Sunday, May 19, 2013

popcorn tofu bites with sweet-n-spicy dipping sauce

When I'm zapped after a long day, I tend to make my old standby tofu for dinner because it's easy. No doubt, you know the drill: press, marinade and then either bake or pan fry. But the addition of just two more easy steps – breading the flavor-infused tofu and making a no-brainer dipping sauce – results in a fun, seemingly fancy dinner – lots of crispy flavor for very little effort. These Popcorn Tofu Bites also make fun appetizers, served with toothpicks – perfect for warm weather outings.

The Sweet-n-Spicy Dipping Sauce is Asian-inspired [or more accurately, CSA-inspired since I still have a huge bunch of scallions from last week's haul sitting in a mason jar in my fridge]. It's a veritable United Nations-inspired melange of flavors that play nicely together, despite their differences – a little sweet, – gracias agave; a little salty – domo arigato, miso, and a little spicy – kob-kun, kah, Sriracha  You will have leftover dipping sauce, but it has legs. Use it as a marinade for seitan or soy curls, or as a salad dressing. [I'm thinking baby arugula and spinach with chickpeas, sliced pears, candied pecans and  a wee sprinkle of wasabi powder]

popcorn tofu bites with sweet-n-spicy dipping sauce

Makes 32-36 tofu bites
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed for about 2 hours, then cut into 32-36 1-inch cubes
Mix everything in a shallow dish. Coat tofu cubes in marinade and let sit at least one hour [turning to coat all sides every once in awhile ] or overnight in refrigerator.

  • 1/2 cup panko [Fear not, my gluten-free friends. Yes, Virginia, there is gluten-free panko]
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika [or substitute regular paprika, but the smokiness of the Spanish adds wonderful, almost grill-like complexity!]

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Mix breading ingredients in a shallow dish. Coat tofu cubes in breading, patting on extra on "bald" spots, and then place onto prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes, then gently flip and bake 25 more minutes. Serve with dipping sauce, below.

sweet-n-spicy dipping sauce:
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T vegetable broth [I use Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base]
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha  [or to taste. Start with less!]
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 T agave nectar
  • 1 tsp miso
  • 1 tsp sesame oil [Olive oil is a fine sub, but sesame is so much better]
Process everything in a mini food processor or Vitamix until smooth-ish. Dip tofu bites in sauce.

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foodfeud said...

I am SO bad about working creatively with tofu but this looks easy and sounds really delicious. Cute little bites, too.

GlutenFreeHappyTummy said...

Oh wow those could be dangerous:) look amazing!

Jeanie Hay said...

I made little fried tofu bites last night with all Mexican seasonings and we are then on nachos! Delicious! Can't wait to try your recipe!

Jeanie Hay said...

*ate them

Andrea said...

If you press the tofu for two hours, marinate it for one hour and bake it for an hour, what time would you have dinner? The crunchy little tofu cubes look and sound fabulous and easy — but maybe not fast. :)

Joey said...

I could pretty much drink that sauce it looks so good!

urban vegan said...

Never said they were fast. But they are easy. And you can always prep the night before

Kate @ Ohlalavegan said...

Thanks for this recipe, I made these the other day and had them in the park for a picnic, they were a great success!

urban vegan said...

It's comments like this that keep me blogging. So glad you liked them!