Monday, January 9, 2012

Southern Fried "Chicken" (Vegan)

I grew up country. Really country. Like on a farm with my grandparents in Smith Count, Mississippi country. And I love my vegetables and my meat to be fresh, clean, and to not have chemicals in or on them. I don't like how the world has become when it comes to farming and especially to "farming" meat. That disclaimer being said, that's why I eat clean, and why I mostly eat vegetarian or vegan. But it's not a moral choice, it's a healthy choice. Now, I love fried chicken. I specifically and especially love my grandmother's homemade fried chicken. That woman wasn't afraid of going out in the yard and getting a chicken to cook. She could make just about any part of a chicken taste amazing... And she was "green" in her approach because they chickens were raised in the yard, and she used the gizzards, livers, meat, and bones. She made fried chicken, cooked the bones and carcass for stock, and used the organ meat for other meals... Like I said, it was as humane and green as possible. And I loved her fried chicken and her dumplings!

However, fried foods, and overprocessed farm animals filled with hormones make it more difficult to economically buy and eat free range meat. So, whether you are vegetarian or vegan for health reasons or moral reasons, I like this recipe for "Southern Fried Chicken":

You Will Need:
Oil (I use grapeseed oil to fry. It's smoke threshold is higher, and it fries cleaner. However, EVOO is awesome too. Just be sure to use the cleanest, healthiest oil you can.)
1 lb tofu, drained and pressed for at least 1 hour
1.5 cups flour, all purpose white flour ORGANIC
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne or a red pepper (not too much, though... I don't like heartburn. 2 pinches will do)
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp oregano (or a big pinch, I am not a huge oregano fan...)
1/4 tsp basil (dried, OR fresh and chopped very, very finely)

Step One:
Get a large pot or stockpot and heat 3" to 4" of oil. Or a "Fry Daddy", OR if you have one of those NEW oil-less fryers that use 2 to 3 tablespoons in a vacuum frier, then that... (They are quite amazing.)

Step Two:
Cut tofu into approximately 1/2" wide x 2" long pieces (cut it how you like it, just not too thin, or the breading will outweigh the tofu).
Place buttermilk and flour in separate mixing bowls.

Step Three:
Dip tofu in buttermilk, then dredge in flour, then dip in buttermilk again, then dredge in the flour once more and drop into fryer. Fry about 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.

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