Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bang Bang Copycat.

Vegan Bang Bang Shrimp Tofu

Soooo, I get an embarrassingly high number of food magazines every month. They take over my living room and Mic hates it! I LOVE it! Even now that we are mostly eating vegan, I just love looking at the recipes and getting new ideas. I rarely follow a recipe, but I like to look at several recipes for one thing and then try to put together my own.

I get the Food Network Magazine, of course. I have an obsession with the Food Network in general. Each month they do a copycat recipe and a while ago, it was Bang Bang Shrimp from Bonefish Grill! Mic and I absolutely love Bang Bang Shrimp. They do Bang Wednesdays when it is just $5. If you've never had Bang Bang Shrimp, go get it. Right now. It is deep fried shrimp with a sweet and spicy sauce. It is the best!

Anyway after I saw the recipe, I promptly lost that copy of the magazine. I have about a years worth of Food Network Mags and it is not in any of them! Figures. Luckily I remember that the sauce is a mayo-base and has Sambal Oelek (an Asian chili paste/sauce that you can find in the Asian section at the grocery store) as the spicy element and some kind of sweetener.

In the original recipe, they dredge the shrimp in egg and flour twice to give it a thick coating and then deep fry them. Since we are doing the whole vegan thing, shrimp and eggs are both out of the question and we try to stay away from deep frying in general. On Monday, I decided to make some vegan Bang Bang Tofu. It was so good that I made it again last night.

Here's how you do it...

Vegan Bang Bang Tofu

4 Tbsp Vegenaise (or Mayo)
2 tsp Honey or Agave Syrup
1-3 tsp Sambal Oelek
Pinch of Salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. I'd add 1 tsp of the sambal oelek, then taste it to see how much more you want to add. These 1 cup prep bowls from Pampered Chef are my favorite!

1 Block of Tofu (firm or extra firm, not silken) You could probably use shrimp instead.
1/4 C Flour
Pinch of Salt
1 Tbsp Earth Balance (or butter or oil of choice)
1-2 Sliced Scallions

1. Press your tofu. You can layer paper towels or a clean dish towel and place your tofu on top, then fold the towel up to cover the tofu and place something heavy ( such as a large pan, or a few books) on top. Lots of liquid will come out, so you may want to check it every so often to see if you need to replace the paper towels with dry ones. Or you could get one of these...

My friends, Kerry and Melissa (you know them from current events), got me this for my bday! I love it!

2. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch-ish cubes.

3. Put 1/4 Cup of flour and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Add half the tofu and give it a few shakes until all the pieces are covered with flour.

4. Heat your Earth Balance/butter/oil in a large skillet. Wait until it is hot, then add your tofu cubes one at a time. Yep, one at a time. It takes a few extra seconds but you don't want any excess flour in the hot oil.
5. Let them cook for a few minutes, checking the bottoms of the cubes occasionally until they are brown. Like this...

6. Give them a stir and cook for a few more minutes, stirring every so often until browned on all sides.

7. Place on paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

8. At this point, if your pan is dry, you will need to add a small amount of oil to keep the second half of the tofu from burning. Once it is hot, you can begin the second batch.

9. Once all your tofu is cooked, you can add the sauce. I like to use the same bowl that I used to dredge the tofu (we don't have a dishwasher), just give it a rinse in between. Pour the sauce into the bown, reserve about 2 Tbsp to use for dressing if you're going to put it over greens, then add the tofu and stir gently with a spatula.

10. If you want to turn your reserved Bang Bang sauce into salad dressing, add 1 tsp of vinegar and 1 tsp honey or agave to the reserved sauce. Pour it over your greens and add your tofu. Add sliced green onions on the top.
Mic prefers to make his into tacos. He adds greens and salsa, but be careful, the salsa can overpower the Bang Bang sauce. If it were me, I'd add some extra bang bang sauce with the greens instead of salsa. Yum!

Some variation ideas:
-This would be awesome with just about any protein
-This sauce would be delish as a sandwich spread
-Add some cilantro along with the green onions


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