You should really try out this recipe for Tofu Hot wings. You really should. I know that in the past you’ve taken one look at tofu and thought that you’d rather jump off a building than submit yourself to that kind of torture. Okay, maybe you didn’t have such extreme feelings on the subject of tofu, but if you’re anything like me, tofu is the kind of thing that you wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. At least that used to be the case for me.
Until I tried some well-prepared Szechuan tofu at a restaurant in Seattle on a whim, I didn’t know about the potential that tofu has. But it was also extremely clear from eating that meal that tofu isn’t something that you can just throw in a pot with some seasonings and get a great result every time. There’s definitely much more care involved in the process, and I’ve wanted to get to the bottom of the tofu mystery ever since.
However, more than once I bought blocks of tofu with the best of intentions of vegan master-chefery, only to let them eventually spoil. Every time I’d open that fridge door, I’d see that tofu staring at me: reminding me that I had no clue what I was doing and that I’d probably do it wrong anyway. After I repeated that cycle a few times, I figured that my heart wasn’t ready for this undertaking and I stopped wasting my money on tofu I wouldn’t use.
Flash forward a year later, and I’ve thrown caution to the wind. I made a successful Tofu Scramble and then loved its addition to Miso Soup. Having had some preliminary success with just throwing my tofu in the pan and hoping for the best, I felt ready for more of a challenge. Of course at the end of it all, I really didn’t have anything to fear in the first place. It’s so weird how you can psych yourself out from something silly like trying to cook with tofu. Although I had to make a few little tweaks to the recipe and my techniques for it to turn out perfect, it tasted great on the first attempt as well.
I’m so happy that I found Stephanie Weaver’s Vegan Hot Wings Recipe at reciperenovator.com. The few changes I made to her recipe make it exactly to my satisfaction, but this chick obviously knew what she was talking about. Now, I don’t have to fantasize about reliving the old days when I used to love eating a whole order of hot wings to myself. I can make my delectable vegan swap instead.
Tofu Hot Wings
16 ounces of the firmest tofu you can find, pressed
1/2 cup tapatio (other thin hot sauces=OK)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
Shake ‘n’ Bake:
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup almond milk
2 oz. vegan cream cheese
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp black pepper
To save on a little time, you can buy tofu that has already been pressed. I tried this out for my first attempt and the pressed tofu that I purchased from the Asian market turned out great. I was able to make and eat everything on the same day. However, on my second attempt I pressed out the super-firm tofu wrapped in a towel under a 3-high stack of college textbooks overnight and I liked that result slightly better. The texture of the tofu was really about the same as the pre-pressed version, but my overnight pressed version had some really-cool-kinda-rough-looking-smashed edges that made for a more interesting shape.
For the best results, I’d definitely press the tofu myself the night before and I’d prepare the Ranch Dip the night before as well. Prepare the Ranch Dip by blending all the ingredients together. I found that allowing that extra day for those spices to really settle in the dressing transformed it into something that was much better than your average dairy ranch dip. Then in the morning, you can shape the tofu into the pieces you’ll want and get them marinating.
For shaping the individual pieces themselves, I cut the length of the pressed tofu block in half and then each half into 6 pieces. For the less gnarly looking inside pieces, I took out my vegetable peeler and shaved off the corners for a smoother look. The end look was totally worth the extra effort by the way.
I pricked my tofu with a fork in multiple directions and coated it in the entire marinade. There’s no need to separate a portion of the marinade out for later; that will just create more of a mess to clean up. Just prepare the marinade directly into a Tupperware or whatever you’re going to use to marinate these little tofu guys and let them soak up that awesome flavor for at least 4 hours.
Then you turn on the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with wax paper. Spray it with a thin layer of cooking spray to prevent sticking. Do a little shake ‘n’ bake to fully coat the tofu with the Shake ‘n’ Bake mixture and arrange them on the baking sheet. You’ll just want to put those suckers in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake another 10. Once they’ve cooked a little on each side, dip these little tofu guys back into the marinade, getting them fully coated, and cook for another 5-10 minutes. They’ll come out as crispy hot little tofu tenders.
Serve immediately with that Ranch Dip you prepared last night. These Tofu Hot Wings do not mess around. They are HOT (in the best possible way in my professional opinion), so cooling down with come crisp celery and fresh strawberries is the perfect complement to this fantastic tofu concoction.