Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Crispy Crunchy Stuffed Tofu


Don't you think the tofu looks like it's breaded in little cocoons? CreEEepy!
Say, did anyone get to see my crispy crunchy stuffed tofu article in Herbivore this month? I originally wrote it for Papa Tofu, and then today I made a new Autumnal version, with stuffed delicata squash. They're crisping in the oven as I type, and the recipe is your little Halloween treat. Just consider this a variation to the filling recipe below:

For the Squash Filling:
  • 1 Delicata squash, steamed or baked until soft and pureed (3/4-1 cup puree)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used a combo of fennel tops, basil, marjoram, rosemary and parsley)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened plain soy yogurt or Vegenaise.
  1. Saute the onion and jalapeño in olive oil, Earth Balance and salt until soft and beginning to brown.
  2. Add the coriander and cumin and saute to fry spices 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add in 1/8 cup of fresh herbs and saute for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  4. Combine the onion mixture with the Delicata puree, and blend once more until mostly smooth.
  5. Mix in the remaining 1/4 cup of herbs and yogurt/Vegenaise and season to taste with more salt.
To fill tofu, simply follow the steps below, I added extra herbs to bowl two and breaded with rice crispy cocoons.
BTW, I'm in love with anthropomorphic tofu.---
 
Crispy Crunchy Stuffed Tofu Pockets
Makes 4-6 Servings
(To make an un-stuffed version, just skip the pocket and filling directions)

Prepare Tofu Triangles: 

  • 16oz tofu, extra firm

  1. Rinse the tofu and blot dry.
  2. Cut the tofu as shown in the picture above. Aim to get 12 triangles out of a 16oz block of tofu, sliced approximately 1/2” thick.
  3. With a sharp pointed knife, carefully cut a pocket into each triangle, down through the hypotenuse. Be careful not to cut all the way through the bottom or side, but if you do, no worries, the tofu pockets will forgive you later. Set aside.

For the Filling (or try the squash version above):
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Tony Charchere’s salt-free seasoning, or another salt-free seasoning blend*
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and cayenne pepper, to taste

Prepare the filling:

  1. Steam the spinach in a little water until soft. Drain and squeeze out all of the liquid you can. Set aside. (If you want to use another green like broccoli, chard or arugula, you’ll need about 1/2 cup veggies, after you’ve squeezed them out).
  2. Over medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic and salt in the olive oil until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown.
  3. Add the cumin and seasoning mix and sauté to brown the spices, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the frozen peas and spinach, and stir regularly until the peas are defrosted and there is not much liquid remaining, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender until mostly smooth, a few chunks of onion or peas are OK. Mix in the chopped cilantro and season to taste with more salt and a bit of cayenne pepper for heat.
  6. With a small spoon and your fingers, carefully fill each pocket with a heaping tablespoon or so of filling. The pockets should be quite filled, but not bursting at the seams. Don’t worry, if one of the seams rips through, it’ll get fixed when it’s breaded.

For the Breading:

  • unbleached white flour, divided
  • salt, divided
  • Tony Charchere’s salt-free seasoning*, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or rice vinegar
  • 2 cups crunchy stuff, partially ground—give them a couple of super quick pulses in a food processor (my favorite is rice crispies or raw pumpkin seeds—see note below)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil for greasin’ the pan
  • cooking spray
  1. Set up a 3 bowl work station. This method results in an amazin’ breading, try it on some seitan or mushrooms.
  2. In the first bowl, mix together 3/4 cup unbleached white flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or mild paprika).
  3. In the second bowl, mix together 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or rice vinegar (the acid will curd the milk and thicken it up like a vegan buttermilk).
  4. In the third bowl, mix together 1/4 cup unbleached white flour, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of crunchy stuff.
  5. Preheat your oven to 425F and oil a cookie sheet with 3 tablespoons of canola oil.
  6. Place your tofu next to bowl one, and place your cookie sheet next to bowl three, so you have a functional station and can place the tofus on the cookie sheet as you work.
  7. Designate one of your hands as the wet hand and one as the dry hand, this will keep you from getting doughy club fingers.
  8. With your dry hand, place two tofus in bowl one. Pat them in the seasoned flour and make sure they are covered completely, especially over the pocket slit (hypotenuse side). Shake off any excess flour and carefully place them in bowl two.
  9. With your wet hand, flip the tofu over so they are completely moistened. Place them in bowl three.
  10. With your dry hand, flip the tofu around in the breading mixture and firmly pat them down on each edge. You want all of the tofu covered with the crunchy bits. Lay them on the cookie sheet and repeat from step 8 until all of the tofu are on the cookie sheet.
  11. Spray the tops of the tofu with the cooking spray and bake for about 30 minutes. Check the bottom of the tofu; you want them to be a rich golden brown. When brown, spray the top of the tofu once more and flip with a spatula. Brown the other side, it’ll probably take another 20-25 minutes.
  12. When golden brown on both sides, remove. Season the hot tofu with a sprinkling of salt and dig in.
* I’m a humongous fan of salt-free seasoning blends. If your Tony Charchere’s has gone missin’, try some Mrs. Dash’s, lemon pepper, Vegit, or whatever you fancy. Just make sure it’s salt-free so you can adjust the flavor without worrying about things getting too salty.
† Try substituting any of the following for some of the white unbleached flour in bowls 1 and 3: corn meal, masa harina, corn starch, whole wheat flour (or flours from non wheat grain), or more nutritional yeast.
‡ Crunchy stuff could include: cereal (rice crispies, coarsely ground Chex, corn flakes, kamut flakes), raw seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), or chopped raw nuts (peanuts, cashews, pecans).

8 comments:

  1. Kittee, your blog makes me so happy. I definitely making this tonight or tomorrow for dinner. I have so many delicata squash from our garden waiting to be loved.

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  2. thanks everyone, this post is a little bit of my soul.

    sarchan, i hope you made them. the delicata filling is my new favorite, especially with a bit of rosemary. so good, cuz the herbs steam inside the tofu and flavor it through and through, while the crust seals it all in.

    xo
    kittee

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  3. I love the little cocoons! hehe.. creepy and cute all the same time, somehow. I can't wait to make this, though I'm a bit nervous about tearing the tofu as I put filling inside.

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  4. Your diagrams are amazing, not to mention how that recipe sounds!

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  5. I did in fact make them! And, incidentally, just posted about it. :)

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  6. Those look SO good.

    And by the way, any recipe that uses the word "hypotenuse" is just great.

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