These vegan version of popcorn chicken is the perfect amount of crisp and crunch. With a few tofu marinating tips you’ll have some flavourful “chicken” that has a great texture. Such a simple yet nutritious meal to add into your kids lunches or your dinner rotation each week.
- 1 lb block tofu pressed and drained of liquid
- 1/4 cup liquid aminos + 1 Tbsp of soy sauce or tamari
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup of any nut milk (I prefer unsweetened almond milk)
- 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar or regular vinegar
- 1 cup gluten free flour or regular flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour)
- 1 1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
- 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup of olive oil if pan frying, instructions for baking in oven are under
- Take your pressed tofu and slice it in half length wise (so you end up with two large slices the same length and width as original). Tea the tofu into 1 inch cubes. I like to use a ruler to help me measure the first tear, then use that as a guide.
- In a bowl or glass Tupperware, add all the marinade ingredients and stir to combine. Taste it, you can add more liquid aminos if you want yours saltier, or more water. Add in tofu and stir to combine so all the tofu is coated. Marinade for at least 15 minutes, but up to overnight. While marinating, prepare your bowls with the flour, the buttermilk, and the crumbs.
Batter & Crumb Mixture
- In a bowl, add the nut milk of choice and the apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine and let sit for about 2 minutes. This is your buttermilk mixture.
- Add the flour to its own bowl and line up side by side.
- In a bowl add the crumb mixture ingredients. You can use gluten free panko breadcrumbs or make your own by food processing 1 1/4 cups of brown rice krispies. Line up in a bowl beside the buttermilk. Line a baking sheet beside that – this is where you’ll place your tofu pieces before pan-frying them, or layer them to bake them.
Putting it All Together
- Take one tofu piece from the marinade. Dip it into the flour, shaking off all the excess flour, then into the buttermilk. Shake of the excess buttermilk, then dip it back into the flour, then into the buttermilk again, shaking off all the excess again. Then dip it into the crumb mixture, roll around, and place on the baking sheet.
- Once you get the hang of it, you can add several pieces at a time. This battering process is very forgiving.
- When you’re done all the pieces, it’s time to cook them.
Cooking the Tofu
- Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add one piece of tofu. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side (check for browning) or until golden brown., then flip and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes on the other side. Remove to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- Continue to cook the rest, but you can now add several pieces of tofu now that you’ve tested that the oil is hot and you have your cooking time figured out. Don’t overcrowd the pan since it’ll reduce the temperature the oil, making them not as crispy. It’s best to leave enough space between each piece of tofu.
- Continue until you’ve cooked all of the tofu. Allow to cool slightly, then serve immediately by itself, or with a dipping sauce. You can also add these to tacos, sandwiches and many other uses!
- to BAKE: Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Line the battered and breaded tofu pieces on the baking sheet and spray with some cooking oil on both sides. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping once way at the halfway mark. Serve and enjoy!
If you can’t fin liquid aminos you can use low sodium soy sauce, just taste it before adding the tofu to ensure it’s not too salty. You can also sub coconut aminos.
Here’s the best way to press tofu. Wrap the tofu in some paper towel, then with a kitchen towel around that. That way the kitchen towel is much easier to wash and doesn’t have pieces of tofu in it. Wrap it like a blanket around a baby. Put a heavy pan on top, like a cast iron skillet. Then put two books in or on top of that. Balance it so it doesn’t fall off, and leave It to be pressed for about 30 minutes. The tofu should be smaller, and the kitchen towel should be wet with the water from the tofu. Now you can proceed and use this. This makes tofu absorb flavours so much better, and gives it an amazing texture too.
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