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Tofu Asparagus Yakitori

Yakitori are Japanese brochettes. We have made ours out of firm tofu and seasonal asparagus. They are liberally brushed with a sweet soya sauce as they grill. It is the brushing with sweet soya sauce and then grilling the Yakitori that gives them their umami taste.

Tofu and Asparagus Yakitori

Makes 4 Skewers

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 300g firm tofu
  • 4 fat asparagus stems
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling


  • 4 tbsp shoyu or light soya sauce
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • A thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, coarsely grated

You will also need 4 wooden bbq skewers, soaked in water for 15 minutes


  1. To make the yakitori marinade, gather the grated ginger in your hand, and squeeze the juice into a small saucepan. Add the shoyu or soya sauce, mirin, sugar and toasted sesame oil and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes until it has reduced a little and become slightly syrupy. Set aside to cool.
  2. Slice the tofu into 12 pieces and the asparagus into 16 pieces. (This will make 3 pieces of tofu and 4 of asparagus for each skewer)
  3. Alternately thread alternating asparagus and tofu pieces onto the skewers beginning and ending with a piece of asparagus. Place onto an oiled foil or parchment lined grill tray, and cover the wooden skewer ends with a piece of foil to protect from burning.
  4. Brush the marinade onto the skewered tofu and asparagus, then place the tray under a hot grill.
  5. After a minute or two, carefully turn the skewers over and brush the upper side with more marinade. Repeat until all sides are brown and sticky, then brush with the remaining marinade before serving.
  6. Serve hot from the grill sprinkled with sesame seeds, with the seaweed salad and some pickled carrots on the side.

Seaweed Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 1 minute


  • 25g arame
  • 25g wakame

Ponzu dressing

  • 3 tbsp shoyu or light soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp white rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Cover the arame and wakame seaweed in hot water and soak for 20 minutes. Set aside and then drain in a colander.
  2. Make the ponzu dressing by mixing the shoyu, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the soaked drained arame and wakame and mix well to coat in the dressing.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until they smell aromatic and begin to pop. Set the toasted sesame seeds aside in a small bowl and add to the salad to serve.

Pickled Carrots and Ginger

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100ml white rice vinegar
  • 2 heritage carrots (purple and orange are a pretty combination)
  • 2 x thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger
  • 2 x 350-400g sterilised jam jars with lids


  1. Shred the carrots with a julienne peeler or spiralizer.
  2. Peel the ginger and slice as thinly as possible.
  3. Place the carrots into the jam jars keeping the colours separate. Divide the ginger between each jar.
  4. Place the sugar, salt, and vinegar in a small pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved completely.
  5. Pour the hot vinegar into each jar pushing the carrots down so they are submerged in the pickling solution. They are ready to eat once cool but are better if allowed to mature for a few days.
  6. Allow to cool properly, then screw the lids on and sit the jars somewhere cool for 3 days, before storing in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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