Just because I am a vegetarian, does not mean I don’t like comfort food. Over the 19 years I have navigated veggie territory, it has become abundantly clear to me that in the eyes of most chefs, “vegetarian” means “healthy”. That is not to say that this recipe is not. In moderation, fried foods have their place just as a raw salad does, however it’s rare to find vegetarian food that holds a good balance. I love that this dish can be served up alongside regular sides like my Mashed Potatoes and Hot Red Pepper Cream Sauce, while the meat-eaters can enjoy the equivalent versions at the same time.
Even better, it’s super easy and super fast! And who doesn’t love a good schnitz? For vegan versions of this recipe, there are egg substitutes available such as this Ener-G one, but to be honest the ingredients list absolutely terrifies me! I buy organic eggs from the farmer’s market, straight from the farmer to my table, where I know the chickens are free to roam, happy and healthy.
- Extra firm tofu (I used this 365 organic version, to give you an idea, but you can choose anything with a similar firm texture that won’t fall apart in the saucepan, or even seitan)
- All purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- Cup of breadcrumbs (I love the big, fresh crunchy ones from Whole Foods, or you can make your own!)
- Vegetable oil
- Prepare your breading station by putting eggs, flour and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Whisk egg with a fork until combined through.
- Most firm tofus are sold in a brine. If so, wash it and dry thoroughly so the flour will stick. Slice into approximately 2cm wide portions (just under an inch).
- Dip one tofu slice into the flour ensuring there is a full, light, even covering on each side. Dip into the egg, ensuring there is no excess dripping off, then coat with breadcrumbs. If you don’t drip the excess egg off before applying the breadcrumbs, they won’t stick and your schnitz will be bald!
- Repeat with the rest of the tofu slices. Beware, this process is MESSY. But who doesn’t like getting a little dirty in the kitchen?
- Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan on high. You will need to have enough oil so that the tofu will be completely submerged, approximately 1-2″. Test by sprinkling a breadcrumb or two into the oil. If it bubbles, it’s ready.
- Drop enough pieces of tofu into the saucepan that they have an even coverage, usually 2-3 at a time. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side or until golden brown. Because the tofu is not too dense and transfers heat quickly, they can burn easily, so keep a close eye while you do this. The last time I did this I have to admit there was a small fire (and plenty of smoke) when some of the batter spat out of the pan and onto the flame, so watch out and use long-handle tongs during this process!
- Remove from oil and drain on a flat plate covered in a paper towel, and repeat until all the tofu is done.
- Serve! Your tofu schnitzels will keep in the fridge for a day or two, and are also perfect on crispy bread with tomato sauce as a schnitzel sandwich!