breadcrumbs but dry them out in a low oven for 5 minutes or so before adding)
2 large eggs, beaten   

Begin this recipe a couple of hours before you want to cook the patties. Drain the tofu and press out as much water as you can with kitchen towel. Finely chop the tofu and place in a large bowl with the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours, or even overnight.

Heat a little sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the mushrooms over a medium heat until soft. Stir in the garlic, cook for a further minute then add the mushrooms. Cook for around five minutes, until the mushrooms are softening. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Remove the tofu from the fridge. Add the mushroom mixture, the breadcrumbs and the eggs and use your hands to mix well. Divide the mixture into eight separate balls, then flatten into patty shapes. Cover and leave to chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

When you are ready to serve them remove from the fridge and heat a little sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Carefully place two or three of the patties into the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. When turning them over be extremely careful as they're delicate little things. You'll find them easier to turn over if you don't move them around too much while the first side is cooking.

For the pesto

25g coriander, roughly chopped
50g shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts
Juice of one lime
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add a little more oil if it seems too dry.

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Disclaimer: I was sent the marinade to try by Encona Sauces. All opinions are my own and I received no other payment for this post.

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