Bite-size nuggets of southern spiced and fried tofu make this popcorn chicken substitute the perfect high protein snack to eat in front of the TV.
I first came across these vegan popcorn chicken pieces in the book Veganish by Jack Monroe. The great thing about them is they use ingredients that can be picked up in most small supermarkets, unlike seitan which sometimes needs a little more planning to buy the ingredients.
Silken tofu is the base for these popcorn chicken nuggets and it is a great use for this softer, more delicate tofu that I would never have considered.
Popcorn Chicken Bites Made With Tofu
How we go about turning delicate and really soft silken tofu into something meatier is by combining the tofu with a small amount of flour.
Using flour along with the tofu almost stabilises it and makes a dough that has plenty of protein in it. The tofu can be shaped and moulded to the form we want before cooking it.
Along with the flour, we can also include herbs and spices which really makes the flavour of the popcorn tofu really customisable. You might want a traditional “southern fried” mix of spices or you could go really fiery with chilli or Asian-inspired depending on what herbs and spices you use.
How To Make Popcorn Tofu Bites
The process of making these “chicken” popcorn bites couldn’t be simpler:
- Drain the tofu and mash with a fork
- Mix spices with flour
- Slowly add the flour a little at a time till a sticky dough forms
- Roll into bites and fry in hot oil
The real trick here is creating the right kind of texture. We want to add as little flour as possible to the tofu in order to make the popcorn bites. The more flour you use the more the bites will have a doughy texture.
This is why we add a little flour at a time to the tofu in order to bring it together. Different types and brands of silken tofu will have different water content so it is difficult to be precise with the exact amount of flour you need. Don’t worry, you will have tasty popcorn bites no matter what.
- 300g SIlken Tofu
- Oil for frying
Flour & Spice Mix
- 200g plain flour
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 tsp mixed herbs
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Open the package of silken tofu and drain.
- Mix together the flour and all the spices and mix thoroughly
- Place the tofu in a large bowl and add around 4 - 6 tablespoons of the spice mix to the tofu. Mash together with a fork to create a sticky dough, if the tofu seems too wet add one spoonful of the flour at a time until it is workable.
- Take a small pinch of the tofu mix at a time and roll it into a ball. Roll each ball into the remaining spiced flour mix as a coating and set to one side. Repeat for all of the tofu.
- Heat around an inch or so of oil in a large deep pan for frying. It should be hot enough when a small pinch of tofu mixture dropped into the oil begins to bubble. Lower the heat once you reach frying temperature to prevent overheating
- Carefully lower the vegan popcorn chicken balls into the oil working in three or four batches to allow space in the pan. Fry for 5 or 6 minutes until evenly browned all over.
- Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. They are ready to serve.