The Rumbly Tummy: Spicy Chick'n Sandwich
We're a little late to the Chicken Sandwich phenomenon, and there are a few reasons for that. Actually, there's just one: Chicken. You all are aware that we don't eat deer, since we wrote it into our Rumbly Tummy theme song, but chicken is also on that list. And a few other things, but we will leave that to your imagination.
Speaking of imagination, a Spicy Chicken Sandwich that we could eat was beyond ours. But late one night while Mallory was reading one of her favorite feminist magazines called Bust, she sat straight up and said "I, too, can make a spicy chicken sandwich!" Then, she fell asleep, but only after asking Scott to go to the kitchen (we live in a house during the pandemic, so he had to put pants on and everything) and put a container of tofu in the freezer. Scott thought the whole thing was weird, but mostly is a trusting character, so he did as he was asked, and then also went back to bed and fell asleep, forgetting the entire incident until two days later.
Equipped with her magazine and a series of cross references from the internet, on a normal Wednesday evening, Mallory got to work. After more brow furrowing and pantry bustling, she finally laid down her references and said "I just have to do it."
And then, she did it.
And the results were that of a upper echelon fast food dream. This "chicken" is both vegan, gluten free, and-- weirdly-- chicken-like. The texture is chewy and soft, moist and firm, and downright fantastic. The actual process is pretty simple if you've ever dredged and fried anything before, but requires a bit of forethought to remember to freeze and refreeze your tofu. This important step is what transforms it from a lump of soy into the texture of chicken. And, it is worth it.
We posted pictures immediately following the incident on our new Rumbly Tummy Instagram account-- catch these miracles as they happen by following us at @the_rumbly_tummy . Also worth it. We're cooking things up right quick around there.
So, if you're vegan or if you're not, this is a great way to impress your friends at your socially distanced 4th of July celebrations. Or put it in a cardboard holder and sit on your couch while BBQ sauce dribbles down your face like a real chicken sandwich connoisseur while you watch Netflix and fall asleep.
Spicy BBQ Chick'n Sandwich
Makes enough for 2 - 3 large sandwiches
1 brick of firm or extra firm tofu (NOT silken)
1/2 c chick'n broth or veggie broth
OR 1 TBSP light sweet miso + 1/2 c water
1 scant cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1/4 c dill pickle juice (NOT sweet)
1 c GF flour (I use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1)
OR white flour
1 TBSP Old Bay Seasoning
2 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 c soymilk
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
canola oil (or another neutral oil for frying)
BBQ sauce (we did 1/4 c BBQ sauce + TBSP honey + tsp dijon)
spicy Veganaise (Veganaise + Frank's or sriracha)
your favorite sliced vegan cheeze (we used Chao smoked Gouda)
The day before, stick the entire package of tofu, completely sealed, in the freezer for 6 hours. Remove and thaw for 4 hours. Put back in the freezer for 6 + hours, removing about 4 hours before you're ready to cook to thaw in room temperature.
Drain tofu, then place in a towel and press down firmly to remove liquid. Do it again with another towel (a TON of liquid came out-- I was surprised how easily it drained, though!).
Break tofu apart gently into "chicken" like sized chunks. You'll notice the brick sort of naturally crumbles into that odd, lumpy shape.
Prepare one small bowl of chick'n broth OR miso mixture, and another larger bowl with Frank's & pickle juice. Place the chunks one at a time into a small bowl containing the chick'n broth OR miso mixture. Press each one in gently so that the tofu absorbs the new liquid, then place gently in the larger Frank's bowl. When all pieces are in the spicy marinade, place in the refrigerator and let sit 30-40 minutes.
While you're waiting, prepare a small bowl with soy milk + apple cider vinegar and place in the fridge. This mixture is a replacement for eggs, so it should be chunky and thick. The longer it sits, the thicker it will become. It gives the chick'n a great buttermilk flavor, too. In a medium bowl, combine flour and all seasonings/spices and mix well. Additionally while you wait, prepare toppings, sauces, and heat buns w/ cheese, if you so desire. Set aside on your prepared plates.
Remove the tofu from the fridge. Heat a medium pan with a 1/4" oil on medium-high heat.
Coat each piece with flour, set aside. Then, when oil is ready, dredge the floured tofu through soymilk mixture, then again in the flour. Fry on each side til golden brown. This will take about 5 whole minutes-- keep an eye on your heat so the tofu can be cooked the whole way through without burning the outside.
Drain on a paper bag or towel while you finish frying the remainder of tofu (bags are a great way to reuse, and also absorb oil much better than a paper towel!).
Top your buns! Add your fixins, and drizzle with BBQ sauce. Be sure to have plenty of napkins. This biz is messy and soooo good.