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Chicken Fried Tofu Nuggets BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
Freeze-and-thaw preparation transforms soft tofu into chewy meat. Once the tofu is ready, you're 30-minutes away from a standing ovation. Mix and match flours, seasonings and toppings to create crunchy (or soft), mouthwatering and flavorful Vegan Fried Chicken Nuggets.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 3 days
Servings
nuggets
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 3 days
Servings
nuggets
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. The key to success with tofu nuggets is to freeze and thaw the tofu (TWICE if possible), and allow an extended dry time to avoid a goopy mess when applying coating. These two factors create an authentic nugget that most kids could mistake for actual chicken nuggets. Quick thaw in warm water (takes about an hour) to speed up the process.
  2. Freeze the tofu (still in the package). Remove and thaw. For best results, repeat (freeze and thaw again). Remove from package. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Wrap in a thick, absorbent towel (I use a big bath towel as kitchen towels can't absorb as much water.) Or use a tofu press.
  3. Once it's dry, you'll notice the texture is leathery. This is due to the expansion of the ice. When thawed, little holes are left. And when thoroughly dried, texture becomes chewier--similar to meat.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Gather three shallow bowls. Whisk the milk and tapioca in one bowl.
  6. In the second bowl, thoroughly mix the tapioca and flour (or corn meal) with seasonings. My simple recipe with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper is delicious. Or try your favorite seasoning blend, such as Cajun, Italian or Mediterranean. The key is adding enough salt, as the tofu is flavorless.
  7. In a third bowl, add quinoa or riced cauliflower (you can skip this to keep it simple.) I experimented with three varieties. The riced cauliflower coating stays soft, the quinoa gets crunchy, and the two-step (flour-only) is a happy medium. All options were a success. Note: I used store-bought frozen quinoa and riced cauliflower. Each had some water post-thaw that easily drained off.
  8. Cut the tofu into nuggets. Or just pull off chunks to avoid looking "square." Smaller chunks create a more flavorful result due to a higher breading:tofu ratio. Pat the nuggets again with a towel to maximize dryness.
  9. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  10. Dip nugget into milk/tapioca mixture. Drag through the flour/cornmeal mixture. Dip in the milk/tapioca a second time. (The second swipe through the liquid is where drying the tofu makes a difference. On my first try, the thawed tofu was still a bit wet. It was a goopy mess—but still edible, no worries.) Roll in the quinoa or cauliflower and place on baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browning occurs. Serve with your favorite sauce. (Or not—these are so flavorful, they don't need sauce.)
Recipe Notes

In the top picture, the nuggets on the left were only rolled in corn meal and cajun seasoning. I skipped the third coating (quinoa/cauliflower). They were still delicious. The nuggets in the center were rolled in almond flower, seasoned with just garlic and onion powder (and salt), and rolled in cauliflower. The nuggets on the right were made with almond flour and quinoa.

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