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Marc's Marinated Tofu Cutlets

What you need: 

1 1/2 cups fruit juice (I like pineapple-coconut)
1/3 cup tamari or other soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ground chile pepper (preferably ancho chile)
1 pound firm tofu, frozen, thawed, and drained
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons arrowroot or 3 tablespoons white flour

What you do: 

1. Combine fruit juice, tamari, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and chile pepper in a bowl. Whisk until oil is well combined; set marinade aside. Cut tofu into 8 equal cutlets by cutting in 1/2 the short way, and dividing the halves into quarters.
2. Place tofu in a dish and marinate for at least 1 hour up to 12 hours. I usually start it in the morning and let it marinate about 8 hours. In a shallow dish, (glass pie pan) combine flour, oats, and bread crumbs.
3. Take marinated tofu cutlets and dredge through the dry mix making sure to cover the entire cutlet. Add olive oil to a hot skillet and pan fry cutlets, until vegan breading turns a dark golden brown.
4. Remove cutlets from pan and place in oven to keep warm. Add marinade mixture to skillet. Add arrowroot to skillet, whisk, and reduce marinade until it forms a nice thick gravy.
5. Add water if too thick, or more arrowroot if too thin. Serve with gravy on the side.
This makes a great substitute for the normal Thanksgiving main entree. Serve with traditional side dishes, and don't forget the tofu pumpkin pie!

Preparation Time: 
30-45 minutes
Cooking Time: 
Servings: 
2-4
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

I remember when this recipe first appeared on VegWeb and I've been meaning to try it ever since.  I finally made a double batch of it last night--almost exactly as written with a few very minor changes (i.e., very little chile powder, whole wheat pastry flour instead of whole wheat and no seasoning in the coating except for seasoned salt).  I baked mine instead of frying them and reserved a little of the coating to reapply to the cutlets when I flipped them over.

We enjoyed these very much.  My children did not like the topping and took it off their tofu, which is insane because it is the best part.  The oats add a very nice texture and flavor.  The "gravy" is not like a traditional gravy with all that ginger and sesame oil--it is definitely Asian inspired and a little goes a long way.  I don't know if it would go that well with mashed potatoes, but I served it with rice and it was yummy.  I also served it with carrots since that was all I had on hand but string beans, broccoli or steamed leafy greens would have been excellent with the sauce.

My only suggested improvements are to cut the tofu into fifths instead of quarters since that will give you slightly thinner slices with more crunchy coating overall.  I would definitely bake them again.  And when making the gravy I would dissolve the arrowroot in a couple of spoonfuls of cold water first.  I followed the directions against my better judgment and the arrowroot did not immediately dissolve in the cold marinade.  That is okay but you have to get the lumps out and make sure the arrowroot is completely dissolved before heating the sauce.  Otherwise I suspect you will wind up with goopey things in your gravy.  Also, the sauce only cooks for a few minutes, so be sure to grate your ginger and garlic or otherwise make sure it is cut up very fine.

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can spelt flour be used instead of wheat flour? I have a friend who may be coming for thanksgiving who is allergic to wheat.

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Very good!  I'm pretty bad a making good tofu, but this came out great!

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