Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crispy Tofu

I have been collecting recipes since I was 15. In human years, that was a long time ago! But seriously, I am the recipe queen. When I became vegan, I did start going through my collection and tossing many that were meat based. I stopped doing that when the proverbial light bulb went off, and I realized I could veganize just about anything! Well, most anything, but you get the idea. It has led to some rather tasty new dishes!

Crispy Tofu

1 package of extra firm tofu, frozen in the package, boiled, sliced thin
Plain soy milk
1/2 c. whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 c. garbanzo bean flour
1/4 c. chopped pecans
2 T. flaxseed
1 t. paprika
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. salt
pinch of black pepper
Olive oil

Pour soy milk into a flat bowl for dipping purposes. Mix up all the dry ingredients in a separate flat bowl for dipping. Heat oil in frying pan.
Dip tofu slices first in milk, then coat well in the dry ingredients mixture. Fry in oil until nicely brown on one side, flip and fry on other side. Serve.

You can serve it with any kind of gravy of your choice.

My family laughs at me, claiming they always know when Mom has been frying based on the amount of smoke in the house. Ha ha. Because this teasing in not unwarranted, I have learned a few things about frying along the way.

•Choose an oil with a high smoke point. The idea here is that there should be as big a difference as possible between the smoke point of the oil and the cooking temperature recommended. For frying at 375ºF, try canola, safflower, or grapeseed oil. If you prefer olive oil, like I do, the olive oil grade "olive oil," is excellent because it has a higher smoke point (410º F) than virgin or extra virgin oils.

•Use a spatter screen to protect you and keep your stovetop clean. Seriously, otherwise you will have little dots of oil on everything in a two foot radius.

•If you are deep frying, leave a margin of at least 2 inches at the top of the pan to prevent oil from overflowing when food is added and help keep spattering contained.

•Just before you start to fry the food, sprinkle about a quarter teaspoon of coarse kosher salt into the oil to keep it from splattering.

•Be sure the food is patted dry before immersing it. Drops of moisture can cause spattering. No kidding! Any moisture will make the oil spit and if you don't want to get popped, watch the moisture! Coat pieces well with dry ingredients to help cut down on any spattering.

•Lower food gently into hot oil; don't drop it from high up.

•If using tongs, keep them pointed downward to prevent hot oil from dripping down the handles. Having done this more than once with boiling water, I can attest to this!

•Work in small batches. The temperature of the oil decreases as soon as you add food to it.

•Monitor the oil temperature carefully and make sure it doesn't go above what the recipe specifies. As particles collect in the frying oil, the smoke point lowers, which increases your chances of fire. I use a metal strainer type utensil to remove as much of the particles as I can.

Frying need not be a scary or even dangerous cooking method, if you follow some simple rules. Enjoy!


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