I’ve been thinking a lot about tofu recently, mainly about how bad of a rep it receives. That’s largely responsible for the way most restaurants treat tofu: cut it into big chunks and throw it into a soup completely raw. If somebody threw raw chicken into a soup, you’d probably have a bad impression of chicken too. I guess my point is this: anyone who likes chicken has no reason to hate on tofu. They’re both relatively tasteless, lean proteins that taste like whatever you season them with, which is what makes both of these foods so versatile.
Take these tofu fries for example. If Burger King can make “chicken fries” then we can make crispy, salty, deep-fried tofu with just a couple of ingredients, basic deep-fry know-how, and less than 40 minutes.
In popular No Eggs or Ham style, we’re throwing an Asian twist on this dish, by incorporating flavors such as coconut, lime, vegan fish sauce, and Sriracha. Albeit, that’s not much of a surprise considering that tofu wedges are a popular treat among boba shops, Japanese bakeries, and Oriental cafes.
All in all, this shareable snack is:
- Crunchy, tender, and saucy
- Savory, tangy, and lightly sweet
- Fragrant with tropical coconut & lime
- A vegan crowd-pleaser
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Don’t Be a Fry Hard
Crispy Coconut Panko Tofu Fries with Sweet Sriracha Lime Sauce (vegan)
Tender tofu is crusted in seasoned panko bread crumbs & shredded coconut, deep fried until golden brown, and served with a simple sweet, spicy, and tangy sauce.
- 1 14 oz block of extra firm tofu, drained
- 1/2 c tapioca or corn starch
- 3/4 c panko bread crumbs
- 3/4 c shredded coconut
- 3/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 4 1/2 tbsp Vegan Egg Powder
- 3/4 c cold water
- 3 tbsp vegan fish sauce
- 1/2 gal refined oil, for frying
- 2 tbsps agave nectar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsps vegan fish sauce*
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven or electric deep-fryer to 350° F. Line the bottom-side of a cookie sheet with paper towels and place a cooling rack upside down on top of that. Set aside for now.
- Place tofu block on its side and cut into three equal slices, thus creating three flat rectangles. Leaving them in stack, cut the rectangles into 1/2 strips, thus creating many long sticks (reference photo in post).
- Place a layer of double-thick paper towels on a cutting board, carefully lay out tofu sticks, and place another layer of double-thick paper towels on top of that. Gently press down to release excess moisture. Keep aside for now.
- Place tapioca starch in a cake pan or wide & shallow bowl. In a separate cake pan or bowl, whisk together panko, coconut, paprika, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. In a third container, whisk together vegan egg powder with water and fish sauce until smooth.
- Set up these pans near the fryer, with the starch being first, Vegan Egg being second, and bread crumbs being last and closest to the deep fryer.
- Place about 1/6 of the tofu sticks into the starch and gently move them around to coat, ensuring you cover the ends and every side.
- Wipe off as much starch as possible then transfer a few to the vegan egg mixture at a time. Move around to coat, wipe off excess, then transfer to the bread crumb mixture.
- Toss to coat in bread crumbs. Gently shake tofu to release any loose breadcrumbs, and place in the oil one at a time, working as quickly as possible to ensure each piece cooks evenly. Cook until tofu is golden brown and crispy; 45-60 seconds. Transfer to draining rig from Step 1.
- Repeat steps 6-8 for remaining batches. To avoid overcrowding, work in about 6 total batches.
- While tofu cooks, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Serve while fresh with dipping sauce!
*Vegan Fish Sauce can be found nearby normal fish sauce in many Oriental markets labeled as Vegetarian Mock Fish Sauce. A large bottle’s less than $4 and tastes better than any homemade version I’ve tried. It’s very salty, lightly sweet, and funky smelling, just like real fish sauce.