Thursday, June 9, 2011

Crispy Chinese Tofu Balls

After posting this recipe and asking for advice on how to make the batter crispier, many of you replied with very helpful advice. Basically, you advocated for 3 things: chickpea flour, rice flour, and/or some kind of starch. I did not have any rice flour, so I went with cornstarch and chickpea flour. Success! The batter crisped up nicely and did not tend to burn like the previous recipe. I also upped the vital wheat gluten to make sure the tofu was not too moist, and made smaller balls. I think the flax might be superfluous with the chickpea flour but I kept it anyway. So, there is some room to play with this recipe. Have fun!

- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp chickpea flour
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp 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

1. Heat your frying oil to 375 degrees.
2. While oil is heating, make the batter by whisking together flours, cornstarch, 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. Refrigerate until ready to use.
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 the wheat gluten over top and mix in. Form into about 30 balls, not too big.
4. To fry: dip a few balls into the batter, letting any excess drip off (I use 2 spoons to coat the balls and transfer to the oil). 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.