Vegan Chick'n Fries
I was admittedly dubious of these, but after dippin' them, I GET IT!
I never tried these before going vegan, mostly because I thought they were a silly gimmick. But after making them, I can see why everyone loves them. They are perfect for dipping, even better than Chick'n Nuggets! I will gladly admit when I'm wrong and this was one of those times!
I've made these with the Gardein Strips (any of there non-breaded chick'n products will work) and you can also make them with the Ground Chick'n by Emerge which is the Kroger / Ralphs brand. Both are good, but I do prefer the Gardein. You can also use Seitan or whatever vegan chick'n you can get your hands on. You could even just slice some tofu into strips!
The process is quite simple. Let your vegan chick'n strips thaw, smash two together, roll into a chick'n fry. Then freeze them to firm up as they'll be quite fragile. After that we just need to put together a dredging station with some seasoned flour, a wet mixture (I used Just Egg but you could also use a vegan buttermilk mixture) and some panko breadcrumbs. Then just dredge and fry!
We're also gonna whip up a couple of zip zappin' sauces, since these Chick'n Fries are made for dippin'! First is a Creamy Buffalo Sauce, and then a classic Honey Mustard! Both of them were phenomenal! I really just eyeballed them, but I'll leave approximate ingredients. These should really be done to taste anyhow!
And as usual, HERE'S a HANDY DANDY video too!
Tips for Fried Chick'n:
If using Gardein Chick'n products, thaw them overnight in the fridge or on the counter top for about an hour. DO NOT microwave or you'll end up cooking them and they won't be pliable.
Use an electric Deep Fryer like this FryDaddy.
If not using an electric deep fryer, get a deep fry thermometer. You can use a different one if you fry in a pan, but for my money, the deep fry thermometer has been a big help. I like to fry at 375° F.
Use a wire rack after frying to prevent the chick'n from steaming itself and getting soggy. You can also keep the Fried Chick'n warm in the oven on a wire rack. Just set the oven to lowest setting possible. Mine goes down to 170° F as an example.
Don't use olive oil to fry. You need to use something with a high smoke point, I usually fry with peanut or vegetable oil.
For the vegan buttermilk, really let the plant-milk and vinegar sit for a good 5 -10 minutes. I have found that different plant-milks will thicken more or less. If it's not thick enough, add some more vinegar.
Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
You can freeze these for later, just Air Fry to reheat (I would do it at 380° in 5 - 6 minute increments and check until it's heated through). Or if using an oven, preheat to 400° F and let the Chick'n sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Then cook on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes.
Air Fryer Option
If you prefer less oil, you can use the same technique for Air Frying with THIS RECIPE.
Or, spray the Chick'n with some cooking oil, Air Fry for about 5 minutes at 400° F, then flip and spray them again, and repeat the process until they are at your desired doneness!
One important note, DO NOT preheat your Air Fryer with the parchment paper. Otherwise the paper will fly into the coils and cause a fire! NOOOO!
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2 pack of Gardein Meatless Strips (or equal amounts of whatever Vegan Chicken you have available) should make about 22 Chick'n Fries.
Panko Breadcrumbs (about 1 cup)
1 cup flour
1/2 Tbsp garlic salt
1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 Tbsp cayenne
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp MSG
1 cup vegan egg or
1 cup unsweetened plant milk + 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Creamy Buffalo Sauce
(rough estimates, should be done to taste!)
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce (more to taste)
1 Tbsp Frank's seasoning (optional)
(rough estimates, should be done to taste!)
1/3 cup vegan mayo
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp Chinese hot mustard (optional)
2 Tbsp vegan honey (or agave, maple syrup)
1 tsp white vinegar
Thaw your Gardein chick'n strips.
Smash two strips together and then roll out into a chick'n fry shape. I suggest using some parchment paper so they don't stick.
Freeze your Chick'n Fries for 1 hour.
While Chick'n freezes, combine ingredients for the Honey Mustard and Creamy Buffalo sauce respectively. Add to the fridge until needed.
Let's make our dredging station. For the wet dredge, in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate, add vegan egg or vegan buttermilk (1 cup plant milk and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar). In another bowl or rimmed plate, combine the ingredients for the dry dredge. In a third bowl, add your panko breadcrumbs.
When Chick'n Fries have been freezing for 45 minutes, heat up some oil in a pot to 350-375 F.
Once oil is up to 350 - 375 degrees, dredge your chick'n fries in the seasoned flour dredge, then the vegan egg / buttermilk, and lastly the panko, shaking off any excess flour and batter, and ensuring total coverage on each phase. Place carefully in oil and let them fry until golden brown. Let them rest on a cooling rack.
Once Chick'n Fries are all done, go ahead and get to dippin' them!