I’ve been a fan of tofu for a while but Andy on the other hand has taken a bit of persuading to get into it. However, these beautiful crunchy nuggets of delight seemed to have changed his mind. There was him thinking that tofu was just a bland and flavourless piece of vegan invention. But it’s not. It’s a fabulous source of protein much like the chicken. To be fair though it’s not cheap. A decent size 200g block is around £2 so it’s not something you can afford to have every day. But should you find it on special offer, then pop it in your basket and give this little recipe a go.
Breaded Tofu Nuggets
Yield 14 nuggets
Crunchy little ingots of tofu. Perfect on their own with dip or served with sweet and sour sauce and rice.
1 block of firm tofu (we used sweet ginger but you can just use plain).
For dipping in before breading
1/2 tsp ground flaxseed/linseed
1/2 cup/4 fl oz/125 ml milk
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup/90g breadcrumbs (panko for 100% vegan)
2 heaped tsp plain flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp bouillon powder
3 tbsp onion granules
salt and pepper to taste
To shallow fry
Press the tofu overnight (we used a tofu press from Tofuture) to remove as much liquid as possible. This then makes the tofu firmer to work with and soaks the marinade up easier. Remove from press and slice down the centre, then into equal pieces. We cut 14 nugget sized pieces.
In a bowl add the flaxseed/linseed, milk, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar. Mix well.
In another bowl add the breadcrumbs, flour, paprika, onion salt, nutritional yeast, bouillon powder and onion granules.
Put the bowls in front of you and with a one hand dip the tofu into the wet mixture, remove it and place it in the dry mixture then with your other hand coat the tofu generously. Don't attempt to do this with one hand or the dry mixture will end up soggy and won't stick to the tofu. Keep going until you have breaded the lot.
Once you've breaded each piece, wash your hands and then sprinkle the rest of the breaded mixture over the top the pieces, gently pressing more into each piece. Turn them over and do the same again until you have run out of the dry mix.
In a pan, add enough sunflower oil to about half the depth of the nugget, so it's partially submerged when it goes in the pan. Heat the oil to about 350-375°F (176-190°C). This will ensure that when the nuggets hit the pan they will sizzle and seal rather than sit soaking up the oil like a sponge.
Add a few to the pan, turning them when you see the underside turn golden brown and cook the other side. Don't crowd the pan. This only takes a few minutes so be aware as you don't want them to burn. Gently flip each nugget away from you so you don't splash yourself.
Between each batch, make sure the temperature of the oil comes back to optimum to ensure sizzle not saturation. Look for a nice golden brown. When they've turned a glorious shade of gold, remove them gently from the pan and place them on kitchen roll. This then absorbs any oil. Don't press them when you are draining them as they are hot and delicate. Once you've drained them you're done and ready to scoff!
These are a fantastic little snack, but easily turn into a feast when coated in sweet and sour sauce, laid over a bed of steaming hot jasmine rice. Give them a go and let me know what you think!