What is about the word ‘tofu’ that makes it sound so…… unpalatable?
I used to shy away from tofu. Maybe because it came with that stigma of being blah and too ‘granola-y’. But the truth is probably more that I just didn’t understand how to work with it.
Recently I made tofu from scratch. It’s a relatively simple process, though one with a few steps that requires blending and soaking of soy beans, simmering, straining, coagulating and forming. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with creating dishes from scratch.
Store-bought tofu is a heck of a lot easier, for sure. The question remains of what to do with tofu? Tofu doesn’t have a lot of texture to it, so I definitely wanted to add crunch. Creating little tofu nuggets and breading the outside is a genius way to add crunch and flavor- exactly what tofu needs.
Basic bread crumbs (Panko bread crumbs offers a gluten free version if needed) are all that’s needed, but do take the time to flavor them. Fancy spices aren’t needed, use what you have- cumin and coriander, curry powder, an Italian seasoning blend or basic salt and pepper.
I offer two ways to cook the Tofu Nuggets- baked (healthier) or fried (more flavor and better texture). Divide the nuggets in half and try both methods.
Either way you cook the nuggets, I hope you’ll find tofu is actually a viable, delicious, protein option!
Tasty, Crunchy Tofu Nuggets
400g (roughly 14 oz) firm tofu
80g (roughly 10 tbls) potato flour
3 Tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbls lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
a few turns of cracked black pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs + seasoning: 1 tsp Italian seasoning + 1 tsp smoky paprika or use desired seasonings
Oil (if frying)- grapeseed or coconut
Directions to make Tofu Nuggets:
Squeeze water out of the tofu (see below for detailed directions). Mix the breadcrumbs with seasoning in a large shallow bowl. Set aside.
Roughly crumble the tofu into a food processor and add all the other ingredients except the breadcrumbs and oil for frying.
Blend well until you get a smooth mixture, adding a spoon or two of water if the tofu mixture is too thick to blend.
Then spoon out the mixture with a table spoon (it’s going to feel quite loose at this point), use a second spoon to release the nugget into breadcrumb bowl. Lightly toss to cover completely with crumbs. Cook as desired below (you can see the difference in the baked vs fried (darker) tofu nuggets in the photo above.)
How to oven bake Tofu Nuggets:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the breaded tofu on the parchment. The tofu nuggets won’t spread out, so they can be fairly close together if needed. If you have an oil spritzer, lightly spritz the nuggets. Bake in the oven until crispy and slightly golden (they won’t get overly browned), about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and enjoy.
How to fry Tofu Nuggets:
Choose a large fry pan or skillet, pour enough oil to be about and inch thick and apply medium-high heat. Test the oil with one nugget by carefully adding the nugget into the hot oil. The oil around the nugget should be sizzling, the bottom of the nugget should turn golden in brown in 1-2 minutes, flip and repeat on the other side. Repeat with remaining nuggets, be careful not to over load the pan with nuggets. Allow each nugget to have a little room around them; you will need to fry the nuggets in batches. Place the tofu nuggets on a paper towels to absorb excess oil, add a pinch of salt immediately. Serve while warm.
How to squeeze water out of tofu directions:
To reduce moisture ( i.e. squeeze as much liquid out) from tofu, wrap the tofu in a paper towel, then in a tea towel. Set on something that will allow the water to drain, like on a cookie rack set in a sheet pan, then place a heavy object on top of the tofu like a heavy pan, cans of food or a book. Let sit for 10-30 minutes.