Tofu and Bacon Snacks

tofubrollsMost people, both vegetarians and carnivores, are so convinced that tofu is simply a meat substitute, they are utterly surprised when I say I like tofu most when it’s combined with meat. Mapo doufu, for example, is one of my favourite dishes and removing either meat or tofu from it, makes it lose all its charm. Therefore, I am thrilled to present you this sensational snack I have fallen in love with and cannot imagine with either of the two main ingredients removed or substituted.

Thanks to my recent progress in Japanese reading I dare more and more often the Japanese food web. Thus, not only do I find new cooking ideas, but at the same time I progress with my language level. Fun and studying in one! Anyway, browsing through Cookpad, the biggest source of recipes in Japanese, I stumbled upon very tempting-looking tofu and pork belly rolls. Even though I have substantially modified it, I kept the original tofu and meat combination idea, which I am so fond of.

First of all, since I didn’t have the pork belly, but plenty of smoked bacon, I used it instead. I have also made snack-sized cubes instead of the original bigger pieces. Accidentally, I happened to have smoked tofu too, so it was a double smoked modification. The author adds some seasoning and sauce, in which the rolls are quickly simmered, but smoked bacon doesn’t require any simmering, so I simply skipped this part. As a tofu and bacon fan, I knew it could only be good, but frankly I didn’t expect such an amazing taste. I am already planning to “trap” all the tofu haters I know with this delicious snack 😉 The author uses shiso (perilla) leaves, but since I only had mitsuba from my balcony (another aromatic Japanese herb), I decided to put it instead. As a chilli fan, I tried putting them instead of the herbs and it worked perfectly too, so feel free to add whatever you like between the meat and tofu cubes. Click here to check the original Kirakira’s recipe (I don’t know if there is an English translation yet).

Preparation: about 10-15 minutes

Ingredients (serves three as a snack or two if served with rice as a main course) :

200 g (about 7 oz) firm tofu (I have used smoked tofu)

12 very thin slices of smoked narrow bacon (mine width : 2 cm only) or less slices if they are wider

12 big leaves of shiso, mitsuba, edible chrysanthemum, Thai basil, chives/green onion cut into bigger strips or thinly cut fresh chilli peppers

sauce of your choice or chilli oil or nothing

Put the tofu into boiling water for two minutes.

Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Cut the tofu into pieces as wide as the bacon slices. (As I have mentioned I had very narrow bacon, so I cut the tofu into 12 x 2 cm pieces).

Roll the tofu pieces first into bacon, inserting herbs or chilli between tofu and bacon strips.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and pan-grill the rolls (or rather cubes in my case) 20- 30 seconds on each side (if you use raw pork belly, you should cook the rolls much longer).

Serve immediately with a sauce of your choice or brushed with chilli oil or serve them as they are.

24 Replies to “Tofu and Bacon Snacks”

  1. I agree that anyone who thinks they don’t like tofu would gobble these snacks up without any complaint. Unfortunately I don’t have any bacon, smoked or not, in the house, though I do have firm tofu, or I’d give this a try in spite of being stuffed from tonight’s pork tenderloin supper.

  2. Sissi! I was in the shower yesterday morning thinking about tofu (heeheeh, food is a constant preoccupation apparently) but anyhow, I was imagining a maple glazed version and feeling like I was somehow craving it but never in my dreams would I have thought to combine tofu cubes with bacon!! You are so right, we tend to view this soy protein as residing in the vegetarian box and let’s not cross the line. I love this idea (it looks great too) — it’s going on my holiday appetizer list immediately :).

    1. Hi, Kelly. I’m always so relieved to see I’m not the only one obsessed with food 😉 Thank you for the compliments. If the bacon strips are very thin (these are sold transparent, a bit like dried ham), the snacks still remain quite healthy too, I hope…

  3. Thanks for letting people know that tofu is NOT a meat substitute!

    I agree with your language comment. Learning a foreign language can be quite dull, but learning a favorite subject in a foreign language can be interesting and inspiring!

