Monday, June 13, 2011

Ckn Fried Tofu Cutlets / Mashed Potatoes / Cream Gravy

I've been craving down-home comfort food. I am, after all, from the Midwest. Chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy has always been one of my favorites, but since eating meat really isn't my thing anymore I decided to give it a try with tofu. I actually attempted this recipe a few months ago, but the breading got crispy before the tofu cooked to the consistency I enjoy.  I knew right away that the next time I would marinate, BAKE, then bread and fry. I am very pleased with the results!

To me, one of the best parts about chicken fried chicken was always the accompaniment of mashed potatoes and white gravy. I used farmer's market Yukon Golds and organic half-and-half to make my gravy. We don't really drink dairy milk very often, so I just bought a quart sized container of half-and-half and used most to make the gravy and the rest in the mashed potatoes. It worked wonderfully.

The traditional vegetable side in a restaurant would be green beans with bacon, but I decided to opt for simple steamed broccoli.

This meal brought to you with help from these local farms:

Brysons Farm - potatoes, garlic
Central Soyfoods - tofu
Campo Lindo Farms - eggs

Ckn Fried Tofu Cutlets
Poultry seasoning is a combination of herbs such as sage, marjoram and thyme. It is completely vegan. If you don't have it, make your own mix of those herbs, or whatever herbs you have on hand.
  • 16oz (or so) block of firm tofu
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For breading:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Bragg liquid aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • enough olive oil to create a depth of 1 1/2 inches in your pan
Prop the block of tofu on its side and slice three or four 1/2 inch or so thick slices. With some tofu blocks I get three, with others I get four, depending on how thick it is. In a container with a lid, whisk together the broth, tablespoon of poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Submerge the tofu slices in the marinade and cover. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator, flipping over once to ensure each piece gets to sit in the marinade for a while.

The net day, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the tofu slices from the marinade and place in a single layer on the parchment paper. Bake in the oven until almost firm, about 30 minutes, flipping each piece over once halfway through. Let cool completely before moving on to the net step - about an hour in the refrigerator.

Line up three plates in a row. Grab a towel you don't mind getting messy and place it nearby. Beat the eggs with the soy sauce in a cup and then pour into the first plate. Put the flour and teaspoon of poultry seasoning, well mixed, in the second plate. Place the breadcrumbs in the third.

Dredge each slice of tofu in the egg. Be sure to get the entire thing coated, including the sides, and let the excess drip off. Place the tofu piece in the flour. Wipe your fingers off with a towel, then coat the entire piece of tofu in the flour (including the sides). Place the tofu back in the egg and repeat the process, and then finally place the tofu in the bread crumbs (wiping your fingers off first). I find it helps to gently press the tofu into the breadcrumbs, and also to gather them up around the cutlet and sprinkle them on places that haven't been coated yet.

Lay each breaded slice of tofu in a single layer on a plate and let sit in the refrigerator for about half an hour to let the breading stick.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the tofu slices until the breading is golden brown and crispy - about 3 minutes per side. Don't overcrowd the pan - fry in batches of one or two, depending on how large your pan is, and let the first ones stay arm in a very low oven until the rest are done.

Serve with gravy on the top and mashed potatoes on the side.

Mashed Potatoes
  • around 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or more)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt - or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper - or more, to taste
Scrub the potatoes to remove any dirt but leave the peels on. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and place in a large pot. Cover with water to about two inches above the potatoes, cover and put over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove the lid, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender but not overcooked - about 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and leave in the colander for about ten minutes. This allows a lot of the steam to escape, ensuring your mashed potatoes won't be runny with water. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. Return the drained potatoes to the pot and add in the butter, half and half, garlic, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until they reach your desired consistency, adding more milk or butter if you'd like. I like them creamy but still firm, so I use the suggested measurements. I also usually prefer more salt and pepper, however the gravy is very flavorful so I let the potatoes be a tad bit less this time.

Cream Gravy
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cups half-and-half, whole milk, or cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt - or more, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper - or more, to taste
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large frying pan and add in the flour and onion powder. Stir until combined and a roux forms, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the milk/cream and whisk constantly until the gravy boils slightly and thickens, then reduce heat to very low. Season with salt and pepper, stir, taste, and season more if desired.

I would have taken a better picture, but I really just wanted to eat it.


  1. Wonderful platter,delicious and inviting..

  2. what a great idea, i love comfort food too!