Although not exactly like bacon, of course, thinly sliced mushroom soaked in a smoky maple concoction, then pan-fried, makes a lovely vegan substitute for the hallowed pork strips
60ml (¼ cup) maple syrup
2,5ml (½ tsp) Hickory liquid smoke (available at woolworths.co.za)
5ml (1 tsp) olive oil
large pinch Maldon Sea Salt
3 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 x 297g blocks tofu, cut into roughly 3cm cubes
5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
10ml (2 tsp) ground coriander
pinch smoked paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh basil leaves, to serve
pinch dried chilli flakes, to serve
HOW TO DO IT
1. For the mushroom bacon, add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl, toss well to combine and coat all of the mushroom slices. Allow to marinate, 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
2. Heat a frying pan over very high heat and fry the mushroom strips in batches until slightly charred, about 2 minutes per side, discarding the smoky marinade before frying. Set the mushrooms aside until needed. Simply wipe the pan out, coat the tofu in the slices and seasoning and add the tofu to the pan in batches. Fry the tofu cubes on all sides, turning very gently, so as to not break the delicate tofu, about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until slightly charred.
3. To serve, carefully thread the ingredients onto skewers, arrange the skewers on plates and garnish with fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes. Add a little more seasoning if necessary (I find tofu needs a fair amount of salt to bring out the flavours).
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