My mother more or less raised me vegetarian. I say more or less, because we rarely ever ate meat at home. The only time we ate meat as a family was when we were out and about; meaning that we would be out grocery shopping in a nearby town, and would stop at Burger King for a chicken sandwich on the way home. The funny thing about my mom is that chicken was the only kind of meat she would allow us to eat, and it was only consumed from a fast food chain like Burger King– oh, and the odd chicken hot dog. Generally we ate really well as kids, but like any parent, enough nagging for a greasy burger would make my mom give in once in a while.
McDonalds had a bad reputation even when I was a small kid, so we never ate there. My dad, who loves junk food, would call it McDicks Crap and would make fun of us for even asking for it. But other parents bought it at birthday parties, and once my first friend could drive, we went there for lunch during school, so even I have had my own love affair with the Chicken McNugget.
When I originally decided to try to make this American favourite into its vegan counterpart I thought to myself, “Isn’t most of the flavour coming from the batter and sauce?” I was pretty convinced that it would be an easy one to recreate. In some ways it was, and in others it was not. I tried it with tofu, but it really just tasted like dipped breaded tofu, which was delicious but nothing special.
After scratching my head for a few days, wondering how I could make really good vegan chicken nuggets, I recalled last christmas when I made a seitan turkey, and knew immediately that I could totally make seitan taste like chicken! And it did!
Ba da ba ba ba I’m Vegan it!
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp poultry seasoning
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup tahini
- 3-4 cups of vegetable broth, for cooking
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 eggs worth of prepared egg replacer (I like to use The Vegg)
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup tempura mix
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- In a mixing bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt and poultry seasoning.
- In a larger bowl, combine ¾ cup broth and tahini and whisk until smooth.
- Mix the dry ingredients with the wet and stir until well combined.
- Knead the dough until it is elastic but not dry. Sprinkle some additional gluten flour if you find you have made your dough too sticky.
- Divide the dough into small little nuggets. Keep in mind they will grow to about twice their size, so make then smaller then you would normally. You should have enough dough for 24. Place the nuggets in a casserole dish, with the chopped onion and cover them with remaining vegetable broth and foil.
- Cook nuggets in broth and onions for 1 hour in the oven at 350 degrees, flipping at 45 minutes.
- Place egg replacer in a small, shallow bowl.
- Combine the flour, tempura salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder in a large zip lock bag.
- Coat each nugget with the flour mixture by shaking in the zip lock bag.
- Remove and dredge each nugget in the “egg” mixture, coating well. Then return each filet to the flour/seasoning mixture. Shake to coat. Lay the nuggets on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for half an hour. Cover and refrigerate remaining egg mixture.
- After freezing, repeat the “coating” process.
- Deep fry the nuggets in a large pot of oil at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until light brown and crispy.