Believe me, Tami, I have long anticipated joining one of these events, but circumstances typically conspire against me (read: I'm either broke-ass or forgetful). However, when I saw the recipe that was chosen this time around, I knew I had to participate!
Here's the original recipe, Pretzel-Fried Steak with Mango-Onion Gravy. Immediately upon reviewing this recipe I knew I must use tofu, my favorite of all the typical "meaty" vegan foods out there. And what can be better than fried tofu? Seriously.
The amount of effort you're willing to spend prepping your tofu is a decision only you can make. Some (very awesomely lucky) people have tofu presses, which drains out lots of water and your tofu gets all firm and stuff. Others press tofu between plates and paper towels, the old-school method of firming up the 'fu. This time around, I didn't do any of that, mostly because I forgot and it was too late. But this recipe will come out excellent no matter what!
I really didn't stray too far from the original recipe, mostly because there was no reason to. This was an incredibly easy recipe to veganize and just goes to show that hardcore comfort foods needn't be out of reach!
Pretzel-Fried Tofu with Mango-Onion Gravy
For the Tofu:
1 block tofu, pressed if desired, and sliced into 12 pieces
1 c. pretzels
1 c. non-dairy milk
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 c. flour, any kind
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Oil, for frying
For the gravy:
1 tbsp. vegan margarine
1 very small onion, minced
2 c. vegan "beef" broth
2 tbsp mango chutney, store-bought or homemade
1 tsp soy sauce
Directions (for the tofu):
1. Crush the pretzels in a food processor. You don't want them too powdery, but go for a crumb-like consistency. Put the pretzel crumbs in a shallow bowl. Grab another shallow bowl and put the milk and ground flax in it and give it a stir. In a third shallow bowl, combine the flour, paprika, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Reserve 4 tbsp of the flour mixture for making gravy and set aside.
2. Now it's assembly-line time! You'll want to arrange the bowls in order: the flour bowl, milk bowl, and pretzel bowl. Grab a slab of tofu and dredge it in the flour mixture, coating it fully but not heavily. Dunk the tofu into the milk mixture, allowing excess milk to drip back into the bowl, and then dredge the tofu through the pretzel crumbs to coat. Set the tofu on a cooling rack to chill out while you finish the other slabs.
3. In a frying pan, heat enough oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and ready for some frying action (about 3-5 minutes) place the tofu slabs in the oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, until golden, and then flip, and fry for about another 5 minutes, until both sides are golden. Place fried tofu on a paper towel to drain the oil. if you're working in batches, you might want to heat the oven to 200F and let the tofu hang out there to stay warm.
Directions (for the gravy):
1. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over medium heat and sautee the onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the 4 tbsp flour and cook for a few minutes, adding a splash or two of water if necessary. Add the "beef" broth, mango chutney and soy sauce and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to avoid lumps. When boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens up, stirring often.
Serve the tofu with gravy drizzled on top and with lots of other awesome comfort foods like roasted potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Bring the mango chutney to the table and add a dollop on your tofu, if you like.
The tofu, hanging out on a cooling rack and gettin' all ready to be fried...
Beautiful fried tofu. To shallow-fry, you just need enough oil to coat the bottom (but don't be too stingy with it)!
And that's all it takes! Fried food is a fairly rare treat in our house and it's just so nice sometimes. And the gravy was amazing - even Logan liked it, and he's a natural foe of gravy.
Well I'm off to enjoy this cold and rainy Wednesday as best as I can, which means singing lots and reading books. Peace :)