I’ve made ham-style deli slices before, but the taste wasn’t quite right. Liquid smoke is really hard to find here, and I couldn’t get the right flavor with smoked paprika.
A few days ago, in a health shop in Hereford, I discovered smoked tofu by viana. This stuff is awesome. It’s denser than regular tofu, and can be sliced really thin without crumbling. It has a really great smoky flavour. In fact, it’s very nice sliced and pan-fried… similar to bacon but without all that bad karma.
Anyhoo, I thought it would be the perfect ingredient to use in my experiments into vegan hammy perfection. I used less tofu and more water than usual because it’s more dense than regular tofu.
I was very happy with how the ham roll turned out. The smoked tofu imparted a delicious smoky flavour. I think there’s a nice balance of other flavours as well, though I might tweak it a bit next time (maybe a bit extra ketchup or tomato puree).
Instead of wrapping the roll in baking paper and foil before steaming, the way I usually do, I wrapped it in baking paper and cheesecloth. The latter is another thing that’s difficult to find here, but I finally tracked some down at Amazon. It worked well, but the roll ended up having flattened sides (using foil results in a perfectly round roll). Wrapping the cheesecloth tighter might work better.
Ham-style vegan deli slices
|30g||ground almonds||5 tablespoons|
|200g||smoked tofu||7 ounces|
|1/2||vegan chicken-style bouillon cube||1/2|
|1/2||vegan beef-style bouillon cube||1/2|
|1 tablespoon||soy sauce||1 tablespoon|
|1 tablespoon||tomato puree (tomato paste)||1 tablespoon|
|1 tablespoon||ketchup||1 tablespoon|
|3 tablespoons||mild vegetable oil||3 tablespoons|
|34g||finely chopped onion||1/4 cup|
|2 tablespoons||brown sugar||2 tablespoons|
|1 tablespoon||nutritional yeast||1 tablespoon|
|1 teaspoon||minced fresh garlic||1 teaspoon|
|3/4 teaspoon||pepper||3/4 teaspoon|
|1/2 teaspoon||salt||1/2 teaspoon|
|160g||vital wheat gluten flour||1 cup plus 3 tablespoons|
1. If you’re starting with whole almonds, grind them in the blender first while it’s still clean and dry, then remove and set aside.
2. Crumble the tofu into the blender. Put the bouillon cubes in a glass measuring cup and add a couple tablespoons of boiling water to dissolve the cubes. Add the soy sauce, tomato puree (tomato paste) and ketchup, then add enough cold water so the mixture equals 150ml (9-1/2 tablespoons). Add this to the blender.
3. Add remaining ingredients to blender EXCEPT gluten. Blenderise until completely smooth. Empty into a large mixing bowl.
4. Add gluten and mix until evenly combined. You’ll have a soft dough.
5. Turn out onto the countertop and form into a log. Wrap in baking paper and then in either aluminium foil or cheesecloth. (With foil, use a triple layer; with cheesecloth, a double thickness wrapped twice around.) Tie the ends with a couple pieces of string.
6. Bring water to boil in a pot that has a steamer insert. Steam for two hours over gently simmering water, turning roll a quarter turn every half hour. Check water level regularly to ensure the pot does not boil dry and add boiling water as necessary. Turn heat off and let cool for two hours.
Makes 600g (1-1/3 pounds).