Tofu Pepes is a delightful and traditional Indonesian dish that features tofu as its star ingredient. The tofu is typically crumbled and marinated in a harmonious blend of aromatic spices like garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass and candlenut. The marinated tofu is then wrapped in banana leaves, imparting a subtle earthy flavor to the dish. The bundles are steamed to perfection, allowing the tofu to soak up the rich, fragrant flavors of the seasoning. Tofu Pepes is not only a testament to the diverse and flavorful cuisine of Indonesia but also showcases the country’s unique culinary tradition of cooking in banana leaves, which adds a special touch to this delectable, plant-based delight
The recipe I am going to show you today is however steamed in Turmeric leaves. Steaming food in turmeric leaves infuses a unique, earthy aroma and subtle spiciness into the dish, enhancing both its flavor and visual appeal. This traditional cooking method, common in some Southeast Asian cuisines, imparts a delightful twist to the culinary experience. Apart from Banana leaf you can also use Jackfruit tree leaf, Maple leaf or corn peels.
There are several recipes for Tofu pepes and they use several more spices and vegetables than what I have shown. This recipe uses an egg as a binder to get a smooth texture. If you wish to make this a Vegan and Vegetarian recipe then you can skip the egg , it will still give you great results.
It is important that you use Firm Tofu for this recipe. Silken Tofu has a soft and slippery texture and is unsuitable for this dish. You can also skip the egg if you wish to make it Vegetarian or Vegan.
Tofu Pepes in Turmeric LeafCuisine: IndonesianDifficulty: Medium
500 grams of firm tofu.
100 grams Tomato
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 egg (optional)
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
- For the marinade
50 grams/ 10 Shallots, peel and chop
10 Kaffir lime leaves, remove the harder midrib
2 Tbsp lemongrass, chop the core
1 Tbsp Fresh Turmeric root, peel and chop
4 birds eye/Thai chili, remove seeds to reduce the heat
- Blend the ingredients of the marinade with 1 Tablespoon of water into a smooth paste. You will get roughly 4 Tbsp of paste.
- Crumble the Tofu in a large bowl and mix it with the Tofu marinade.
- Add the basil leaves and tomato , salt as per your taste and mix
- Add black pepper and egg and mix again. The filling is ready
- Heat the Turmeric leaf on a flat pan. Heating the leaf in which you fold the ingredients will soften them and will make folding easier.
- Now place the marinaded tofu in the centre of the leaf and fold it. When the leaf is folded secure it with a kitchen twine.
- Prepare a steaming pot and steam the Tofu pepes for 15 minutes
- Once the tofu pepes are ready, cut open the twine and open the folded leaf to reveal the magic inside.
- The same method can be used to steam soft cheese like Paneer, Ricotta cheese or fish.