Celebrations are a natural during July 4th, and we’ve got a festive dish that both adults and kids will love — tofu cut into cut stars and stripes, and pan-fried in a savory gluten-free coating. You will pledge you allegiance to this recipe for sure!
If you aren’t used to working with tofu, it’s crucial to be aware that you buy the correct texture. To hold up during the cutting and frying processes, you will need extra firm blocks. When you get the tofu home, freeze it overnight, then allow to thaw to room temperature for the recipe prep. Always go for organic, too – as that assures there are no GMOs in the soy.
We think homemade coatings and sauces are the best, however, if you are crunched for time you can use pre-made seasoned bread crumbs (available at any major grocer, and even with gluten-free options) and just put out any dipping sauce your family enjoys, like BBQ sauce, ketchup, salad dressing or mustard.
If you are planning to serve this dish at a gathering, you can make the dipping sauces ahead of time and chill them, as well as mixing up the coating. On the day-of, all you need to do is cut, bread and fry the tofu. Not into frying? No worries, this recipe works in the oven too. Instead of pan-frying, place the coated stars and stripes on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes per side, until golden brown and crisp. Honestly, though, these are way tastier fried!
Sriracha Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup (we like Annie’s Homegrown Organic)
1 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
salt/pepper, to taste
Tangy Blueberry Dipping Sauce
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled
1 tsp. fresh basil
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 lemon, juiced
pinch red pepper flakes
Stars and Stripes Tofu
3 cups corn flakes (we used One Degree Ancient Maize Flakes)
1 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbls. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 14-oz. packs of extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed
8 Tbls. ground flax seed meal (we like Bob’s Red Mill, or grind your own)
2 cups water
1/2 cup peanut oil for frying (or your favorite high-temp oil)
salt to taste
Make your dipping sauces first. While you fry the tofu, the sauces can be chilling in the fridge and more complex flavors will develop. To make the Sriracha Dipping Sauce, combine ketchup, molasses, onion powder, sriracha hot sauce, vinegar and salt/pepper in a bowl. Mix by hand; cover and chill. For the Tangy Blueberry Dipping Sauce. Combine ginger and basil leaves in a food processor or blender. Pulse into small pieces. Add blueberries, vinegar, onion powder, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Pulse into a chunky liquid. Pour into a bowl, cover and chill.
To make the stars and stripes, open both thawed packs of extra firm tofu and press out all the liquid carefully. You can do this by hand or use a few heavy books stacked on top for a few minutes to get the tofu liquid out. When it seems pretty dry, slice each block into three pieces, going across, to create thin slabs. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter or knive to make the stars and stripes shapes.
For the coating, combine corn cereal, black pepper, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cumin in a food processor or blender. Pulse into fine crumbs. Alternatively, add these ingredients to a zip-top bag and pound with a rolling pin – a fun way for kids to help or for the chef to get out some tension! Transfer the finished seasoned crumbs to a low-edge dish, like a pie pan.
To bread the tofu, make a flax seed meal slurry. This will act as the binder. In a low-edge dish, mix together flax seed meal and water until it becomes thick and gooey.
Pour peanut oil into a heavy-bottom pan. Warm for several minutes over medium-high heat; if the oil isn’t how, the coating won’t stick properly.
Set up an assembly line: First is the tofu shapes, next the flax meal slurry, then the hot oil and finally a plate with paper towels. Dredge the tofu shapes in flax meal slurry until all edges are coated; next coat in the corn cereal crumbs. Fry in hot oil, about one to two minutes per side. You must watch it carefully – this burns easily! Transfer to paper-towel lined plate and salt as desired. Repeat with all tofu shapes.
Your tofu stars and stripes will be crispy and tan on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve warm with chilled dipping sauces and enjoy your holiday!
What to do with the odd leftover tofu you ask- the pieces that came out from the stars and stripes? Whatever you want! You can make them the same way or save the scraps to put into a tofu scramble or salad another day!
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