You’re confused, I know. A vegan fried chicken recipe on a cake blog?? Yep. I’ve been experimenting with vegan cooking, eating and baking over the last several years and this vegan fried chicken recipe blew my fragile little mind and I felt the need to share. Especially since everyone loves a crappily lit iPhone photo! Crispy, salty, flavourful, juicy?? How could tofu do this. HOW. Well, the fine folks at Sweet Simple Vegan came up with it, and the “chickeny” texture of the actual tofu comes from one easy hack – freezing the tofu, TWICE, before using. The tofu freezing method is a trick they learned from Mary’s Test Kitchen and it is so … cool, hehe.
The great thing about this recipe is you can use whateverrrr spice mix situation you want. Karaage vibes? Garlic, ginger, sugar, soy, salt and pepper. KFC vibes? Follow Sweet Simple Vegan’s exact spice mix for their vegan KFC fried chicken. I went with whatever I had in the cupboard, which happened to be garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Just be warned – once you make this, you won’t be able to stop. Serve on top of brown rice and salad to pretend you’re being a bit healthy. Or slam into a burger bun with hot sauce and pickles. (Note, you will get your fingers coated in batter-y-ness when prepping this dish, but fear not – you can wash your hands.)
Vegan Fried Chicken
For the tofu
- 1 16 oz package of medium firm tofu
- 2 cups Faux chicken broth or Vegetable broth , such as Better Than Bouillon
For the buttermilk
- 11/2 cups plant milk, I used unsweetened soy milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the coating
- 11/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
- Flakey sea salt and more fresh ground pepper to finish
- Enough vegetable oil for a shallow fry-up! 4 cups or so.
Prepare the tofu
- You need to freeze and defrost your tofu twice to get the right texture, so really you could just keep blocks of tofu in the freezer until needed.
- Once the tofu is thawed for the second time, press the excess liquid from it by laying the tofu between two cutting boards. Use paper towel to blot up any more liquid.
- Gently apart the tofu into chicken wing-esque pieces – don’t worry if you end up with some weird small pieces, you can batter and fry those too.
- Place the broken up tofu piece carefully into the vegetable broth to marinate, about 15 minutes.
- Now it’s time to set up the dredging stations! In one shallow medium bowl, stir together the plant milk and apple cider vinegar. It will begin to thicken quickly, forming your “buttermilk.”
- In another medium sized bowl, combine the flour, seasonings and panko crumbs.
- Side by side, line up the marinating tofu, the buttermilk, the flour mixture and an additional plate to lay the finished pieces.
- Carefully remove the marinated tofu and submerge into buttermilk, then place into the flour mixture to coat. Place finished pieces on the plate. Once you are finished coating all the pieces, you can repeat the process for extra coating crunch!
- If your tofu falls apart, don’t fret – just squish the pieces back together as best you can, and once it hits the hot oil, carefully press pieces together using metal tongs to reform shapes.
Fry the tofu
- Heat your vegetable frying oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot until it reaches 350-375 degrees.
- Carefully place your coated pieces into the oil to crisp and brown, turning pieces as needed.
- Place on paper towel to drain and sprinkle generously with flakey sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Serve while hot and crispy!