I went crazy at Wing Yip a few weeks ago, and completely forgot until now that I’d picked up a packet of abura age, a Japanese method of deep frying tofu to create puffy pouches of yumminess. In my recent vegan attempts, I’ve also gone a bit crazy purchasing mock cheese products, and as a result have quite possibly paid the wages of the entire Cheezly company in the weeks since.
Age is not particularly difficult to make, and I have done so in the past (it’s been years), but it’s very cheap and easy to obtain at an Oriental-Asian supermarket. Look for it in rectangular form for this recipe. If you want to make your own, then search the Googlenets and you’ll find plenty of advice on the subject.
The sauce combination is one I’ve played around with as a base for curry sauces. The combination of garlic, chili, coriander, turmeric, salt, sugar, and tomato has a lovely summer vibe and a refreshing flavour which isn’t too far beyond that of your standard quality tomato-based sauce. My choice for using it over another sauce in this recipe is because I wanted it to be the prominent flavour, with the cheese as an undertone. You can then guess I didn’t add a great deal of the latter, but that was my choice; feel free to stuff these suckers full to bursting point with your own favourite sauce and vegan cheese!
I’ve tried this with a selection of different Cheezly cheeses, with my preference being the Greek Style chunks sliced up.
The portion I made is tiny, a snack sized portion, but could easily be expanded to make an excellent addition to any hors d’oeuvre platter. These would also make awesome vegan picnic treats!
Oh, and what you see in the picture alongside are mild wasabi cashews.
Vegan Aburga-Age Pizza Pockets with Coriander Tomato
- If using pre-packaged age pouches from the store, refresh them and get rid of added oil by washing them in boiling water before use. Press them with a towel to get as much liquid out as possible, but a little is still okay.
- Preheat your oven grill to a medium-high setting.
- To make the sauce heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and fry the garlic, chili, and coriander for 30 seconds to one minute. Don’t let the garlic brown.
- Add the tomatoes and turmeric, plus salt to taste and a pinch of sugar. Mix completely and leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes before removing from the heat.
- Cut the age packets in half and open up the pouches gently. Put 1-2 teaspoons of sauce in each, followed by a slice or 12 of vegan cheese. Add some fresh herbs too, if you’d like. My preference is basil.
- Place under the grill for a few minutes before flipping and grilling on the opposite side. The age should be slightly crispy and browned, but so long as it’s hot it’ll taste good anyway!