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.


AikoVenus said...

I'm so glad! It makes me want to quit making vegan sushi for my blog and start doing month-long posts of Chinese-American food. :)

Emily said...

These look delicious!!

Basil said...

Do you think you could bake these to make them a bit healthier, or would they not hold together?

elisesdinner said...

These look amazing! Do you have a deep fat fryer, or do you just use a saucepan? I've got quite a lot of deep fried recipes I want to try but I'm a little scared of hot oil on my hob, any suggestions?

stacie said...

I made these yesterday... they were good... my 2 yr old actually ate two of them and my non veg husband said they were pretty good... i think i will add more vwg next time, because my tofu was still a little too moist... i pressed it for an hour, but that was my first time pressing tofu, so maybe there was something that i didnt do right... either way, they were good:)

Caitlin said...

I tried these today and they were really good. Thank you! I think you're right, the flax seed isn't really necessary. I'm going to play around with it and try to get a batter that's a thicker layer on the tofu balls. I served them with sweet and sour sauce, but I made the mistake of putting the sauce on the balls too early and they were a bit soggy so a piece of advice to anyone trying this recipe: serve the sauce on the side so the balls stay crispy. And Elise, I did mine in a big wok on the stove and it worked well.

Thanks again for this recipe! I had sweet and sour soy balls a while back at Lotus Pond in Victoria and have been craving them ever since. This recipe was exactly what I was looking for. :)


Colleen said...

Those look delicious. My daughter, 8, recently decided out of the blue that she hates tofu (and tomatoes, cucumbers, peanut butter . . . UGH!), but I think these might turn her around.

I'm so excited to have found your blog! We aren't technically vegan, we're ethical eaters, but the standards are similar, and your recipes look amazing.

L'Acadienne V├ęg├ętalienne said...

I tried these today for father's day. I had a lot of trouble making the tofu balls but that was still delicious. My 4 years old usually don't want to eat any fried food but she ate 3 of them! They were really crispy. And Elisedinner...I only used a saucepan to deep fried these and it worked well.

ninalanding said...

This stuff looks good!!! I'm a vegan and I so need a vegan wedding cake -help me out

Vegan Dad said...

You could bake them but you would need to change the breading to panko or something. I don't think the batter would cook up very well at all.

I fried mine in a medium saucepan. Just keep your oil level at about half or less to make sure it does not overboil.

JL said...

Thanks for this recipe. I've seen people do double frying methods before but just curious, what exactly does it do? why not just fry once?

JL said...

Thanks for this recipe. I'm going to try it out asap. Just curious, though, I've seen people do double frying before but haven't understood why. Can't we just fry once until crispy brown? Or is that they need to cook slightly and cool slightly before they can stand the duration required for the browning?
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

These were PERFECT! I just made them for my family and my picky children love these tofu balls. Followed the recipe exactly.