Being a good source of protein, extra firm tofu is a staple in my fridge, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. Typically I marinate and bake it, which gives it a firmer texture, but it isn’t as crispy on the outside as deep fried tofu. Not wanting to deep fry, I was looking for other ideas and found this vegan fried chicken recipe. Wrapping in rice paper and then pan frying - what a brilliant idea! Instead of wrapping each piece of tofu individually, I decided to use two tofu slices with some sauteed spinach sandwiched in between. The rice wrapper helped contain the delicious juices from the spinach and the tofu marinade, while the crust was nice and crispy.
Ingredients (Makes 10 tofu sandwiches: ~4-5 servings)
14 oz extra firm tofu
Marinade (Any other marinade will also work)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced (or garlic powder)
1/2 tsp grated ginger (or ginger powder)
1 tsp honey
Adjust ingredients to taste if required
10 oz spinach
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp coarsely chopped cashews
1 tsp sesame seeds
Soy sauce or salt for seasoning
1 tsp sesame oil (or any other oil of your choice)
5 rice paper wrappers
1 egg beaten + salt + black pepper to taste
Optional: ¼ cup rice flour + garlic powder + salt + pepper
Oil for pan frying
The tofu and the spinach filling can be prepared separately ahead of time.
Prepare the tofu
Drain and slice the tofu about ½” thick. Cut each slice in two to get about 2x2” pieces. Using a paper towel squeeze out excess water from the tofu slices.
Mix all the marinade ingredients and soak the tofu slices in the marinade for at least half an hour.
The marinated tofu can be used as is, or the slices can be baked or cooked in a pan on the stovetop. I used the stovetop method - lightly browning the tofu on both sides in a non stick pan over medium heat (no oil required).
Heat oil and saute garlic, cashews and sesame seeds over medium heat for a few seconds. Add spinach and mix well. Take off the heat once spinach is wilted but still crunchy.
Break the rice papers in half and soak in warm water until softened.
Place one of the wrapper halves on a plate. Place a piece of tofu close to one end. Top it with a Tbsp of spinach filling followed by another piece of tofu. Fold the sides up and start rolling from the end. Keep rolling tightly till you get to the other end of the rice paper. Set aside the wrapped tofu 'sandwich' and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
These wrapped tofu bites can be eaten as is with a dipping sauce if you don’t want to fry them. For the crispy pan fried version, heat a few drops of oil - just enough to lightly coat the bottom of a non-stick pan. Dip the wrapped tofu in the egg, then dip it in the flour mixture, dust off excess flour and pan fry on all sides until golden brown. The flour dipping definitely gives extra crunchiness (picture at the top of the post), but I liked it best just dipped in egg before pan frying (picture below).
Drizzle with your favorite sauce (I boiled and reduced the marinade; added some more vinegar, honey to make the sauce), and serve warm.
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