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This is the closest I am going to get as far as cooking and eating meat goes ;) What? This looks and tastes 'meaty' enough for me (pun intended!). So much so I got two comments which makes this dish a success for me - at least as far as looks department goes. First, I shocked the hell out of my husband when he got home from work the other day. I placed the sliced pieces on the table and he was like "What's wrong with you? - I knew I had to put an end to you watching Food network all the time. How the heck did you manage to do this?". LOL! I laughed so much and it took him about 5 minutes of prodding and smelling the "meat" to finally get convinced that this was TOFU! Another success was a comment from our American neighbor, who for a second, forgot that we are vegetarians and told me that I had sliced the meat in a very different way than how they traditionally did it :-) See my Vegetarian Thanksgiving post for other recipes.
Tastes wise, I seriously have no idea how a Turkey originally tastes like, but it was not as bland as I thought this will be when I first started making it. Indians like and add flavor like southerners add fat to their food. But I need not have worried that much. It would have helped to have more flavor though, but I did not want to deviate too much from the recipes on the net, on the account that they probably could make it tasting more closer to the real thing than my own creative one. But when you are making it, just add flavors as per your tastes. Tofu will absorb more flavor if you let it sit along with seasonings.
Anyways, you can come to my house any time of the day or week, open my fridge and you will not fail to see packets of Tofu. Its a common ingredient which I use often for its protein. With this being the case, it was inevitable that I get curious about Tofu Turkey or Tofurkey. Instead of buying the ready made ones, you can make this. Its not complicated at all - its almost like preparing the real bird.(!!) I have followed this recipe from Vegetarian times ( The turkey from the online source
and the filling from the magazine). I changed the technique and few ingredients to suit my palate and comfort zone. I absolutely LOVED the stuffing.
I usually don't like to mix savory and sweet ingredients, but I loved this one so much so that I almost finished 1/4 of the stuffing on its own!!. Now to the recipe which is Vegan
, Diary Free
, Gluten Free
, Egg free
but absolutely NOT
flavor free ;)
recipe adapted from vegetarian times (website) and the stuffing from the magazine.
Prep Time: 8 hours to 1 day
Cook Time: 1 to 2 hours
Serves: 6 people
Method ( Tofu Turkey - Previous night
Bring the tofu to room temperature. Squeeze tofu of excess water and take small bits and place them in a processor.
Process them little by little until smooth.
Place them in a large bowl and mix all the seasoning. You can at this point even taste the tofu and add more seasoning or flavor to make sure it does not taste real bland.
Wet cheesecloth, wring it out and smoothly line a colander with it—no wrinkles.
Drop the tofu inside the colander and press it into the sides and bottom of the colander.
Place this colander on a plate. Bring the hanging cheesecloth on the sides into the center to cover the tofu.
Now place a plate right on top of the tofu and give it a slight press. Use a heavy object to place on top of the plate. This is to help the tofu drain excess water through the colander. Place this inside the refrigerator overnight (ideal time). This helps the tofu to absorb the seasoning well too.
Method (On day of making the tofu turkey) - For the Stuffing
I eyeballed most of the ingredients, so use your discretion when preparing them. Place the cubed bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 225F oven for 20-30 minutes or until dry and crisp.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet. Add about 1 tsp oil and saute the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add celery and saute for 2 minutes more.
Stir in the apples along with other seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes. Add maple syrup and the vinegar and remove from heat.
Combine the bread cubes along with apple mixture. Stir in almonds and dried cherries. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and pour broth over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the stuffing begins to brown on top. You can make a crisp filling by removing the foil and baking for 10 minutes more.
Method - For the Marinade
Mix all the ingredients for the under the marinade until combined.
Method - For the Assembly
Preheat oven to 375F. Drain the Tofu water from the plate on which you placed the colander.
Remove weight and plate from colander.
Now scoop some tofu from the center. Make sure to leave at least 1-2 inches on the sides and bottom.
Now fill this hollow with the stuffing.
Now top the stuffing with the scooped out tofu.
Make sure to smooth the surface and level it out.
Place a large oven to table baking sheet (I used a pie plate large enough to cover the colander opening) on top of the colander.
Hold tightly, and slowly invert colander onto the plate so that tofu-turkey drops gently onto dish.
Now slowly remove the cheesecloth from the tofu.
Can you see the white dome now?
Baste the tofu turkey with the prepared marinade.
Baste again. reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 1 hour, basting as many times it strikes your fancy.
Once baked, you see a beautifully crisped tofu surface.
The most amazing after effects of this meal with striking similarities to the real thing -
1) We felt full in matter of minutes. The tofu protein did it.
2) The crust was crispy and meaty inside. The stuffing added amazing combo to the tofu. A few bites of the orange and apple in the middle (which I placed as a garnish) also went v well with this tofurkey.
3) We had LEFTOVERS and lots of them
But one advantage over the real turkey would be low calorie content comparatively me thinks