This is an adaptation of a Tal Ronnen recipe: his original recipe demanded ridiculous proportions, which left me with tons of left over coating. I was at a complete loss as to what to use it for – it was 1 c of pine nuts blended with 1 c of flour and fresh basil leaves. So here is what I came up with!
1 package of super firm tofu (frozen and then thawed*)
some kind of faux-chicken broth
granulated onion (you could probably sub onion powder or fresh onion, or even leave it out altogether)
about 1/4 c of pinenuts
1/4 of flour (any kind will do – I used spelt because that is what I had on hand)
a few leaves of basil
a food processor
*freezing and defrosting tofu is a must in my opinion. BUT you must also let the tofu rest after cooking – it makes the tofu a little chewier. Although more power to you if you like it kind of mooshy and eggy. This recipe is best when eaten cold; it’s good straight out of the pan but I knew I had a winner when I ate the leftovers a couple of days later. Tofu is really at its best when it’s cold and old, basically.
Once your tofu is defrosted, slice it up however you prefer: I cut my into 1/4″ rectangles and then into triangles. Lay out on some paper towels or tea towels, cover in more paper/kitchen towels and press out the excess liquid, trying not to moosh the tofu too much. Ideally, you should place a couple of heavy items atop the tofu and leave it for 30mins, but who has time for that. The next step is to dry fry the tofu – this will serve to get out the rest of the liquid. You can do this two ways: either in the oven or on the stove top.
Oven: heat oven to around 175 F and lay tofu out on some parchment paper on a cookie sheet. bake for about an hour, or until your desired consistency.
Stove top: heat non-stick pan to medium-low, arrange tofu pieces and cook till it reaches desired consistency. This all depends on your mooshy-ness tolerance levels. Mine are quite low. I usually find the tofu is ready when it starts to go yellowish.
Now, after spending all this time dicking about, getting all the liquid out, you’re going to to place it in a shallow dish and pour the faux-chicken stock over it! sounds dumb, I know, but it works. We need to get all the boring water out of the tofu so we can get the yum marinade into it. The faux chicken stock I use are those little cubes, I can’t remember the brand but I’ve also heard lots of great things about ‘better than bouillon’ stock. In a pinch you could also just use vege stock. But first of all: splash some soy sauce over the tofu – I use probably two tablespoons – then pour over the stock and the onion. Put this in the fridge to marinate: you should probably let it sit at least 20mins.
Next: put the pine nuts and flour and basil (cut into strips: stack the leaves on top on each other, roll up lengthwise and finely shred) into your food processor and pulse. The final texture depends on whether you’re using something on the tofu to make the breading stick – I have yet to experiment with this bit (I might try using an egg replacer next time). If it’s too chunky it generally won’t stick to the tofu, but if anyone has tips on how to change that, I’m all ears. Spread this mixture out on a plate and season with some salt and pepper. Drain the tofu and try to squeeze out some of the excess liquid, and then dredge in the pine nut mixture. Heat a pan on about medium high, add some canola oil (I use a pretty generous amount, because let’s face it: deep fried food is awesome) and lay out your tofu pieces. Fry till nice and golden brown and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
You can eat this right away, but it really is best eaten cold.