Vegan Fried Chicken. Vegan Fried Chicken!!! I was definitely one of the people that used to CRUCIFY veggies and vegans for trying to make food like this a year or so ago. Why don’t you just eat lentils like you want to???
I have also seen a large part of the vegan community hate on other vegans for trying to eat like this. They can f**k off too! The simple fact of that matter is, some of us LOVE the taste of chicken, just not the whole killing them thing. For those of us who do miss it or people transitioning, this can be an amazing way to adjust to a plant based life.
I know this is overused and I genuinely try not to say this too much, but you will not be able to tell the difference between this and real fried/breaded chicken.
I am borrowing this recipe and adapting it from Chef Roberto, Ellen’s personal chef. He uses the idea of rice paper and it is too good not to use. The texture is just like chicken skin. It is worth noting that when I did eat meat, I hated fried chicken because eating skin repulsed me (I did have it though so I know what it tastes like you cheeky scamps!), this is ridiculous though. Give it a go.
Gardein is a vegans dream. The entire range is brand new to Australia and I jumped on it the day it arrived. I am using the ‘scallopini’s’ that are soy based and gluten free (I’ll kill that though by adding flour). To mould them into the shape you want, ignore the package instructions and defrost them in a fridge fully before using. They are high in protein and have zero cholesterol so even the biggest of meat eaters should give this a try.
Now, I am FULLY aware that this is not healthy, but live a little. It is worth it every now and then, just make sure you don’t over do it and eat amazingly for the rest of the week! But because it is such a treat, I am giving you 3 options to cook it in. Fried, oven fried or baked. All taste good but let’s not kid ourselves, frying is much tastier than baking! But baking is good if you prefer. Oven frying is also good and sits taste wise in the middle somewhere. The ingredients will all be the same, however I would suggest maybe using good quality, homemade breadcrumbs instead of flour if baking, that gives a nicer texture.
Finally, the cashew cream makes a lot and it freezes well so maybe portion out. You could probably get away with 4 or 5 batches of this…..
Serves 2 (or 4 for you weaklings)
- 4 Gardein Chick’n Scallopini’s
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 2.5 cups of warm water
- A shit load of tabasco sauce (I used half a bottle!)
- 4 rice paper rolls
- 3/4 cup of flour (or breadcrumbs if baking)
- 1.5 teaspoon salt (plus extra for seasoning and serving)
- 1.5 teaspoon pepper (plus extra to serve)
- 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1.5 teaspoons onion powder
- 1.5 teaspoons cajun seasoning
- 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Canola oil (if deep frying)
- 1/3 cup vegan butter (if oven frying)
- Olive oil spray (if baking)
- If oven frying or baking, preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius
- Start by making the cashew cream. Blend the cashews for as long as you can. At least 1 minute. Don’t go as long as you can, that was bad advice! Just do it for 1 minute
- Add the water and blend for a further 2 minutes. You should end up with a fully liquefied cream consistency. Make sure there are no lumps anyway by straining the cream into a bowl and season highly with tabasco, it is worth it (you can now separate the extra cream into a couple of containers if you want to save some cashola)
- Pour some hot water into a frying pan and wait for it cool down to where you can put your finger in without it burning off. Meanwhile, in a big mixing bowl, mix together your flour and seasonings. The next few steps are how to construct each piece of chick’n…
- Shape the scallopini into your desired shape. You can shape it like a thigh or keep it as it is in a kind of schnitzel. Or just do as I do and shape it into various parts of the human anatomy, much more fun. Season with a bit of salt
- Put a rice paper roll into the warm water for a few seconds. Make sure you don’t do it too long otherwise it will be impossible to shape. I find about 5 seconds to be enough but it depends how warm your water is
- Wrap the chick’n in the rice paper roll. Do this exactly as you would a burrito and smooth off all the ends. You will find that you can do this quite easily and the open ends will all stick together. Chef Roberto is a fricking genius for coming up with this
- Dip your chick’n into the seasoned flour. Make sure you cover all of it and then shake off the excess flour
- Dip it into the cashew cream, again making sure all the surface is covered
- Then go back into the flour. Make sure all the chick’n is covered. It should be quite messy, don’t worry about that
- Repeat for each piece of chick’n.
- You are ready to cook it by your chosen method…
Add enough canola oil (don’t use olive oil, you need an oil with a high cooking temperature to deep fry) to cover the base of a heavy bottomed pan by enough oil to cover just over half of each piece of chick’n. You want a pan with high sides as this oil will be lethally hot. You don’t need to cover the whole piece of chick’n, it’s a waste of oil, you want just enough to cover half of it. You will notice though that this still uses a SHITLOAD of oil, hence why it is not the healthiest option. Heat it over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. The oil will not change appearance at all but beware, it is like a volcano so BE CAREFUL. You can test it by adding a tiny amount of the flour batter to the pan. If it boils as soon as contact is made, it is ready. Add the chick’n pieces and fry for 2½ to 3 minutes each side. When ready, I like to place them on paper towels, to really soak up the excess oil. You don’t need that in your system!
As the oven is preheating, add an oven dish and the vegan butter to the oven. You want a dish that is big enough to hold all the chick’n without the pieces touching. Once the butter has melted, swoosh it around the pan to make sure all the base is covered and fry for 25 – 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes. Depending on how greasy they are, you may want to dry them off a little with paper towel.
The easiest, but less fun option! Simply put some baking paper on a baking tray and spray with some olive oil spray. Bake the chick’n for 25-30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.
Make up some homemade fries if going all out or serve with some lemony crushed new potatoes, a salad or some coleslaw, or just ignore me and serve them however you Goddamn want to!
Ocean Colour Scene “Moseley Shoals”
In the mid to late 90’s, my mates used to be typical annoying teenagers and we used to get absolutely wrecked down in Kent and have massive sing-alongs in the local parks. This would be fuelled by the cheapest wine we could get our hands on, benson and hedges cigarettes and a KFC bucket shared between us. We would go into the woods, drink alta mesa and the song “The Day We Caught The Train” by Ocean Colour Scene would ALWAYS be on out setlist! We would then stumble back into town and drink at any pub that would serve us, but my point is, Fried Chicken has always reminded me of those days. When making this, I crank up Moseley Shoals (named after the studio it was recorded in) and sing like it is 1996. No racial stereotypes from me, thank you very much.