April 29, 2021

Not-Fried Pickle Juice Tofu “Chiken”—3 Ways. {Vegan Recipe}

However, you can make it fried if that pleases you.

The photo on a vegan recipe I saw online showed a crispy, coated, fried tofu that really looked like fried chicken. I was not a fan of, nor ate, fried chicken even in my briefer periods of chicken, which was boneless skinless breast chicken.

Sadly, for that brief brainwashed period in my life, the not-looking-like-a-chicken had me eating it for a couple of years—lied to by the industry ads that it was healthy. It went off my plate 30 years ago and had been off it for decades before the programming ads of the late 1980s.

Ingredients:

Tofu: extra-firm does the trick. Slice it in the thickness you like and keep it whole.

Pickle juice: take the jar of pickles and pour from it. I like sweet, no garlic.

Mustard: dijon, yellow, spicy, or dry.

Hot sauce: dash, pour or not. Your choice of hotness.

Red pepper flakes: sprinkle as much or as little as you prefer.

Oil: optional, use if making it fried or try an air fryer. I chose naked > not fried, not breaded > no oil. Just the juice from the pickles that did not soak into the tofu.

Ingredients if making a sandwich:

Bread: whole grain, sprouted, rye, roll, bagel, or, perhaps a wrap. Wheat or gluten-free.

Greens: go wild or not; I cut from my Aero Garden if making a sandwich and gather romaine and a variety of lettuces. And any microgreens ready to harvest from my HAMAMA microgreen tray.

Ingredients if making it as a bowl with a grain:

Grain: rice of choice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, or any to suit your taste. Or a noodle could work well. I chose a delicate rice noodle.

Supplies and optional items:

Glass container with lid, sauté pan with lid, spatula, chef’s knife, cutting board, cooking and serving utensils, measuring spoons, toaster/toaster oven, pot with lid, serving plate or bowl, towels, imagination, love, and curiosity.

Mise en place:

This depends on how you plan to proceed. If making tofu alone, assemble the first stage. For a sandwich, have a station for the bread, toaster, greens, and condiments. For the tofu, over a grain of choice or a noodle, line up those items.

Since I was going with a thin rice noodle base, I filled a pot with filtered water, added a lid, and got that to boiling while I was setting up my station with the already marinated tofu from the fridge. I had my rice ready to go and a colander in the sink since my rice takes maybe two minutes once I add it to fully boiling water.

Recipe:

I do use oil in cooking, but I lean toward moderation and have been learning to cook without it too.

So, the photo did not appeal to me, but I was drawn to the initial ingredients. Pickle juice? Hot sauce? Mustard? Red pepper flakes? Hmm, why not.

After cutting open the tofu package, in the sink since it leaks liquid and can get quite messy, I transferred the slippery block to my Rosie the Riveter dish towel. Sliced it from the top, left to right, about a half-inch thick. Maybe a smidge more. Placed the remainder in a silicone bag, squeezed out the air, and placed it in the tofu, tempeh, and vegan cheese drawer in the fridge.

Allow the towel to sop up excess moisture. No need for tofu presses unless you love gadgets. Using extra-firm tofu and a dish towel works. Need more water removal help? Pile a stack of dishes on top of the towel. Perform some standing pushups on it. Works for me.

In a glass container, I poured juice from the organic sweet pickle chip jar, using the lid to keep the pickle chips from escaping their jar. I guesstimated enough to come near the top of the tofu, which I had not yet placed in the container.

Added a plop, maybe a tablespoon of mustard, I used Dijon, a couple dashes of hot sauce the local couple makes and sells at the Saturday market, and generously shook in red pepper flakes. Gave it a stir or two or three.

I gently placed the tofu rectangle in the juiced container. Flipped, flipped again. Covered and sent it into the fridge to mingle and marinate.

I was not decided at this point as to whether to make it a sandwich, closed or open, lay it on a bed of various lettuces and romaine from my Aero Garden, or cube it and sauté and place it over a grain.

I had two 24 hours to decide. Time got away, lost in reading, writing, walking, chores, and then sleep. So, noontime the next day, it would be a meal. I decided on cubed, no oil, and using the leftover pickle plus liquid as an oil replacement. I also decided a delicate rice noodle would be a good complement to not take away the pickle power flavor.

See above where I started the water for the noodles to boil before cooking my tofu.

This process is reasonably quick. The tofu needs only about eight minutes total. Keep stirring and tossing, though, if you are not using oil or plan to toss that pan into the garbage can once it is cooled down. Now, that would be a sad waste and a nasty thing to do to Momma Earth. Our landfills are already overflowing and destroying the planet. Sorry, I digress.

Ready? Plate or bowl your culinary masterpiece. Add any garnishes. Find a peaceful spot to dine.

Remember to give gratitude.

Enjoy!

No critters, no sentient beings are ever harmed in the making of these meals. Another win for the beings, another small save for our tiny blue marble we call Momma Earth.

 ~

Bonus recipe: Tofu Threesome: 3 Tantalizing, Tasty Tofu Dishes.

For a whole bunch of delicious recipes, scroll through my author page.

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