    1. Thank you, Hiroyuki for this precious comment! Haha! Yes, this is why my food vocabulary is the most developped part in every language I know 😉

  4. Oh Sissi – you might make me a tofu lover with this one! I do like tofu at times, but it either has to be fried or smothered in a tasty sauce. However, bacon wrapped tofu? Those little bites look heavenly. Glad to see you used thin slices of bacon rather than pork belly. I love bacon, but not really a pork belly fan. What about, instead of brushing them in chili oil, frying them chile oil? I’m just sitting here thinking about when I’m going to make these because these are a must try!!

    1. Thanks a lot, MJ. I’m sure you would love these snacks… The bacon not only gives a fantastic aroma, but it also makes the tofu cubes taste a bit of…bacon 😉 I also prefer smoked bacon in okonomiyaki (the Japanese savoury pancake).
      Frying in chile oil sounds fantastic! I’m sure you will invent your own fabulous version!

  5. Nice to meet you, Sissi! I came here via Nippon Nin who always make my mouth water and I’ve learned some nice recipe from. This blog is another mouth-watering one. I like to learn new recipe as well as how to explain the process of cooking in English. As you know, language learning can be quite stressful when acquiring language is the direct purpose, but anyway language is a means to communicate. I like shiso very much. I think I’ll try.


    1. Hello Yoko! Nice to meet you too and thank you for your kind comment. I agree with you: it’s always best to find another excuse than just learn a language and if one likes cooking, recipes are a good way to practice or/and learn (at least in my case). Reading friendly blogs is also great help (with my English too!). I no longer have shiso but mitsuba is growing like crazy on my balcony, so I use it more often now.

      1. One of the things I like about cooking is that we can be inventive and resourceful. Aojiso is sold at the greengrocery all the year round but the fresh green right from your kitchen garden is handy and the most nutritious.

        Thank you for your visit and a lovely comment. I’m not always on line as I take care of my 18-month-old boy when his mother works part-time, but I look forward to visiting you from time to time.


        1. I totally agree! For me cooking means also travelling without moving from home 🙂 In reality, I have tasted many Japanese dishes I love cooking them at home and I have never tasted some of them in Japan (oyakodon for example). Here aojiso is sold also all year long, but only imported from Thailand. Thai aojiso has a stronger flavour and aroma… Luckily one of my Japanese shops sells green shiso already potted every summer, so I buy it every year. Somehow, it doesn’t grow easily on my balcony… I have much more chances with mitsuba, mizuna, thin negi or shungiku…

  6. You impress me so much Sissi and make me even more disappointed that we didn’t meet! I can’t believe you can read Japanese well enough to make a recipe! I wouldn’t know where to start!
    I adore tofu but now I’m reading so many controversial things about our GMO soy products that im afraid to buy it. Europe is so much more ahead of us, not letting big business rule your health. Soy is supposed to be so good in plant estrogen which would be very helpful in my situation right now, but I hestotate to use GM products.
    Adding bacon sounds amazing Sissy, and so beautiful too. And a perfect little bundle at that!

    1. Hi, Eva. Thank you so much for the compliments. You know, I still do need a constant help of a dictionary… Japanese reading is not easy and takes long years to learn, alas… (I also don’t practice enough, but it’s another problem) but at least when I see a recipe, I’m not completely lost 😉 Moreover it’s an excellent way to learn or practice (any language indeed!). You should check organic shops; they usually have only non-modified soy products.

  7. Good strategy to wrap bacon around tofu to convert non tofu lovers!!!
    Never seen anything like this but I am a fan of mapo tofu, which is also tofu and pork, but in different shape and form.
    This snack probably has multiple uses – accompany drinks, wrap in rice paper roll or taco, as a sandwich filling, with rice…

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. I also love mapo doufu, so I’m sure you’d like these snacks too.

  8. I have already bookmarked this recipe. My son is a big tofu lover and this one with the bacon looks like a food that he will definitely like! Thanks Sissi!

  9. In Japan we have so many variations of tofu dishes without well-known names mostly because housewives create unique dishes. I never thought of wrapping tofu with pork belly or bacon before and that sounds like a fun and interesting idea! Love savory dishes that’s easy to make!

    1. Thank you, Nami. Yes, I have noticed on Cookpad that there are so many inventive home, simple tofu dishes…

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