This recipe works best with extra-firm tofu and can pass as chicken, especially if served the day after it has been prepared, when the texture of the tofu is even tighter. Tofu from the bulk bins in whole-food stores also works exceptionally well.
The dish can be made in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- For the sauce
- 1 12-ounce bottle store-bought vegan barbecue sauce, such as Annie's Naturals Organic BBQ
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- For the tofu
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1/4 cup liquid amino acids, such as Bragg brand
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 28 to 32 ounces (2 blocks) extra-firm tofu, such as Spring Creek or White Wave brand, cut into at least 18 cubes of equal size
For the sauce: In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the barbecue sauce, maple syrup and cayenne pepper to taste, if desired. Cover and keep warm on the lowest possible setting.
For the tofu: Pour enough oil into a large cast-iron skillet to fill at least 2 inches; heat over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. To test whether the oil is hot enough, drop one of the chunks of tofu into it. If the oil immediately sizzles, then it is ready.
Meanwhile, in a large plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid, combine the liquid amino acids, onion powder, garlic powder and ground ginger; add the cubes of tofu and seal the lid. Invert the bowl, turning it over gently a few times until the tofu is evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Working in batches, add the coated tofu to the hot oil and fry, turning the cubes, for 8 to 10 minutes or until an evenly crisp, golden brown coating forms. Do not crowd the skillet; adjust the heat as necessary. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tofu directly to the warm barbecue sauce. Allow all of the fried tofu to cook in the sauce for about 30 minutes on the lowest possible setting, stirring gently to avoid breaking up the tofu. Serve hot.
From Levita D. Mondie-Sapp.
Tested by Mary Pat Flaherty.
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