Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Extreme Vegan Makeover: Buffalo Tofu Fries Edition
The 4th of July may be over but that doesn't mean you can't still have fireworks - and not the kind that are harmful to people, animals and the environment. These fireworks are for your tastebuds!
I am always looking for new ways to recreate Buffalo Wings which were my favorite thing to eat before I broke through my denial and became educated about where my food comes from. Now the thought of eating actual wings from a bird doesn't make me hungry. It makes me sad, angry and disgusted. How many chickens had to suffer and be murdered to make the giant plate of wings I used to order?
I cannot put into words how much shame and regret I carry for that. But all I can do is move forward and try to create recipes that can give me (and other people) that spicy, delicious Buffalo Sauce flavor without the cruelty.
Since going veg, Tom and I have tried Buffalo "Wings" at a lot of restaurants and for us, the clear winner is Curly's Vegetarian Lunch in NYC. Their "wings" have the perfect texture and the zingiest, most delicious Buffalo Sauce. They are served with Vegan ranch dressing and of course, celery and carrot sticks. And best of all, they don't put those stupid wooden sticks into them to emulate bones. There are some restaurants that do that and it's just creepy and unappetizing.
At home, I've made Buffalo Seitan before but since I'm eating a gluten-free diet, I needed to find another way to satisfy my Buffalo Sauce craving. These Buffalo Fries are made with tofu. I call them "fries" because I cut the tofu into french fry shapes and because it sounds a lot better than "wings" (and I don't want to do the whole misspelling-the-word-so-it's-not-a-real-animal-part thing. Wyngz? Really? I don't think so).
These Buffalo Tofu Fries are fast and easy to make. The sauce is simple yet firey and spicy. Served with carrot and celery sticks and your favorite dipping sauce (we made a simple vegan ranch), it's the perfect answer to that craving for an old favorite.
Now these are my kind of fireworks!
Buffalo Tofu “Fries”
1 package of tofu, frozen, thawed, drained & pressed
1/3 cup hot sauce
4 Tbs. light Vegan butter, melted
1 Tbs. agave nectar
½ cup chickpea flour
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs. onion powder
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 Tbs. safflower oil
Cut the tofu into shapes that resemble French fries. In a large resealable storage bag or in a shallow bowl, add the flour and the spices. Add the tofu fries to the bag or bowl and toss them around gently until the tofu is covered in the seasoned flour.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Shake off the excess flour from the tofu fries and cook them in batches in the pan until they are browned and crispy. This might take about 4-5 minutes per side. The 2nd batch will cook faster since the pan and the oil will be hotter.
While the tofu fries are cooking, combine the hot sauce, Vegan butter and agave in a large bowl and whisk.
When the tofu fries are cooked, transfer them to the hot sauce mixture and toss to coat.
Serve with celery and carrot sticks and the dipping sauce of your choice. We made a Vegan “ranch” dressing by combining mayo, sour cream, dill, and pickle relish.