I was having one of those weeks, feeling unwell, and definitely sorry for myself, we all have those days, when the world just seems too much to cope with and hibernation seems like a great idea. Well, I started hankering after childhood comfort food. I find it truly amazing how just the scent of a certain food aroma can evoke such strong emotions and memories. It is one of those things, that I love about food. For me, it is mixing up a bowl of sage and onion stuffing. For me, that is my childhood Christmas with my mum. The emotions are still strong even though or maybe more so as I lost her 25 years ago.
I decided to try, and recreate gluten-free and vegan versions. Maybe bring them up to date a little bit.
I really have no idea why I have never made this one before, maybe. Strange, as I made chicken nuggets. I am a big fan of tofu, the extra firm is like a sponge waiting to soak up wonderful flavours.
Chicken Kiev was my Friday night dinner, it felt very sophisticated as a child. It was not always the ready-made one, there were many advantages of having a chef as a dad. Mum would go to town every Friday, and my dad would cook this for us. It seemed like he was always working when I was a child, only now as an adult I realise the long hours the catering trade demands.
Well, I hope you enjoy this one as I absolutely loved it.
- 1 280g block of extra firm tofu
- 3 cloves of garlic
- a handful of freshly chopped basil & flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 50g dairy-free butter
- 25g vegan parmesan (optional)
- 125g dry breadcrumbs (gluten-free or vegan, or both)
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 280 ml non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 3 tbsp cornflour
Preheat the oven to 220c
Drain the tofu, then wrap in a thick layer of absorbent kitchen paper, place on a chopping board with a heavy weight on top. Leave for 30 minutes, or if you remember, do it the night before. I really need a tofu press. I have been promising myself one for so long. It is now on my Christmas list.
Make up the lovely cheesy pungent butter by placing in a bowl the dairy-free butter, nutritional yeast, crushed garlic, vegan parmesan, finely chopped herbs and seasoning and mix it together. Place it into the fridge for 15 minutes while you prepare the breadcrumbs and dip.
Place the breadcrumbs into a bowl with the dried thyme, garlic salt and pepper.
Mix together in a separate bowl the milk and the ground flax seeds. Give them 5 minutes to thicken slightly.
Cut the tofu into four thick square slabs lengthways and then cut each one through the centre to give you eight pieces. On the flat sides of the tofu score it slightly in a criss-cross pattern, not too deep. This enables the tofu to absorb more flavour.
Remove the garlic butter from the fridge and spread it thickly onto four of the pieces and then sandwich them together with the other piece. Normally now I give them 5 minutes only in the freezer, just to make when easier to work with but it is not necessary.
Put the cornflour on a plate, then lightly press each side of the tofu steak, prior to dipping. This helps the breadcrumbs stick to the steak better.
Totally immerse each piece at a time in the milky liquid, so you cover the whole area. Then place into the breadcrumbs, making sure you press down well and cover all surfaces well with them. Very important, especially along the seam. This is where good firm tofu is definitely needed. One that does not crumble. I have tried many but for me, I tend to use Tofoo. Co* naked one.
Once all four are covered then place on a non- stick baking tray or one lined with baking parchment and cook for 20 minutes. Eat while lovely and hot.
I also found a lovely way to use any left-overs, they are lovely cut into slices and used in a wrap.
These keep in the fridge for five days. I am still on the fence with freezing tofu. Apparently, it makes the texture much softer. I have two in my freezer made up so I will update on the weekend once I cook and try them.
For children, doing them in finger form is a great idea. Much less daunting.
*I receive no financial remuneration for mentioning this product.