Seasoned Tofu Nuggets | Kitchen Explorers | PBS Food

Seasoned Tofu Nuggets

toful-nuggets

People are always asking me how to get their picky eaters to eat more voraciously.   The only advice I can offer comes from my own experience with my own finicky kids. Aside from offering them certain foods over and over again with the hope they will suddenly discover they actually like it (which occasionally does happen with patience and persistence), I will often employ other tactics like telling them kind-of truths to get them to try a new food.

For instance, only one of my three kids like tofu. Since my kids were very young I attempted to serve them tofu prepared in various ways without much success which only fed my determination for them to one day not only eat it, but to love it.

I did not particularly enjoy tofu as a child. When my mom prepared it she used the silken variety, which has a gelatin like texture I did not like. In my teenage years I re-discovered and fell in love with firm tofu, and regularly enjoyed it when pan-fried and dipped in a spicy soy sauce mixture (a very Asian thing to do).

A few years ago at a supermarket deli during the lunch hour I filled my plate at the hot bar with a variety of ethnic foods, but there was one dish that caught my eye: Country Fried Tofu Nuggets. The irony of the dish wasn’t lost on me, and made me curious. I just had to try them because something inside me just knew they were going to be delicious. After one bite I realized these tofu nuggets were going to be the gateway to my kids liking tofu.

My youngest child Eli was with me and loves chicken nuggets, so he spotted the tofu version on my plate right away. He asked me if they were nuggets, so I told him with a straight-face that they were. I knew full well he meant chicken nuggets so I didn’t technically lie. He took one bite and looked very confused. He told me the chicken tasted weird. Then I was more honest: “They aren’t chicken nuggets, they’re tofu nuggets. Aren’t they tasty?” He looked at me with confusion because on one hand he had convinced himself he hated tofu but on the other hand he found himself enjoying these nuggets. After taking a few more bites he told me they were pretty good, and now I make my own version at home. My oldest daughter, still a tofu hater, even loves these nuggets. They are the only variation of tofu she will eat.

Unlike chicken, making a baked version of this dish is not easy or recommended. There is so much moisture the tofu holds that frying at a relatively high heat quickly gives the batter its nice crispy golden texture. If the tofu sits out too long, the batter becomes wet due to the liquid within the tofu. So enjoy them while they’re warm. These seasoned tofu nuggets are irresistibly good and will make tofu haters into lovers.  Enjoy!

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