Tofu buffalo fingers (aka Hot Wing Imposters)

Having fairly recently gone full-on vegetarian I’ve been wanting to make a no-meat version of my husband’s pseudo-infamous hot wings; they’re super tasty and I miss snacking on them. Then it occurred to me, chicken wings aren’t a whole lot more than some chewy texture and LOTS of spicy, tangy sauce.

I have a tofu recipe I love because it replaces that spongy tofu texture with some chew and a crispy exterior; the trick is in the baking. The recipe calls for the tofu to be pressed, sliced and then covered in marinade before going into the oven where it soaks up all that liquid and caramelizes on top (it also does quite a number on gunking up the baking dish as well). I used the same process but with different marinade ingredients working to echo a bit of the savory of chicken.

My tofu-hot-fingers turned out great and are very similar in taste to the true meat version; they’re chewy, a little crispy on the outside with just enough mild buttery-herbiness  in the marinade to give it something to offset the sassy sauce.

Tofu Buffalo Fingers:

  • 1 cube of Rapunzel no-salt vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1-  5.8 oz jar of Bufalo jalapeno hot sauce*
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

*If you like ‘em really hot add a pinch of cayenne, or better yet, dried habanero spice to the sauce.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After pressing  the water out of the tofu, slice it into approximately 1/2 in square match sticks and lay it in out in a glass baking dish. In a separate dish I add the bouillon to boiling water to dissolve and stir in the sesame oil. Pour this mixture over the tofu and then sprinkle the top of the tofu strips with nutritional yeast and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

When the tofu is about 15 minutes from complete add the jalapeno sauce and butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium. Stir the butter into the sauce as it melts. Turn the heat to low once the sauce begins to bubble.

When the tofu is done it should have soaked up most of the liquid (if it hasn’t, pour out the excess) and maybe swollen up a bit . Now, for the last few steps you just need to move the oven rack to the top and turn the oven to “broil”, spray some olive oil on the tofu and give it a quick broil then pour the jalapeno sauce over your tofu and pop it back in the oven just long enough for the top to brown.

Pull the tofu out, drizzle with more sauce if desired and, like traditional hot wings, feel free to dip in bleu cheese or ranch dressing.

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