Bean Curd (Soya paneer/Tofu) Skewers

Bean curd is another name for tofu, a product made from soybean milk. Bean curd has been made in China for thousands of years, and has spread throughout the world as a reasonably cheap, easy to make source of protein, calcium and iron.

There are two basic types of bean curd. The first is silken, also called` Japanese style tofu. This type of bean curd tends to fall apart as it is worked with, making it a great choice for dishes in which fragments of bean curd are desired. It is also used in vegan baked goods. Chinese style tofu is firm, and will hold its shape as it is worked with and cooked.

Once bean curd has been formed, it may be seasoned and pressed into blocks to form very dense, flavorful tofu. It can also be smoked, frozen, or fermented. Fermented bean curd is often mixed with spices and vegetables and used as a condiment. It can be added to dishes while they are cooking for flavor, or served on the side.

Plain bean curd is available in many markets. It can be fried, steamed, sautéed, baked, or grilled. Vegetarians often use it as a meat substitute, since bean curd is rich in protein. It also absorbs flavor very readily, and is a compliment to many dishes. Make sure to use fresh bean curd quickly, as it can go bad.

This recipe uses firm tofu which develops a fabulous flavor when marinated in garlic and herbs. These skewers can be cooked on a barbeque grill, under a broiler or even on a non stick griddle/tawa. It makes a very healthy snack or a light meal.

Preparation time: 45 minutes      Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 12oz/350g firm bean curd/tofu
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 zucchini
  • 8 white mushrooms
  • For the marinade:
  • Grated rind and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed        
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary (use dried if unavailable)
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme (use dried if unavailable)
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes

  • Preheat the barbeque grill. To make the marinade, mix the lemon rind, juice, herbs, chili flakes and walnut oil together in a shallow dish.
  • Drain the bean curd, pat dry on paper towels, and cut it into squares with a sharp knife. Add to the marinade and toss to coat thoroughly. Let the bean curd marinade for 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile seed the bell peppers and cut the flesh into 1 inch/2.5 cm pieces. Blanch in a pan of boiling water for 4 minutes, refresh in cold water and drain.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini and cut it into 1 inch/2.5 cm chunks.
  • Remove the bean curd from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Thread the bean curd onto 8 wooden skewers, alternating with bell peppers, zucchini and mushrooms.
  • Grill the skewers over medium hot coals for 6 minutes, tuning and blasting with the reserved marinade. Alternatively place them in a broiler or on a hot non stick griddle/tawa and cook in the same way.
  • Transfer the skewers to a serving plate and relish with your favorite sauce.

Tip: If using wooden skewers, soak them in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes before using them to prevent burning on a broiler or barbeque grill.