Planticized jalapeño poppers with smoked tofu
I promised you another Planticized appetizer before the big game, and here it is. These wonderful snacks are also perfect for home movie evenings and for keeping hungry guests at bay while you cook the main meal – so again, don’t wait for halftime, you can make these anytime!
When some people hear the word “vegan” or “plant-based” they think, “What is there to eat, grass?” But nothing could be further from the truth, especially these days. And while a spicy, little, green vegetable is at the center of this recipe, all the things around it are going to make you go, “Ohh and Ahhh…”
Not only are there great-tasting, 100% plant-based cheeses available nowadays, there is an ever-growing variety of them. For these poppers I used a cheddar-style cheese (which has no preservatives and contains only natural colors and flavors) based on coconut oil and a cream cheese based on oats. I want to point this out so that no one thinks these things come from a bunch of chemicals. These fantastic products make it so easy to Planticize your favorite foods – and I’m here to show you how!
I wanted to add some more texture to the heart of the popper, and a little bit of salt and smoke – so I used my go-to method of taking firm, smoked tofu and making it even smokier by marinating it in liquid smoke and soy sauce. This is my absolute favorite method of adding bacon-like flavor to a dish. Of course before marinating the tofu you can cut or slice it different ways for different purposes: slicing it very thinly will give you something very much like small rashers of bacon, cubing it for something pancetta-like or finely chopped into bits, as I did for this recipe.
When it comes to breading (coating something with breadcrumbs) you need something to make the crumbs stick. You could use an unsweetened plant milk, like almond milk, but I find that something a little thicker works better. For these jalapeño poppers I took some oat-based crème fraiche and thinned it out just a little with water. It’s easier to make something like this or sour cream thinner, than it is to make milk thicker. You can use the same method I used here for making mozzarella sticks, onion rings…
As for the crumbs themselves, I’m a sucker for panko. Panko are Japanese-style breadcrumbs that are more like small flakes, and are larger and more airy than normal breadcrumbs. They really give fried and deep fried foods a fantastic crunch!
I see every recipe as a suggestion of how to do something, not a rule, and the same goes here. When you are coating and breading these, play around a bit and see what works best for you. I just happened to have both normal and panko breadcrumbs in the cupboard the day I made these, so I started with the flour coating, then a breadcrumb coating and then a panko coating. And wow, they are amazing! The perfect mix of crunchy and creamy consistencies, together with the heat of the jalapeño and the complimentary cooling of the cream cheese. Is your mouth watering? Mine is. Again!
Well, I can’t type with messy fingers so I’ll leave you to make and then enjoy these Planticized jalapeño poppers with smoked tofu!
- 3 oz (ca 85 g) - smoked tofu
- 1 tsp (5ml) - liquid smoke
- 2 tsp (10ml) - soy sauce
- 8 oz (200 g) - jalapeño peppers
- 6 oz (170 g) - oat-based cream cheese
- 6 oz (170 g) - plant-based cheddar cheese
- 3 oz (ca 85 g) - oat-based crème fraiche
- breadcrumbs and/or panko
- oil for frying
- Chop the firm, smoked tofu into small pieces, add the liquid smoke and soy sauce. Let marinate for about 15 minutes while you chop the jalapeños.
- De-seed the jalapeños and cut them in half. I had huge ones, so I cut a lot in half again. (Don't rub your eyes or anything else for that matter!)
- Grab your marinated tofu bits and fry them quickly on high heat.
- Mix the two cheeses in a bowl, and add the smoked tofu bits.
- Scoop up some of the cheese mix and press into the jalapeño pieces - I use my hands.
- Put the flour, breadcrumbs and/or panko and your thinned out crème fraiche into separate small bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the liquid and then into the flour and let them dry.
- Now dip the stuffed jalapenos into the liquid and then the breadcrumbs. Make sure the whole popper is coated with crumbs, Either triple dip, like I did, or just re-dip and touch up the ones with a thinner coating.
- Half fill a small pot (to avoid using too much) with oil and heat on medium high. Fry the poppers until golden (about 2 minutes) and drain on paper towels.
- Chow down!