Vegan Staples: Liquid Smoke

When I buy tofu or tempeh, I often choose the smoked versions. Why? Because I know that I’ll have to try less hard to induce flavour. When I’m hungry, I don’t want to have to wait and marinade my tofu first. But if it has already been smoked, then all I have to do is pan-fry it with some onions, mushrooms and broccoli and dinner is served quickly.

Lately I’ve been eating a lot of the Green Cuisine Smoked Tempeh, cut into cubes and mixed with a variety of vegetables.

A Smoky Taste

Adding a smoky flavour to your favourite vegan foods such as tempeh, tofu, seitan, etc. brings an instant charm to the table. While vegans and vegetarians do not deal with meat, they may miss the taste of smoked meat and bacon. Liquid smoke can bring some of the smoky taste, without having to touch the meat. Therefore, no cholesterol, animal cruelty, or extra calories from animal fat is involved, and you help stave off global warming too.

A Little History of Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke was first invented and commercialized by E.H. Wright in the United States in 1895.

How is Liquid Smoke Produced?

Wood chips or sawdust from hardwoods such as mesquite or hickory are heated at high temperatures and smoldered, producing smoke. This smoke is directed to a condenser which cools the vapours to yield condensation droplets of the vapour. The flavourful liquid smoke is then collected and purified of any residual tars or resins from the burnt material. The result is smoke-flavoured liquid that you can buy in a bottle. You don’t even have to step outside to smoke anything over a pit or in a smokehouse.

It is best if you select a product which does not contain any additives such as molasses, vinegar, salt, or colorants such as caramel colour. You should choose a brand with simply natural smoke and water, as any additives may interfere with the taste of the ingredients in what you are trying to prepare.

Here’s a Tofu Bacon Recipe I’ve Adapted from The Buddhist Chef

What you’ll need:

450 g firm tofu, sliced lengthwise, like bacon

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

In a bowl, mix together the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, maple syrup, oil, and liquid smoke. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper (or simply oil the baking sheet). Drench each of the tofu slices in the marinade mixture and place the slices on the baking sheet. Place in the oven at 375 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 15 minutes.

Now you have tofu bacon.

You can have this tofu bacon for breakfast as it is, or you can put it in a kebab or in a sandwich. The possibilities are endless.

Enjoy!