Tofu Nuggets with Chipotle Mayo Dip

Tofu Nuggets with Chipotle Mayo Dip
 

What The Dickens Do I Do With Tofu?! - Part Two

And here we are again. Talking about tofu. Prepare to have your taste buds blown.

My vegetarian husband and I have tasted our fair share of fake meats. It's not that the item has to taste like meat, but I thought it actually tasting like food shouldn't be too much to ask for. Apparently, that can be a tall order to fill. Here come the "fake chicken nuggets, with no chicken, that still taste dern good!".

These ingredients give the tofu a lot of texture and a lot of flavor: tofu with egg and mustard to coat, panko crumbs, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and salt for the coating, and chipotle, mayonnaise and parsley for a dipping sauce.  You could skip some of what's listed ... but why! These turn the tofu from "meh" to "omgomgomg".

The tofu in the image above is after it's thawed. This one below is frozen. Don't be alarmed by the color, nothing went bad and it's normal. Freezing the tofu helps give it a firmer and more "meaty" like texture. To freeze, poke two holes in the package, drain the liquid, then pop it in the freezer.

Chipotles are amazing and will elevate any dish you add it to. This little can was cheap, readily available in most grocery stores and has a smokey spicy goodness.

You're going to make the dip first so that the tofu can dry even more, and the dip can harmonize with each other in the fridge. I'm using a food processor, but any blender will do. You could also use vegenaise or plain yogurt.

Mix the mayo and chipotle first so that it's smooth without chunks of heat from the peppers. Then, put in the parsley and blend away. Put this in a bowl and pop it into the fridge.

Here's a close up of the frozen, then thawed, tofu. The texture has completely changed.

Cut the tofu to any desired shape. These are more like "chick'n" fingers, but you could do the same cubes as the grilled tofu post. Handle these a little carefully so that it doesn't break in half when you're moving them around.

Now onto the wet coating. The mustard is the "secret" ingredient to this recipe. This is something that's unexpected, but totally works and people will wonder how you got so much flavor into the tofu! The egg helps the dry coating stick onto the tofu so it wont fall off when frying.

Isn't the dry coating pretty? Mix everything together so that you get every bit of spice on each tofu piece.

Now, dunk the tofu into the egg mixture with one hand. Shake off the excess, and put it in the dry mixture.

With your other hand, put the dry coating all over the tofu piece. Switching hands will help you be a little more tidier. I am guilty of always forgetting which hand is which. C'est la vie.

Here's what the nuggets should look like before they get fried. The coating isn't too loose, everything is covered, and it looks delicious already!

Heat your skillet to medium high. When it's heated up, add your oil. Depending on your pan, you might want to add more or less oil, try to stick to around 1/8". You don't have to cook the tofu through like meat, so these are pretty quick.

2-3 minutes on all four sides, or until golden brown how you like 'em.

Mmmmm delicious, crispy, golden brown tofu.

Put these on a cooling rack to cool down. You could just put them on paper towels too, but spread them out so they don't get soggy from steaming each other.

And voila! This is a great meal, complete with spinach salad and dipping sauce. There was a lot of spice in the coating and dip, but the mayo will cool you down. So eat up. Don't be a chicken :)

Ingredients

Tofu Nuggets
1 (16 - ounce) packages of firm tofu, frozen then thawed
1/2 cup unseasoned panko crumbs
1 egg
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard 
2 Teaspoons black pepper
2 Teaspoons paprika
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil for frying

Chipotle Mayo Dip
2 chipotle, canned in adobo sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or mayo substitute) 
5-8 sprigs parsley (about 2 Tablespoons)

Steps
1. Thaw out frozen tofu, then press with paper towels to dry.

2. Blend chipotle and mayonnaise until smooth.

3. Blend parsley into mixture, then set dip aside in the refrigerator. 

4. Cut tofu into desired pieces. 

5. Whisk egg and mustard until fully incorporated. 

6. Combine black pepper, paprika, salt and garlic powder with panko crumbs.

7. Coat tofu pieces in egg mixture. Shake excess, then coat in panko mixture.

8. Heat skillet with 6 Tablespoons of oil (about 1/8" in the skillet), and fry tofu 3 minutes on all four sides, or until golden brown. 

9. Put tofu pieces on cookie rack to cool down.

10. Serve with dipping sauce and salad on the side.