I’ve been a little obsessed with everything tiki/’50s faux Polynesian lately. So I decided to try my hand at make vegan rumaki.
Rumaki is a faux Polynesian dish that consists of chicken livers and a water chestnut on a toothpick wrapped in bacon and broiled. Sounds like a vegan’s delight, right? According to Wikipedia, rumaki was first concocted in the 1940s for Don the Beachcomber’s tiki restaurant.
So what did I use as a vegan substitute for chicken livers? I used firm tofu. I don’t know how genuinely similar it is, since I’ve never had chicken liver, but I figured it would work. For the bacon, I used Morningstar bacon. The taste was good, but the problem with pretty much all vegetarian bacon is low fat content—it burns really easily. I wish some company would make a fattier vegan bacon for dishes like this. I know that sounds horrible, but seriously, it would be a huge help.
Other than the easily burning bacon, I was happy with how my rumaki turned out. I think next time I’ll slice the bacon length-wise, leaving two long, thin strips—this way I could wrap it completely around the water chestnut and tofu. I might also experiment with other brands of meatless bacon.
Anyway, here’s the recipe. Try it for your next tiki party or any time you get a craving for something bacon-wrapped.
1/2 cup tamari sauce
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 package firm water-packed tofu, drained and pressed
1 8 oz can slice water chestnuts
1 package vegan bacon
Whisk together the tamari, water, sugar and ginger. Set aside. Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces—about 1-inch wide and just under 1/4 inch thick. Cut the bacon slices in half (width-wise, or length wise, depending on how you want to wrap it). Sandwich a water chestnut slice and tofu chunk together and wrap with a piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Continue until you’re out of bacon. Place the rumaki in a large bowl or pan and cover with the tamari mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 6–8 hours.
After the rumaki has marinated, drain and place your rumaki on a foil-covered pan. Broil under medium heat until the bacon is cooked, turning often. Be careful not to burn the bacon. Total cooking time will be around ten minutes.