Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tofu Croquettes - Dutch Style!
This is one of my favorite recipes that I've veganized. Croquettes is something that my mother always made for Christmas and for New Years so it was always a super special treat that we couldn't get enough of! Croquettes are a big thing in Holland -- always have been. They're usually made with some type of chopped meat, lots of shredded gouda cheese and a thick white sauce. Traditionally they are also rolled in raw beaten eggs and bread crumbs. I was very pleased, again here, with using golden flaxseed in place of the raw eggs and as you can see from my photo they hold together very nicely! I make them with tofu, mushrooms, onions and a thick white sauce flavored with nutritional yeast! They're super delicious and authentic tasting croquettes that I'm sure would please anyone including a fussy dutchman! I try to make them every xmas. I'm making them early this year because they freeze really well so I'm getting a head start. See how many make it into the freezer! You can freeze them uncooked or you can fry them all up, then freeze and then all you have to do is reheat in toaster oven. I suggest you read this post entirely before starting so you know what you're in for! This is not typically a recipe that many people have experience with so it would help to know all the steps involved before proceeding. It's not hard at all -- there's just a lot of steps! However -- trust me on this one -- the end result is worth all the effort!! So here's what you start with:
175 gm (about 8 oz) of super firm tofu
1 onion, finely diced
8 large button mushrooms, finely diced
couple of sprigs of parsley
1 carrot, grated fine
1 tablespoon Harvest Sun veggie powder
1/2 teaspoon each sage and chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper & salt to taste
couple of shakes of Paul Bragg
about 2 cups fine bread crumbs (for coating croquettes)
flaxseed-eggy mixture (for coating croquettes)
I use my big cast iron skillet and pour in about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Get the onions going -- after about 3 minutes add the finely diced tofu and the finely grated carrot. Chop up some parsley and throw that in too. Sprinkle with spices, stir around and let that go for a bit while you chop up the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and about 1-1/2 tablespoon Paul Bragg. Cook for a while longer stirring every so often. Make sure everything was finely diced and now take a fork and go through and mash it up a little bit more. See my pic for how it should look at this point!
Now you need to make a thick white sauce! This is my favorite:
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
salt & pepper to taste (about 1 tsp. each)
1 cup soy milk
1/8 tsp. of nutmeg (optional)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
Add about 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast to the mix. If you like nutmeg add a bit to taste as well. A shake of paul bragg wouldn't hurt either. Thicken and pour over your tofu mixture. Transfer to a clean bowl...cool for a bit on the counter and then cover and let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Chilled mixture is easier to roll into balls or logs...whichever style croquette you prefer. If even after cooling in the fridge the mixture is still a bit difficult to roll put it in the freezer for a little while. It won't hurt your mixture at all and it should do the trick. Whilst your croquette mixture is cooling you either need to make some bread crumbs or have purchased some for the next step. Either way I would also recommend adding spices of your choice to the bread crumbs -- makes for a more flavorful end product!Croquettes are kind of a three-layered concoction -- so make sure each layer has a little kick to it.
You also need to make some flaxseed mixture to roll the balls in as that will make the bread crumbs adhere to them. This is in place of the usual beaten eggs that are normally used for this step. Just put 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed into 1/2 cup milk -- let it sit for a bit and when it seems thick enough you're good to go. This mixture would also benefit from a bit of salt & pepper and any other spices you love. At this point I measure out 12 equal one tablespoon portions of croquette filling (put remainder in fridge to keep cool) onto a plate and roll each one in a bit of crumbs initially before proceeding to the next step. It's easier to start your two rollings with this initial coat of small bread crumbs on it already before rolling in flaxseed mixture. Put flaxseed mixture into a shallow dish and start rolling the balls into that and then into the bread crumbs. You must do this twice as you want a nice thick crumb crust around the croquettes that holds together when fried. If your flaxseed mixture gets too thick just thin it out with a bit of extra soy milk. When you are finished rolling all your balls cover them up and put them in the fridge for another hour or so to chill. Make sure there are no cracks in the crumb coating around your balls or the mixture will seep out when you deep fry. Fix cracks using your finger dipped into flaxseed mixture to glue it together and then sprinkle a few crumbs on the newly glued area only. I don't usually have too many cracks but this is just a precautionary note to let you know that it's not a good thing and to fix it before you deep fry.
Now you either heat up a pot of oil and fry them or you can put them in toaster oven at 350F for about 15 minutes. Or you can layer the balls in a tupperware type container and freeze them uncooked. You can cook them straight out of the freezer -- in fact it is recommended to do so. Make sure your oil is hot enough or they could bust open. To test if your oil is hot enough -- bubbles will form around a wooden or bamboo chopstick touching the bottom of a pot. They should only take about 5-6 minutes if frozen and only 3-4 minutes if not. If you precooked and then froze -- they will take about 1 minute to reheat in a microwave ; 20 minutes in 325 degree oven. Anyway you look at it croquettes are a fiddly little time consuming project and I can see why they only come out at the holidays! Again I reiterate -- don't let this deter you from trying out this recipe -- the end result is well worth it! This recipe makes about 24 balls and that's enough for a beginner! If you are very adventurous and very patient go ahead and double the recipe. If you are not fond of mushrooms this can easily be made with just tofu. I like the combination myself but see what you prefer. You can dip the finished croquettes in mustard or mayo if you like such things! I eat them straight up. Enjoy!
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