Vegan Fried Chick’n & Pan Gravy

This recipe was really important for me to master because of my grandpa. He made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and pan gravy (or fried chicken and potato salad) many times every summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It was his favorite thing to cook for his family, and I created this vegan version in his honor. When I was very small, I called him Colonel Grandpa Honey and his fried chicken was “chicken lookin’ good!” However, he loved all animals and I’m sure he would have become vegan if he had seen even a few of the videos on animal agriculture that are on You Tube now.

Here are some photos of my grandpa taken during World War II:

He sure was handsome! As a fighter pilot and a squadron commander, he was also a great man who understood the cost of war and the meaning of Memorial Day. He started one of his tours with 150 men in his squadron and was one of only two that survived.

My ingredients are quite different from my grandpa’s, but the techniques are his and the finished flavor is spot on. I think of him every time I make Vegan Fried Chick’n.

To make it, press two packages of extra-firm tofu, then assemble your ingredients:

Spray a half-sheet pan with non-stick spray:

Tear the pressed tofu into 32 pieces, which is 16 pieces per block of tofu. Do not cut it because the jagged edges help the batter to stick:

Bake the tofu for 10 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking the tofu makes it firmer, and the length of time you bake it depends on how you will be using your Vegan Fried Chick’n. Bake for 10 minutes if you will save it all to eat cold, and bake for 20 minutes if you will eat it all while it is fresh and hot. I usually go with 15 minutes because I will eat some hot and some later when it is cold.

Cool on a rack until the tofu pieces are only lukewarm, then shake them in a sealed bag with the cornstarch:

Add the garbanzo bean flour, Magickal Broth Powder, Magickal Seasoning Blend, and mustard to a large mixing bowl:

Add the water and whisk together until smooth:

Shake the tofu pieces again in the sealed bag, then add the coated tofu pieces to the batter:

Stir them gently with a spatula until coated evenly:

Add about a 1/2″ thick layer of a neutral flavor oil to a nonstick pan (I use canola) and heat it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the temperature I use on my induction cooktop anyway, but you may only need 350 to 360 degrees if you are measuring the temperature of the oil directly.

While the oil is heating, place a cooling rack in a half-sheet pan. Then, place two layers of paper towels on top of the rack:

Once the oil is hot, add 16 of the coated pieces of tofu:

Turn when a side is golden brown, and repeat until all the sides are perfectly brown:

Transfer the browned pieces to the paper towel-lined rack:

Cook the remaining 16 pieces the same way:

This step is only needed if you are making pan gravy to go with mashed potatoes. If you are not making pan gravy, you are done and can serve your Vegan Fried Chick’n hot or cold.

If you are making pan gravy, use a fork to drizzle the remaining batter into the hot oil:

Cook the bits until brown and crispy, then transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate as they get done. You want them really well done, but not burnt:

Get your gravy ingredients ready:

Add the Magickal Broth Powder to the warm water and mix to combine:

Add the unsweetened soy milk, and mix again:

Chop up the crispy bits into smaller bits about 1/8 to 1/4″ wide:

Mix the oat flour (or all-purpose) together with the pepper, paprika, and Magickal Seasoning Blend:

Get everything ready to go:

Melt the Earth Balance, then add the finely diced onion and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned:

Add the flour mixture and whisk well to combine. Cook for a few minutes to make a roux:

Gradually add about half of the milk mixture, whisking well after each addition:

It should look like this:

Add the rest of the milk mixture, and whisk to combine:

Add the chopped up crispy bits, then cook while whisking until the gravy is thickened:

This pan gravy is not as strongly flavored as a chick’n gravy. It is a creamy gravy based on the flavorful bits left after frying. I will share a Chick’n Gravy recipe with you soon, but this pan gravy recreates the one that my grandpa served with his fried chicken.

Serve your Vegan Fried Chick’n hot with mashed potatoes and pan gravy:

Or, serve it cold with potato salad!


Either way, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top of the Vegan Fried Chick’n on your plate. This step needs to be done last, and it doesn’t work to just add more seasoning to the batter. If you don’t believe me, try a piece without the salt and pepper, and then try a piece with it. This Vegan Fried Chick’n (with the salt and pepper on top) is one of my very favorite recipes! I really hope you make it and love it as much as I do!

