Panko Crusted Tofu with Japanese-Style Slaw
By Nancy Eisman
It’s the start of a new year, and the perfect time to examine your health and look at ways to make beneficial, attainable improvements. One popular route is to make changes to your eating habits, often opting to making healthier choices. An accessible, satisfying, and delicious plant-based diet is well worth considering, but even the occasional PB411 dish or meal is sure to please your palate and do your body good.
In order to feel completely satisfied with what we eat, the food must be delicious and filling. This often means protein and fiber rich, which in a plant-based diet means legumes, seeds, vegetables, grains, and soy-based ingredients like tofu or tempeh. I totally get why a lot of people turn their nose up at tofu, and truly believe it’s all in the preparation and seasoning. This Panko Crusted Tofu, aka Gateway Tofu, is so full of flavor and texture that I can almost guarantee that you will no longer be a tofu disliker if you make this dish.
The Japanese inspired ingredients and the fried-fish-filet-flair of this tofu preparation called out for a fresh, crunchy, and wasabi-flavored slaw to complement the entrée and balance the meal. As always, use my recipe as a guide and feel free to make substitutions based on what you like and/or what’s in season, but if you make it as-is, you’ll be glad you did.
Panko Crusted Tofu
1 package Melissa’s Organic Extra Firm Tofu
1 bottle Sapporo, or 4-6 ounces of your favorite Brewski
½ cup All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Ginger, minced
1½ cups Panko Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Dried Parsley or Cilantro
1 tablespoon Paprika or Chile Powder
Vegetable Oil for pan frying
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Slice block of tofu into ¼” slices. Blot each slice with paper towels to remove moisture, and set aside.
In a container large enough for the tofu slices to lie flat, mix together the flour, garlic, ginger, and ½ of the beer. Combine until the mixture resembles a thin-ish pancake batter. Make any adjustments with additional beer or flour if necessary.
In a second container large enough for the tofu slices to lie flat, mix together the panko crumbs, sesame seeds, and the rest of the seasonings.
Pour the vegetable oil to about 1½” deep into a heavy pan and turn the heat to medium-high.
Check if the oil is ready by flicking a drop of water into the oil - if it sizzles it’s ready.
Dip a slice of tofu in the beer batter, covering both sides and edges, and letting any excess drip off. Place batter covered tofu slices into the panko mixture, again coating both sides and edges.
Depending on the diameter of your pan, place prepared tofu slices gently into the hot oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove each slice and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining tofu slices.
Sprinkle tofu “cutlets” with sea salt.
¾ cup Mayo
1 teaspoon Creamed Horseradish or Wasabi Paste
1 teaspoon Parsley or Cilantro, minced
Pinch of Sea Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper
1½ cups Green Cabbage, shredded
1½ cups Red Cabbage, shredded
½ cup Carrots, shredded
Red Bell Pepper, diced
½ cup Green Onions, diced
1 tablespoon Sesame Seeds
Combine dressing ingredients together and whisk until blended.
Mix the slaw ingredients together.
Add the dressing and slaw together until incorporated.