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Chickpea tofu is a great creative alternative to paneer or tofu. Put together this delicious vegan party appetizer by grilling it in homemade schezwan sauce.
Today's fun appetizer is made smartly by making small yet effective swaps. Making smart swaps in cooking is the way forward. I have used homemade schezwan sauce instead of a store bought one, made chickpea tofu instead of using Paneer and swapped butter with Mazola® Corn Oil! Did you know a clinical study has shown that Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil? To learn more about this claim, please see Mazola.com.
Summer is always a great time for an outdoor party. We love any excuse to play hosts to our friends and family. We all know that when people get together for fun times, stomachs will demand sustenance! I am a firm believer in the adage, "Laughter is brightest were the food is!" One of my favorite things to do at my parties is to plan delicious treats that everyone will enjoy! But sometimes it does get tricky planning the right kind of dishes that will cater to everyone. So, I am always on the lookout for easy-to-make recipes that require very little time to prepare. This way I can enjoy quality time with my guests and not be stuck in the kitchen all day! I hate to be in a situation where all the guests have arrived and the host is still cooking. This is acceptable only when I plan to host a party outdoors and there is BBQ involved. Even in these kind of get-togethers, I do all the prep work in advance and only leave the grilling bit for later. This summer, we have been grilling a variety of food on our patio. We not only have had friends over but also visiting family. This has called for many BBQ sessions in this Florida weather. Thankfully, my grill and Mazola® Corn Oil are always at hand to dish up some tasty BBQ sides like this one.
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So if you need a last minute recipe for party food or if you need to bring something to a potluck or friend’s BBQ or if you are hosting a get together and have simply run out of time and ideas, check out this innovative recipe - Grilled Chickpea Tofu Fingers in Homemade Schezwan Sauce. The inspiration behind this dish is actually a TV show. I was watching a travel show sometime back where I first came across Burmese Tofu. The host was in Myanmar (Burma), a Southeast Asian country. There, he had this famous chickpea tofu salad known as Tohu Thoke in Yangon City. This dish is supposedly one of the many staples of Yangon street food. I obviously found this very interesting and decided to find out more about this chickpea tofu. After reading about it online, I got to know that this chickpea tofu has nothing to do with the standard tofu that we know. It gets its name because its texture resembles that of silken tofu and that it can be used in a similar fashion to its soy counterpart. You can deep fry it, saute it, grill it or add it fresh to your salads. It is very easy to make basic chickpea tofu. All you need is chickpea flour, salt, turmeric and water. Chickpea tofu is naturally gluten-free and full of protein. It is a great recipe for vegetarians and vegans.
Swapping paneer with chickpea tofu was the first smart swap I did when creating this dish. The second smart swap was to use Mazola Corn Oil instead of butter to grill this. I prefer this cooking oil because it's an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is also a smart heart-healthy* choice for my family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health.I use this oil for baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing. Since it has a neutral taste, it lets the natural flavor of the food stand out without overwhelming it. Also, since Mazola has a smoke point higher than most cooking oils at 450°F, it performs exceedingly well in a variety of cooking applications. Often, we do not realize that all cooking oils have a smoke point that, once exceeded, not only negatively affects the food’s flavor but also its nutritional value. The third swap was homemade sauce for store-bought schezwan sauce. Instead of buying the one (loaded with preservatives and MSG) available at the store, I made it at home. I prefer creating recipes that are made with fresh ingredients and by making smart swaps that result in better-for-you meals. Plus, the flavors turn out great! Without much ado, let's get on to the recipe.
To make Grilled Chickpea Tofu Fingers in Homemade Schezwan Sauce, the first step is to prepare the schezwan sauce. Soak dry red chillies in water for an hour and then grind to a smooth paste. Add Mazola Corn Oil to a pan, and once it's hot, fry garlic, ginger and onions for two minutes. Then add chilly paste, crushed Sichuan peppers, tomato ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar to the oil and saute for 5-6 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let this sauce cool down completely. You can store this in a clean glass jar for up to 1 month in refrigerator. The next step is to prepare the chickpea tofu. In a mixing bowl, add chickpea flour or Besan/gram flour. Add salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, turmeric powder, Italian herbs, cumin powder and garam masala. Add water and whisk everything together, ensuring that no lumps are formed. Pour the chickpea flour mixture into the pan. Cook over medium heat and keep stirring continuously. The mixture will start to get lumpy as the pan heats up and then will thicken evenly. This should take 4 to 5 minutes, but times can vary based on your cooking range. When the mixture stops sticking to the pan and has a thick batter-like consistency, it's done. Spread the batter evenly onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Set in the freezer for an hour. Cut in any shape you want before use. For this recipe, cut it in rectangular pieces. Dip the pieces in the prepared schezwan sauce and add to a grill pan. Cook all sides evenly in Mazola Corn Oil until it's kind of well done.
Grilled Chickpea Tofu Fingers in Homemade Schezwan Sauce is ready. Serve it hot along with chutney or ketchup or mayo. This is a delicious and lip smacking appetizer that can be served at family brunch, tailgating parties, get-togethers or as an evening snack.
Grilled Chickpea Tofu Fingers In Homemade Schezwan Sauce
To make Schezwan sauce
- 25-30 dried red chillies
- 5 tbsp Mazola Corn Oil
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 8-10 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 6 Sichuan Peppers
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- salt as required
To make Chickpea Tofu
To prepare Grilled Chickpea Tofu Fingers
- 1/4 cup Mazola Corn Oil to be used as required
- 2 tbsp cilantro for garnish
To make Schezwan sauce
- Soak dry red chillies in water for an hour and then grind to a smooth paste.
- Add Mazola Corn Oil to a pan and once it's hot, fry garlic, ginger and onions for two minutes.
- Add the ground chilly paste, crushed Sichuan peppers, tomato ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in the oil and saute for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and let this sauce cool down completely. You can store this in a clean glass jar for upto 1 month in the refrigerator.
To make Chickpea Tofu
- In a mixing bowl, add chickpea flour or Besan/gram flour. Add salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, turmeric powder, Italian herbs, cumin powder and garam masala.
- Add water and whisk it all together ensuring that no lumps are formed.
- Pour the chickpea flour mixture into the pan. Cook over medium heat and keep stirring continuously. The mixture will start to get lumpy as the pan heats up and then thicken evenly. This should take 4 to 5 minutes, but the time can vary. When the mixture stops sticking to the pan and has a thick batter like consistency, it's done.
- Take it onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Flatten it and let it set in the freezer for an hour. Cut in any shape you want and use. For this recipe, cut it into rectangular pieces.
To prepare Grilled Chickpea Tofu Fingers
- Dip the cut chickpea tofu in the prepared schezwan sauce.
- Add it to a grill pan. Cook all sides evenly in Mazola Corn Oil until it's done to your liking.
- Grilled Chickpea Tofu Fingers In Homemade Schezwan Sauce is ready. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve it hot along with chutney or ketchup or mayo.
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Some other recipes that you can try this summer are Steamed Lentil Bafauri , Bhelpuri, Savory Veggie Dosa Waffles, Semolina Vegetable Bites , Fried Besan (Chickpea Flour) & Potato Squares Recipe, Vegan & Gluten- Free Polenta & Cilantro Savory Bites, Curry Leaves Veg Cheese Paniyaram | Fritters, South Indian Medu Wada | Lentil Fritters, Black Rice & Chickpea Fritters, Grilled Tofu Bites , Indian Street Style Corn-On-The-Cob | Masala Bhutta, Beet Leaves Sabudana Wada and Baked Bread & Chutney Rolls.