Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chinese Tofu Balls

Every time I make tofu ricotta I think to myself that I should try to make a fried tofu ball not unlike the fried chicken balls I used to scarf down at Chinese buffets back in the day. I would like to get the batter a little crispier, so if anyone has some tips please pass them along. (UPDATE: see this recipe).

INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup plain soy milk
- 1 tbsp finely ground flax seed
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu, pressed for 20 mins
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp poultry spice (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- ground white pepper
- 1-2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- oil for frying

METHOD
1. Heat your frying oil to 375 degrees.
2. While oil is heating, make the batter by whisking together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk flax seed and water together until thick, and then whisk flax mixture into the soy milk. Whisk wet into dry ingredients. Add more liquid or flour as needed. The goal is a thick pancake batter consistency--not too thick, but not so thin that it drips right off the balls.
3. Make the tofu balls: mush the tofu in your hands until very fine and clumping together. Add spices and hoisin sauce and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of wheat gluten over top and mix in. Check to see if you can form into balls, and add more gluten if needed. Form into about 16-20 balls, not too big.
4. To fry: dust a few balls with flour, then dip into the batter, letting any excess drip off. Fry for 1-2 mins, until very lightly golden. Drain. Repeat with remaining balls. Return first set of balls to the oil, letting fry until a deep golden brown. Drain and serve with your sauce of choice.

24 comments:

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

These look AWESOME!! I am SO going to try them!! SOON!!!
For a crispier batter maybe try adding some cornstarch?

lauren ikon said...

potato starch gets really crispy

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Oh, and the cheaper, more refined coconut oil (*gasp*) for frying makes things SUPER crisp.

Mara said...

OOOh this sounds good. For crispier batter, I would try using soda water instead of or in combination with the soymilk. The carbonation does interesting stuff. (beer also works well)

Also, you could fry for just a little longer, and they may crisp up better. I know when I worked a fryer at a restaurant when I was in college that when someone ordered something "extra crispy" we would just add a minute to the timer on the fryer.

bittersweetblog said...

For crispier fried goods, I find I have better luck with starch than flour. Maybe potato starch or cornstarch instead of AP flour would do it? I might have to try...

Desdemona said...

These sound great (and evil), and I'm going to give them a go before too long. As for getting the batter crispier, maybe try adding some chickpea flour - which I find contributes a certain magical something - and see what happens?

Elizabeth said...

These look so amazing. Can't wait to try these!

AikoVenus said...

Maybe add a substantial amount of cornstarch to the mix? It dries the tofu out a little bit more after it has been thoroughly pressed. Maybe even a light rice flour could do the trick.

That's what I normally seen done with Chinese food to make it crispier.

xiao_haozi said...

Sounds great.

I've always wondered, what do you do with your leftover oil? I will try to use a wok to decrease the amount of oil I need to be able to create some depth, but am then unsure of how best to deal with the oil afterwards. I've tried tossing into a glass jar and putting in the fridge to use for something similar again soon...

Neeli said...

You could try gram flour (chickpea flour?) it gets veggie pakoras really crispy (I thought your pic was potato pakoras)

vasantika said...

Try adding some starch to the batter - rice or tapioca flour, arrowroot powder, whatever you've got.
Otherwise, looks absolutely delicious, will be making these soon! :)

Deb Schiff said...

For a lighter, crispier batter, you might try mixing in a bit of rice flour.

erinwyso said...

Lovely! I love anything that involves tofu + frying. This looks spectacular!

Eve Love said...

looks amazing!
i'd say rice flour for the crispy factor.

Dino said...

If you would sub out a bit of the flour with rice flour and corn starch, you'll get a crisper batter.

Justin Fox Burks said...

Get your batter really cold or even throe a few ice cubes into it before dipping. The cold batter and the hot oil colliding makes for an airer and crispier crunch. It's how tempura is done, so it's likely work here.

Millie said...

Vegandad...this looks amazing.

Jessica said...

Yum! I made these tonight, and they are GOOD. I've never had the chicken version, so I can't compare, but these certainly hit the spot. I added beer to my batter, and they were plenty cripsy.

Scissors and Spice said...

I agree with the rice flour suggestion. When making Indian pakoras, rice flour gives them a less heavy and more crispy texture.

Urban Farmer said...

Looks great! A tablespoon or two of rice flour will make them very crispy.

Alessandra said...

I am not sure what tofu ricotta is, but I could use okara (the left-over part after making soy milk, it looks a bit like a dry ricotta....). Just the kind of food my kids like :-)

Ciao
A.
http://alessandra-veganblog.blogspot.com/

racheyalex said...

these look AMAZING!

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tofudream said...

Interesting recipe :) I love it. I normally don't like deep frying but this one will be an exception