Vegan Challenge day 15: crunchy tofu, perfect if you are in the mood for some junk food. Crunchy and golden brown on the outside, soft, salty and tangy on the inside. Funnily enough, the preparation is very zen. First you drain the tofu. And you wait. Then you cut it into cubes and marinade them. And you wait. Dip them in crumbs. Dip them in soya cream. Dip them in crumbs again. Wait again. Then you fry them. Then place them tenderly on kitchen paper to drain. For the cubes are very fragile and must be treated with the utmost care throughout. It may seem almost a shame to eat them. But I hope you will, because they really are delicious!
200 gr firm tofu, drained
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp soya sauce
pinch of thyme and rosemary
about 150 ml soya cream
about 180 gr breadcrumbs, course ones for preference
1tsp vegan bouillion powder (optional)
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for frying
Mix the olive oil, garlic, soya sauce, lemon juice and herbs in a smallish bowl or container. Slice the tofu into 2 cm cubes and drop into the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for an hour or more, and preferably overnight.
When you are ready to cook the tofu, put the cubes in a sieve to drain any excess marinade.
Put the crumbs in a wide bowl or deep plate and the soya cream in another. And put out a large plate. Season the cream with bouillon powder or salt and pepper.
Dip the cubes gently into the crumbs. Now lift them out one by one, coat in the cream, coat in the crumbs again and place on the plate. See below for illustrations. (You will probably have some cream mixture and crumbs left over, but it is much easier to breadcrumb the cubes if there is plenty in the bowls, so top up as necessary. And I have not found a way of doing this without getting thickly breadcrumbed fingers.)
Now fill a frying pan with about one cm of oil. Let it get really hot before gently but quickly putting in the cubes one by one. (It is a good idea to do this in batches rather than overcrowding the pan.)
When one side is golden brown, turn them over – yes, one by one – using two spoons or forks. Turn down the heat if they get too dark.
Once they are golden brown all over, lift out with a large slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Serve hot with spaghetti and salad, or perhaps just some garlicky eggless mayonaise for dipping.