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Vegan MoFo day 6: Re-create a restaurant meal - a tale of two tofu tartares

This, my friends, is a tale of two tofu tartares.

Last summer, I went to Dubrovnik in Croatia and this summer to Prague in the Czech Republic. On both occasions, I ate tofu tartares I came home raving about. In Dubrovnik, it was Nishta's tomato version, in Prague, Maitrea's dill one. Both were delicious.

Carrying home happy memories of both - essentially starters of minced, flavoured tofu with bread and salad - I thought that MoFo was a handy opportunity to revist both. Only it wasn't that easy.

Only one slight hitch - tofu tartare appears to be the shared brain burp of both Maitrea and Nishta, for a google search on 'tofu tartare' mainly reveals meat tartare recipes that somehow involve bean curd. That left me with just the haziest recollections of the dishes in question, along with a couple of menu hints, to base my tartare tests on.

Maitrea at least has a reference to the dish on its menu, describing it as 'Tartare from smoked tofu with dill, mustard tofunnaise and lime'. (In Nishta's case, the tartare has been wiped from the menuu - a sad day for veg*n diners in Dubrovnik.)

Having smoked tofu at home, along with lime juice, mustard, mayo, and chopped up tofu. This was what I came out with:


I remember Maitrea's tofu being delicious. This, however, was a sorry effort that was decidedly less than the sum of its parts. It was like an orchestra all tuned to different keys - all the ingredients, lovely on their own, clashed violently with their peers. I can only assume Maitrea publishes a wonky list of ingredients to dissuade just such efforts at recreation.

Lesson learnt: the next time I eat a mix of smoked tofu, mayo, lime and mustard, it will one made for me by people who know what they're doing at Maitrea.

The attempt to recreate Nishta's tartare was slightly more successful - after I ninja-chopped the other half of the smoked tofu into submission, I wrapped it up with some sun-dried tomato paste, capers, chopped basil, tomato ketchup, and spring onion, and left it for a bit to get acquainted.

Nishta's original served up the tartare with some of its own naan bread, which was a bit more like pita than naan bread, but hey, it tasted good, so who's counting? In tribute to Nishta's naan, I found the similarly inappropriate paratha to team my tofu with.

This is the result:


It was nice. Was it as nice as Nishta's? Not a patch on it. Lesson learnt from today's MoFo: next time I want to go recreate a restaurant meal, I'm going to go to a restaurant.


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7 comments

  1. It doesn;t matter that it wasn't as nice as Nishta's, you have still intro'd me to something I have never had and Croatia is quickly becoming one of those places that i now want to visit, seems like there are some places there that cater for veggies.

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  2. Great effort and ambition, even if it didn't quite work out. Tofu tartare is a new one to me, it sounds very exciting though. I recently had tofoie gras at Maitrea's sister restaurant, Lehka Klava - it was really delicious! That one might be easier to recreate, as I think it was essentially a smoked tofu puree.

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  3. Sometimes it's just the act of someone else preparing the meal to make it seem better than at home. I love smoked tofu, these sound like really good combinations of ingredients and nicely platted too.

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  4. It's a shame it didn't taste good because it looks delicious! The combo of flavors sounds good!

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  5. Tofu tartar is new to me... I'd be happy to eat either and/or both of these.

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  6. It's a dish I've never heard of before either. I wonder if the brand of tofu had anything to do with it. I know with the smoked tofu that Unicorn Grocery in Manchester sells there's one brand that definitely has a different taste and texture.

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  7. I'm feeling pretty sad that tofu tartar is no longer on the menu at Nishta's! I'll be in Dubrovnik soon so hopefully it will have been replaced with something equally delicious.

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