These Thai Tofu Balls are one of our featured festive canapés, a true appetite enlivener, full of zingy spice and the perfect accompaniment to party drinks and cocktails. The idea for this recipe comes from traditional Thai fish balls, but made with tofu instead of fish. With the rice flour as our as a binder they hold together beautifully and look unique with lemongrass stalks as skewers. We’ve placed them on squares of banana leaf for that added Thai feel.
Thai Tofu Balls
Makes 25 canapés | Prep 35 mins | Cook 15 mins
- 100g sweet potato, cooked
- 200g firm tofu
- sunflower oil, for frying
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 2 lemongrass stalks, cut in half and thick part of the stalks chopped finely (save the remaining thin half for skewering the balls for serving)
- 2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
- 60g green beans, chopped small and blanched for 3 minutes
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 6 tbsp rice flour
For the peanut dipping sauce:
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1–2 tsp tamari
- juice of 1⁄2 lime
- 1⁄2 tsp soft brown sugar, or 1 tsp apple juice concentrate or agave syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp red chilli, finely minced, or a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
- 3 lemongrass stalks
- 1 banana leaf, cut into squares just large enough to sit each ball on
- Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/ gas 6. Oil a baking tray and line with parchment paper.
- Blend the cooked sweet potato in a food processor until almost smooth. Add the tofu and blend again to combine well.
- Heat a little oil and fry the spring onions, lemongrass and Thai curry paste for 2 minutes. Add to the tofu and sweet potato and pulse to combine. Transfer the mix to a bowl.
- Add the blanched green beans, lime zest, coriander and rice flour, and mix well to combine. Taste and season with 1 tablespoon of lime juice and a little salt.
- Make a test ball first. Heat a little sunflower oil in a frying pan, form a tablespoonful of the mixture into a ball, and cook until golden on both sides. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
- Lightly oil your hands to prevent the mixture sticking to them, roll the rest of the mixture into balls, then place on the prepared baking tray. The light covering of oil on your hands also helps them to crisp as they bake. Bake the balls for 15 minutes until golden, turning over halfway through cooking to brown on the other side.
- To make the peanut dipping sauce, combine the peanut butter, tamari and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl and mix well to a dipping consistency. Add enough lime juice to taste, and sweeten and add a little chilli for heat, if desired.
- To serve, cut each lemongrass stalk in half widthways, then in half lengthways, and then finally each length in half again, so that you
- have 8 ‘sticks’ per stalk. Use the two remaining halves from the recipe, and you should end up with 28 in total (you may find that some of the sticks will be too flimsy to use). Skewer each ball on a slight angle, and place on a square of banana leaf. Serve straight away with the dipping sauce.
- You can chill the unbaked balls until needed. They will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Check your Thai curry paste is veggie/vegan- friendly, as many contain fish sauce.
For more festive cooking ideas, check out our vegetarian Christmas recipes.
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