Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Tofu "fish" fingers with tartare sauce
Over the past year or so I have tried a few fish substitute recipes using tofu and none of them really hit the spot. I didn't bother posting about any of these unsatisfactory experiences and continued searching for a better recipe. Last week I tried one that was so good it was immediately requested to go onto high rotation.
I bookmarked a recipe for crispy tofu scallops from cookbook author Bryanna Clark Grogan's blog earlier this year and was interested to try it out as the tofu was marinated prior to being crumbed and fried. Other recipes I had attempted before this one had been battered in a seafood flavoured mixture. Rather than cut the tofu into the shape of scallops as Bryanna had done which would have resulted in leftover tofu scraps, I cut my tofu into strips to resemble fish fingers.
The recipe sounded fantastic so I didn't want to change too much and only substituted a few ingredients that weren't on hand at home. The absence of dulse or nori flakes in my pantry was of no concern as I was certain that shredding half a sheet of nori would suffice. It did do the job although I would probably use a full sheet next time around. I'm always a little cautious when mimicking seafood flavours as they have never really been my thing. Bryanna had used a type of cereal made of bran flakes which gave her scallops a crunchy coating, I was quite happy to use some wholemeal breadcrumbs this time around.
Bryanna's accompanying tartare sauce recipe wasn't going to work out with the ingredients I had available and after a quick search I found a recipe on allrecipes.com that almost suited my needs. I substituted a couple of gherkins and some fresh dill for the sweet pickle relish and asked the man to be my taste tester as he has much more expertise eating tartare sauce than I do.
The crispy outer layer of the "fish" fingers combined with the tender tofu within was incredible and the tartare sauce paired perfectly with them. I'm tempted to to give this a try with frozen and thawed tofu another time for comparative purposes although this is a recipe I don't think I'll be playing around with too much.
Tofu "fish" fingers (Adapted from Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen)
350g firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetarian stir fry sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tablespoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ - 1 sheet of nori, shredded in a spice grinder
½ cup plain flour
½ cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 crusts wholemeal bread, processed into breadcrumbs
Peanut oil or other vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Cut the tofu into thirds lengthwise, then cut each piece of tofu into 6 even sized sticks. Whisk together the water, vegetarian stir fry sauce, lemon juice, oilive oil, garlic, sugar, salt and nori in a deep sided dish and add the tofu ensuring that it is well coated in the marinade. Allow to rest covered in the refrigerator for several hours if possible, or at least 30 minutes.
Organise 3 bowls for coating the tofu fingers, plain flour in the first, soy milk mixed with apple cider vinegar in the second and breadcrumbs in the third.
Heat oil in a deep sided frying pan. Test the oil's readiniess by placing a breadcrumb into the oil, if it sizzles the oil is hot enough. Cook the tofu fingers in batches. Fry on one side for about 3 minutes and then flip over and cook on the other side for a further 3 minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil.
Tartare sauce (Adapted from allrecipes.com)
½ cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Praise 97% fat free)
¼ small brown onion, very finely diced
2 gherkins, very finely diced
1 tablespoon dill, chopped finely
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl at least 30 minutes before serving. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.