Vegan Kentucky Fried Chick’n
It’s pretty damn hard to tell that these tender, crispy nuggets from Gaz Oakley’s cookbook Vegan 100 aren’t, well, actual chicken. That’s because they’re made from seitan, a wheat-based dough that completely transforms when you cook it. If you’re running short on time, you can substitute cauliflower florets for seitan—the spicy batter is really the star of the show.
6 ounces firm tofu
½ cup soy milk
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup seitan (vital wheat gluten)
¼ cup chickpea flour, plus more for dusting
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
4 cups vegetable stock
1 onion, quartered
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried chile flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chickpea flour
1. Make the Chick’n: In a blender, combine the tofu, soy milk, miso paste, tarragon, sage, onion powder, garlic powder and seasalt. Blitz until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, combine the seitan and chickpea flour. Add the wet mixture to the bowl and stir until it forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface lightly dusted with chickpea flour.
3. Knead the dough for at least 8 minutes, until quite firm and elastic. (This is the most important part of the recipe. If you don’t knead it properly, you will be left with horrible, spongy seitan.)
4. Form the dough into a rectangle around ½-inch thick and cut it into four pieces. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
5. Make the Broth: In a large saucepan, combine the vegetable stock, onion, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the broth is lightly simmering.
6. Add the chick’n pieces to the broth and pop the lid on. Simmer for 35 minutes, flipping the pieces once. Remove the pieces and set aside to cool. They should have almost doubled in size and feel quite meaty. Tear or cut them into smaller pieces.
7. Make the Kentucky Coating: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, sugar, cayenne, chile flakes, oregano, paprika, sage, allspice, pepper and salt.
8. Make the Batter: In a large bowl, mix the chickpea flour with 1 cup water.
9. Working with one piece of chick’n at a time, dip it into the batter and then into the Kentucky coating. Dip it into the batter and Kentucky coating once more and then transfer to a plate in the refrigerator. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
10. Fill a large saucepan fitted with a deep-fry thermometer halfway full with oil and heat the oil to 350˚F. To test if the oil is hot enough in the saucepan, drop a cube of bread into the oil. If it floats to the top right away, the oil is ready.
11. Working in batches, carefully fry the chick’n pieces until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes.
12. If you’d prefer to bake the chick’n pieces, heat the oven to 350˚F and bake until golden and crisp, 23 to 25 minutes.
13. Once cooked, transfer to a parchment-lined plate to soak up any excess oil. Serve immediately.