Friday, August 16, 2013

Buffalo Tofu and Vegan MoFo

The man and I have been hooked on buffalo tofu for quite some time. We were introduced to buffalo tofu at Gasometer and haven't been able to go there without ordering a sharing plate since our first encounter. The spicy coating on the toothsome tofu paired with a cooling ranch dipping sauce is a delicious dish I've been dreaming about recreating at home for quite some time.

My initial attempt used a spice mix purchased from USA Foods as the main seasoning which I posted about last year. It was good enough for us at the time but I continued searching for recipes in an attempt to find out the secret to fantastic buffalo tofu. The majority of recipes used a hot sauce rather than a dry seasoning mix with Frank's red hot sauce clearly being the preferable option. I never remembered to look for this sauce on my occasional shopping trips to USA Foods and was astonished to discover it sitting amongst the condiments in my local Woolworths recently.

After our latest meal at Gasometer I cracked open the bottle of Frank's sauce and placed it under the man's nose. The look on his face was priceless. "That smells exactly like Gasometer's tofu, you MUST make some buffalo tofu." The recipe I followed was posted on The Vegan 8 Korean, it had a short ingredient list with an interesting twist - frozen and defrosted tofu. I really should use this method of preparing tofu more often as I adore the chewy texture that results from this as well as the extra absorbency of the tofu. If you haven't tried out this method of preparing tofu, I highly recommend sticking a block of tofu in the freezer right now! The tofu turns a yellow colour when it's frozen but after it has been defrosted it returns to it's usual white colour.

The only alteration I made was to adjust the quantity of hot sauce from half a cup to a third (and the margarine proportionately) in case it blew our heads off. Half a cup of hot sauce seemed like a lot to use given I was unfamiliar with the sauce. As it turns out I'm sure we would have handled the extra spice and I won't be wary to turn up the heat in the future!

I had already posted about a ranch dipping sauce adapted from Vegweb in my initial buffalo tofu post although this had slipped my mind so I trawled through my cookbooks to find a recipe to try. The majority of the recipes used vegan sour cream which I didn't have on hand so I settled on making a silken tofu based sauce from Appetite For Reduction. I'm a bit of a salt fiend but found that this sauce was too salty which was probably due to the differences in types of stock powders used. It also made a huge quantity which needed to be used within three days so rather than waste the dipping sauce, we eagerly went back for another round of buffalo tofu a couple of days later!


I've been a bit quiet around here lately for various reasons and it's likely to remain this way for the rest of the month as Vegan MoFo is coming up in September! My goal is to post everyday throughout September and given the pathetic number of posts I've been churning out recently, I'm going to need the rest of this month to get myself organised. This will be the third time I have participated in Vegan MoFo and I'm looking forward to another fun filled month of reading posts from hundreds of bloggers around the globe. For those who are interested in participating and haven't signed up yet, the registration form is here - make sure you sign up before the cut off date of 28th August!

Buffalo Tofu (Adapted from The Vegan 8 Korean)

350g firm tofu, frozen then defrosted
1/3 cup cornflour
Peanut or canola oil, for frying
1/3 - 1/2 cup Frank's red hot sauce (depending on your spice tolerance)
2 heaped tablespoons - 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine (depending on how much hot sauce was used)

After the frozen tofu has fully defrosted, place it in a tofu press and allow it to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Alternatively wrap the block of tofu in paper towels, place it on a plate and sit some heavy weights on top for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Cut the tofu into whatever shape you feel like - sticks, triangles, cubes. Place the cornflour in a bowl and lightly coat each piece of tofu.

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu (in batches, if necessary) over medium heat until slightly coloured on each side.

When the tofu has almost finished cooking, place the hot sauce and margarine in a small saucepan and heat until the margarine has melted. Reduce the heat on the frying pan containing the tofu to low and pour the contents of the saucepan over the tofu ensuring it is coated evenly. Allow it to simmer for a minute or two until the sauce reduces then serve the buffalo tofu with a ranch dipping sauce.