Mock-Chicken Tofu

First off, a shout-out to my girl Angela, who introduced me to my new obsession: SPIKE!

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Have you heard of this stuff? When I got to class on Monday Angela just happened to have a bottle of Spike in her super-cutesy-designer handbag.  After we all made fun of her for bringing a big spice bottle—but no writing utensil—to class, she said that she couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried it yet, since apparently it’s the original hippie-seasoning from back-in-the-day that should be standard in every hippie household.   And then she told me that she wanted to donate the bottle to GreenPlateDinners! After a moment of disbelief–“people are actually liking my blogs?”–I gladly said I’d try it and let my readers know my honest opinion.  And just like that, I got my first free food item!! 😀 I figured that, since she obviously went to the store specifically for Spike, it had to be good.  And boy is it ever!

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[the first thing I tried it on was a hard-boiled egg – the Salt-Free version (which has all-natural dried veggies, herbs + nutritional yeast) gave my egg just the right touch!]

Apparently Spike has a kajillion (approximately) flavors, including hot+spicy, vegit, all-purpose, and vege-sal.  Angela gave me the Salt-Free version, which I probably would have chosen myself anyway (seriously, how much do my friends rock?!).

“Decreasing sodium intake to within recommended limits could prevent thousands of deaths annually.  High sodium consumption raises blood pressure… a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the nation’s first and third leading causes of death, respectively.”  –Centers for Disease Control + Prevention.

Ben and I have been sodium-conscious for years now for the above reason.  Most Americans don’t recognize the shocking amount of sodium they consume every day. To be honest, I didn’t recognize it either.  Since decreasing our salt intake, however, Ben and I can truly taste the high salt content that comes standard with pre-made or pre-packaged foods [there are even times we can’t finish a plate at a fancy restaurant because of how salty it is].  I can also feel the difference in my body after eating salty foods.  The next day I’ll typically feel bloated, retain water (resulting in a higher weight on the scale), and notice that my fingers are swollen. ——

Another thing that Angela mentioned when she handed me the bottle of Spike was that it’s used for Down-to-Earth’s “mock-chicken tofu”.

Are you kidding me?  I’ve been trying for years to replicate that ‘ono recipe!

That love affair started years ago. Back in high school, my best friend Marissa and I would get two things from our local natural food store – herbed potatoes + mock-chicken tofu.  Down-to-Earth has the texture down perfectly – dense enough to actually feel like chicken without being dry (or soggy) and perfectly coated with the right amount of flavor.  I’ve tried any + all of the combinations: firm tofu, extra firm tofu, pressing the tofu, baking it, frying it, coating before cooking, coating after cooking, adding/decreasing seasoning, high heat/low heat… [I know, I’m obsessed].

With the key ingredient in hand, I knew what I had to create.

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Mock-Chicken Tofu

[kala mai the fluorescent photos – I had to create the recipe a.s.a.p. (obviously)]

[Ingredients]

  • 18 oz. firm tofu
  • ~2 Tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • ~3 Tbsp Spike Salt-Free seasoning
  • ~6 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes [an excellent food for vegetarians because of its protein (52%), essential amino acid, folic acid, and super high B-complex vitamin content.  It’s also naturally low in fat and salt, gluten-free and tastes good on anything from kale chips to omelets]

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Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes.

Space out pieces of tofu on a lipped-baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees until moisture has started to evaporate (about 10 minutes), then flip tofu to cook evenly.

Spray or gently drizzle 1/2 bragg’s mixture onto tofu [we have a spray bottle, which made it really easy).

Bake for another 5-10 minutes, just to firm up the tofu a bit more.

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While the tofu is baking, mix together nutritional yeast and Spike in flat-bottomed bowl.

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Spray or drizzle the other half of Bragg’s onto the tofu, then coat the cubes and place them back onto the baking tray.

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[does this photo remind anyone else of those 3D images where you had to cross your eyes to see the object?]

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Bake again for about 5 minutes, just to let everything set in.

Coat the tofu again afterwards if necessary.

Enjoy! Makes six 30z. servings.

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Incredible! Ben and I were so excited to eat our green plate dinner that night!  I’m pretty sure Down to Earth uses extra-firm tofu to give it a denser texture, but the coating and flavor were spot on!  We will definitely be making this again and again.

Oh, and just to let you know, Spike has taken the spot as my favorite kitchen spice (surpassing the Volcano Spice Tropical Blend with Tarragon thanks to its usability and salt-consciousness).  So even if you don’t self-identify as a hippie, I think it should be a household staple 😉

Happy – healthy – eating!

Is there a certain food you’ve been trying to duplicate? Have you been successful?

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