 

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Vegan Fried Chick'n & Pan Gravy

Classic fried chicken flavor without the cruelty. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, or cold with potato salad!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Author Deborah Mesdag

Ingredients

Vegan Fried Chick'n

  • 2 14 oz packages Extra-Firm Tofu, pressed
  • 64 g (1/2 c) Corn Starch
  • 80 g (2/3 c) Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 37 g (1/4 c) Magickal Broth Powder
  • 7 g (1 3/4 tsp) Magickal Seasoning Blend.
  • 10 g (2 tsp) Dijon Mustard
  • 160 g (2/3 c) Water
  • Oil for frying

Pan Gravy

  • 28 g (2 TBS) Earth Balance Spread
  • 40 g (1/4 c) Finely Diced Onion
  • 30 g (1/4 c) Oat or All-Purpose Flour
  • 0.3 g (1/8 tsp) Black Pepper
  • 0.3 g (1/8 tsp) Paprika
  • 3.0 g (3/4 tsp) Magickal Seasoning Blend
  • 7 g (2 1/4 tsp) Magickal Broth Powder
  • 270 g (1 1/4 c) Warm Water
  • 270 g (1 1/4 c) Unsweetened Silk Soymilk
  • Reserved Crispy Bits from frying Vegan Fried Chick'n

Instructions

Vegan Fried Chick'n

  1. Press two packages of extra-firm tofuthen assemble your ingredients.

  2. Spray a half-sheet pan with non-stick spray. Tear the pressed tofu into 32 pieces, which is 16 pieces per block of tofu. Do not cut it because the jagged edges help the batter to stick. Bake the tofu for 10 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking the tofu makes it firmer, and the length of time you bake it depends on how you will be using your Vegan Fried Chick’n. Bake for 10 minutes if you will save it all to eat cold, and bake for 20 minutes if you will eat it all while it is fresh and hot. I usually go with 15 minutes because I will eat some hot and some later when it is cold.

  3. Let the pan cool on a rack until the tofu pieces are only lukewarm, then add the pieces to a Ziploc bag with the cornstarch. Seal the bag, then shake until all the pieces are coated and most of the cornstarch is sticking to the tofu.

  4. Add the garbanzo bean flour, Magickal Broth Powder, Magickal Seasoning Blend, and mustard to a large mixing bowl. Add the water and whisk together until smooth.

  5. Shake the tofu pieces in the cornstarch again, then add the coated tofu pieces to the batter. Stir them gently with a spatula until they are coated evenly.

  6. Add about a 1/2″ thick layer of a neutral flavor oil to a nonstick pan (I use canola) and heat it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the temperature I use on my induction cooktop anyway, but you may only need 350 to 360 degrees if you are measuring the temperature of the oil directly.

  7. While the oil is heating, place a cooling rack in a half-sheet pan. Then, place two layers of paper towels on top of the rack.

  8. Once the oil is hot, add 16 of the coated pieces of tofu. Turn when a side is golden brown, and repeat until all the sides are perfectly brown. Transfer the browned pieces to the paper towel-lined rack.Cook the remaining 16 pieces the same way.

  9. If you are making pan gravy, use a fork to drizzle the remaining batter into the hot oil. Cook the bits until brown and crispy, then transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate as they get done. You want them really well done, but not burnt.

Pan Gravy

  1. Get your gravy ingredients ready.

  2. Add the Magickal Broth Powder to the warm water and mix to combine. Add the unsweetened soy milk, and mix again.

  3. Chop up the reserved crispy bits into smaller bits about 1/8 to 1/4″ wide.

  4. Mix the oat flour (or all-purpose) together with the pepper, paprika, and Magickal Seasoning Blend. Get your ingredients ready to go next to your saucepan.

  5. Melt the Earth Balance, then add the finely diced onion and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned.

  6. Add the flour mixture and whisk well to combine. Cook for a few minutes to make a roux.

  7. Gradually add about half of the milk mixture, whisking well after each addition. The mixture should be smooth, with no lumps except for the bits of onion.

  8. Add the rest of the milk mixture, and whisk to combine. Add the chopped up crispy bits, then cook while whisking until the gravy is thickened.

Recipe Notes

You should be able to substitute tapioca, potato, or arrowroot starch for the cornstarch, but I haven't tried it.

4 thoughts on “Vegan Fried Chick’n & Pan Gravy”

  1. I loved reading about your Grandpa and also think your recipe will be delicious. I do not eat oil so I was wondering if you thought this would be good if I baked it. I don’t have an air fryer but was wondering about that as well. I am thinking about getting one. I can’t wait to try your recipes, they look so good! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jeanne! I think you could skip the first bake, but prepare the rack/pan the same way and bake the batter-dipped tofu on the rack until it is golden brown. The only issues that I can see are the batter dripping off the tofu pieces before it has cooked enough to set, and the tofu getting too dry during the baking. You could maybe fix the first problem by reducing the amount of water in the batter, and maybe not pressing the tofu would keep it from getting too dry while baking. I think it will take a bit of experimentation to find the right combination of changes to get the best results. Please let me know what you try and how it works! An air fryer could be amazing for this recipe, and I really want to get one to try it out! If you do, please let me know how it works! Also, I have an oil free hummus recipe coming up that you might really like!

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