Soy, galangal and star anise tofu & mango tacos

15 Jul

Soy, galangal and star anise tofu & mango tacos

Soy, galangal and star anise tofu & mango tacos

I took my toddler to the pool today and because I’m hanging on to every precious day and really feeling the countdown towards loosening the cord a little more, I was even more patient with him. He was even more ecstatic than usual. ‘I love you so much in the swimming pool’ he told me, and he also told me that he was going to ‘demonstrate’ his ‘swimming skills’. He is not even 2.5years old yet.

So here is the thing. Whilst he was shivering post-swim under my deep red towel and as we walked to find a large changing cubicle he chatted away to a member of the cleaning staff. He asked her about her favourite planet, car and animal. She asked him if he likes chocolate and he didn’t reply. He noticed that three of this softly spoken and calm looking staff’s colleagues kept walking by but nobody said hello to her. He asked me why? Well. What do you tell a not-yet-2.5 year old?

I had the same questions in my first job at the Bank of England. I had the same question in my last role at a household name-type brand. I thought it would be different in my new world. My new world is cluttered and tangled in a new way because it has emotion and passion factored in.

I was quite tempted to change the topic, but thought better. I told him that some people like to feel important, like a super hero. Some people like think Mars is better than Earth. Mars is amazing because it is red and Martians and they think they are cool because they don’t get dehydrated but people on Earth think they are cool if they are have lots and lots of stuff. ‘But that’s messy isn’t it’ he asked. ‘Yes’, I said. It certainly is.

So, here is a recipe that isn’t cluttered, it is simple. But you can get messy whilst eating it-if you fancy celebrating the glorious mess that one can be (me for a start). If you read my posts regularly (thank you if you do) then you will be familiar with how I love to balance contrasting senses. In tune with that, the (certainly not bland) tofu is salty, warm and bold. The mango is sweet and juicy. Then you’ve got spring onions. Who is celebrating a messy life with me?

The hubby recently bought Dhruv Baker’s book SPICE for me as a thank you. I have been instrumental in helping him (the husband) shed a few KG in weight with some of the lean recipes I have been cooking and in his book Dhruv cooks duck with some of the essences that I have used in the tofu. It works.

Ingredients to serve two

One block of firm tofu

2 tbsp. soy sauce

One medium sized mango, cut into thin strips or julienne

3 tbsp. kecap Manis

1 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder

150ml water

3 star anise

8 taco shells

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp. cooking oil

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. galangal paste

3-4 spring onions, finely chopped


  1. Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper and leave it to stand until the excess moisture has been soaked up before cutting it into large chunks of roughly 3cm cubed.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and shallow fry the tofu until it is crisp and lightly golden.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Pour in the soy sauce, then the star anise and rice wine vinegar and mix through. Then add the 5 spice powder, galangal and kecap Manis and combine well.
  5. Pour in the water and reduce the heat to a medium to low flame and cook until the moisture has been absorbed and the tofu looks well coated and almost crisp.
  6. Compile the tacos by cooking the shells per packet instructions and adding the fillings as you like. Serve immediately whilst the tofu is still hot.


8 Responses to “Soy, galangal and star anise tofu & mango tacos”

  1. Traditionally Modern Food July 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Wow mango tacos looks yummy. Love the addition of tofu

    • Deena Kakaya July 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

      Thanks so much, the ingredients balanced each other well x

  2. Selma's Table July 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Your boy is lucky to have a mama like you, Deena. xx

    • Deena Kakaya July 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Selma, it’s so lovely to hear from you, how are you? It’s been a while.

      From one mumma to another, he and I are lucky and I try to hang on to that and not over-think the future. I try 😉 xx

  3. Anita Menon July 16, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    It is that age where the questions begin and then they don’t stop. It is a lot of fun and you can surprise yourself how imaginative and creative you can be with your child.
    The tacos look perfect. I love mango with everything.

    • Deena Kakaya July 16, 2014 at 6:48 am #

      Yes and he raises a good question about hierarchy.

      So glad that you like the tacos. X

  4. Katie @ Whole Nourishment July 16, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Messy in life and on the plate is okay. It has to be okay, we can’t avoid it sometimes can we?! Mango and five spice together in a taco. Love this idea!!

    • Deena Kakaya July 16, 2014 at 7:41 am #

      Katie that is so true, think we just have to embrace it or risk being stressed more than is necessary!

      I’m so glad that you like it, mango was the the perfectly balancing item x

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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