Fishing as a kid, I was in charge of scaling, and gutting. I was never a huge seafood fan, I just wanted the hush puppies. The plain ones too! I have a fun vegetarian friendly recipe using tofu for "hush puppies". I glazed them with an orange blossom chili, and topped them onto a cilantro cashew pesto. Very simple, and fun dish to serve as an appetizer, topped with stir fry veggies. Fun Asian vibe.
14 oz firm tofu (not extra firm)
6 oz All Purpose flour
Semolina flour or Cornmeal
Orange blossom water (Asian market/Ethnic food section at grocer)
In this recipe, it's all about the technique. I tried defrosting in different variations in order to get the right consistency, since defrosting plays a huge factor with tofu. Yes, freeze and defrost tofu. This way, it expands, and when you drain it, you'll have an easier time expelling that water, which will allow your tofu to absorb flavor more efficiently, and maintain a non rubbery texture
1. Defrost tofu overnight in fridge. Do not nuke it in microwave unless you want rubber balls for dinner.
2. Gently expel water from tofu. Press down and gently squeeze. When most water is expelled, place tofu on a lined plate with paper towels. Place a plate on top of tofu, with added weight, and let the rest of the water gently escape.
3. Take room temperature tofu, flour, salt to taste, and room temp eggs, combine.
4. Shape into golf ball sized bites. Roll onto semonlina or cornmeal.
5. Set in freezer. YES! If you fry them now, they're going to fall apart. Chill for about 20 minutes to set up
6. In a large, always deep pot, oil should be around 350-375. If you do not have a thermometer, no problem, test out a tofu ball.
7. Deep fry for about 4-5 minutes. Tofu balls should be golden brown, and crisp.
8. Place on paper towel lined platter/plate.
Orange Blossom Chili Glaze
1.Take your orange blossom water, heat up in sauce pan.
2.Score serrano pepper (cut little marks into it) This will help infuse heat.
3.Heat and reduce
4. Add equal part sugar.
5.Cook until dissolved.
6. Kill heat.
7. Baste Fried Tofu "Hush Puppies"
Cilantro Cashew Pesto
Peanut Oil (Be sure guests do not have a peanut allergy)
1. Blanch cilantro for 5 seconds in boiling water.
2. Transfer to iced water to stop cooking
3. In food processor, pulse cilantro, minced shallots, roasted cashews
4. Season with salt and kaffir lime (regular lime is fine to use if you cannot find kaffir)
5. Drizzle in peanut oil until all ingredients are combined into a nice pesto.
There you go! A few components to make a really memorable snack, or meal. Have fun with the flavor combinations, just remember that techniques are significant. Recipes, guidelines! If you don't like cilantro, use another herb, or a combination of some.