I'm a girl who likes challenges, and this recipe was definitely one! Kids LOVE finger food! For this special kids week, I wanted to find a tofu "nuggets" recipe that tasted almost like chick'n. I was looking for the best breaded tofu recipe so... I did another little battle in the kitchen! Hubby was desperate to see the piles of dishes to wash... but he forgot it all when he took a bite of my winner recipe! He said and I quote : "Some people aren't going to like it because it taste too much like real chicken! Those are the best tofu nuggets I've ever had!". Woot woot!
I mean look at these nuggets... I promise no animal were harmed!
What makes this recipe different from ALL the other breaded tofu I tried before is the fact that the tofu is actually frozen a day in advance to change its texture to a "meaty" texture (kind of like the "fake meat" you can buy in the stores). Also, to add more taste to the tofu, I soaked the thawed tofu in a vegetable broth. If you're in a hurry, you can still do the recipe without freezing the tofu, but the texture won't be as bluffing!
The end result is just incredible! I have to say I'm very proud of this one. I'm a perfectionist so I tasted six (!) different breading for this post. In my opinion, the winner recipe is pretty close to perfection! The tofu is first coated with corn starch, then dipped into this breading made out of oat flour, nutritional yeast, coconut sugar and spices. The resulting crust is crispy, flavourful and golden brown, everything you would expect from a real nugget! If you have a "tofu hater" at home, you might want to try this recipe :)
As for the dipping sauce, I made three simple versions :
- Sriracha mayo
- Honey dijon
- Spicy & smoked ketchup
And of course... I served my tofu popcorn with seasoned oven roasted potatoes (see my tips for perfect oven potato fries here)!
The best tofu popcorn/nuggets (Gluten-free, vegan)
This is my version of the "happy meal" (chick'n nuggets + fries) : a crispy breaded tofu with oven roasted potatoes and a honey dijon dipping sauce.
Recipe adapted from 40 aprons
Yield : serves 4
- 1 bloc firm organic tofu, frozen and thawed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon chicken spices (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1/2 cup (or more if needed) corn starch
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil)
- 1/2 cup oats blended into a flour (or 1/2 cup oat flour) - use certified gluten-free oats if your following a diet
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Dipping sauces :
- Sriracha mayo : 1/4 cup real or vegan mayonnaise + 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or more - to taste)
- Honey dijon : 1/4 cup real or vegan mayonnaise + 1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar if vegan) + pinch turmeric + 1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Chipotle ketchup : 1/4 cup ketchup + 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or spicy sauce + 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika + 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Break the tofu into uneven chunks/pieces with your hands. Freeze your tofu and then thaw in the fridge. If the tofu is not completely thawed, it will finish to thaw in the broth.
- Place tofu into a bowl and pour the vegetable broth, garlic and tamari over the top (you just have to make sure the tofu is completely covered). You can use a freezer ziploc bag if you want. Set aside in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.
- In a bowl, combine the oat flour, nutritional yeast, salt, sugar, pepper and spices together.
- In another bowl, pour the corn starch.
- Once the tofu has marinaded, gently dip the chunks with your hands into the corn starch. Remove the tofu from the cornstarch and dip into the breading. Make sure all the sides are coated. Repeat the process until all your pieces are well coated. Set aside. You can freeze your leftover vegetable broth for later if you want.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Gently place the tofu pieces in hot oil (I cook mine in two different batches, to make sure there's not too many and the skillet doesn't become too cold. You don't want your tofu to "boil" in the skillet!). Fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until crisp and browned evenly. This step if very important : the parts that aren't fried enough will remain kind of soft and "starchy". Remove from oil and set on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
- For the sauces : just mix the ingredients together and set aside in the fridge.
- Serve the tofu popcorn/nuggets with oven potato fries and your favourite dipping sauce or all of them like we did! It's less boring :) Voilà! See the smile on your kids faces :)