Prep Time: 8 - 24 hours for freezing
Cook Time: 25 minutes to prepare all 8 tofu patties
I've never been to Nashville, but I truly am dying to see what it's like and eat the food! It wasn't until I moved to New York that I heard of this thing called a Nashville fried chicken.
First time I had it was at Sweet Chick in Brooklyn; known for their chicken and waffles combos. I remember my boyfriend finding it weird that I was getting a spicy fried chicken breast on top a sweet waffle dredged in maple syrup. This became my staple whenever I ate at Sweet Chick so much that when I discovered Peaches Hot House in Bedstuy, I couldn't help but order the Nashville fried chicken and waffles meal there, too. In 2015, Peaches claimed to be "the only restaurant in the northeast where you can find authentic Nashville fried chicken", however, I think a few restaurants in New York alone are giving them a run for their money.
I decided to turn my favorite brunch meal into this vegish dinner/lunch recipe. Frying tofu is the best way to eat it, but you can't just throw the piece of tofu on a pan with some oil and pray for the best.
To get the tofu "patty" to really take on the taste and texture of chicken, you have to start by freezing it overnight. When I buy tofu and bring it home, I drain the water from the packaging, place the container into the freezer and leave it until frozen (about 3-4 hours to overnight).
Once the tofu is ready, don't be alarmed by the yellow color. It's very normal. Just set aside and fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating up add 4 chicken bouillon cubes and 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper. Remember tofu tastes like nothing. Use this time to make a marinade for the tofu to boil in. Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, adobo, are a few things that can be added to the water to create flavor. For this Nashville hot chicken patties, we will add chicken seasoning (bouillon cubes by Knorr) and cayenne pepper for that Nashville heat! Let tofu boil until center can be poked through with a fork.
Next, in a medium bowl combine 1 cup of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 cup bread crumbs (seasoned), 2 tbsp chili powder, cayenne pepper for added spice, 1 tbsp paprika for the color, and salt and pepper. Be mindful of the amount of salt you added to your tofu water. If your seasoned water had a generous amount of salt added, then just add a pinch to the flour.
After about 10-15 minutes poke the center of the tofu with a fork to make sure it is no longer frozen.
Once it's fully defrosted, drain the water and place the tofu block on a drying rack. At this step try to squeeze as much water out as possible. Let sit for about 10 minutes. You can place a paper towel and something heavy on top to help remove the water too.
Cut the block into 4 -1"-1.5" thick patties and pat dry; this will help the flour stick.
One by one place each pattie into the breading mixture and completely cover all sides. Heat a pan with enough oil to cover the patties about half way, around 1/4 cup based on how big your pan is; best bet is to eyeball it. Heat pan on medium-high.
Without overcrowding the pan, cook each side of the patty for about 6-8 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove the patties from the pan and place on a drying rack. Using a drying rack when cooking allows air to hit all sides and helps tofu or even chicken get crispier. Serve patties on a toasted bun with sweet potato fries and a side salad like I did!
1 tofu package serves 4 patties
2 packages of firm or extra firm tofu (8 patties)
cheese slices (optional)
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup bread crumbs (seasoned)
2 tbsp chili powder
cayenne pepper for added spice
1 tbsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Freeze tofu patties overnight.
Once tofu is frozen, remove from freezer and set aside, Prep a bowl with flour, bread crumbs, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Sprinkle in Knorr chicken bouillon seasoning and cayenne pepper.
Place patties into boiling water and leave until thawed, drain and pat dry with paper towel. Cut tofu blocks into 4 patties per block, about 1"-1.5" thick.
One by one, press each patty into the flour bowl. Cover all sides with flour.
Heat pan to medium/high heat and pour enough cooking oil to cover patties a little less than halfway. Eyeball amount based off size of your pan. Without overcrowding the pan, add patties and cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on drying rack. Use this time to add more chili and cayenne seasoning to really get that Nashville heat.
Prepare the rest of your sandwich condiments such as cheese, lettuce, tomato, and buns. Serve with sweet potato fries and a side salad.
Optional: Sweet and Spicy Sauce
In a small sauce pan, over low heat, mix together 2 parts hot sauce to 1 part honey. Whisking to combine ingredients seamlessly. Add a pinch of salt and pour sauce over chicken patties.
Optional: Add Cheese!
Vegan cheese is perfectly suitable for this meal.
Serve sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries and a homemade caesar salad!