Coconut Tofu or Shrimp
I made this tonight and halfway through the process decided to make a goonumentary out of it. Since I didn't take pictures of the beginning I just used screencaps from the Tofu episode of Good Eats even though it didn't have a recipe like this. This can be done exactly the same way with shrimp but I wanted to try it with tofu. If doing this to shrimp, just skip all the tofu stuff and pat the shrimp dry before going down the breading conga line. That's all there is to it. It's better with shrimp too, so why did I even do it this way? Good question. Moving on.
* Block of Tofu. 1lb. Extra firm. * Corn starch. * 3 or 4 egg whites. * Panko/Japanese breadcrumbs. They provide the finished product with a nicer texture I feel. * Italian blend breadcrumbs. They taste nice. * Sweetened shredded coconut. We'll need probably a third of one of the bags that you see in the supermarket.
* Pina Colada mix. Powder. Mine came in a 35g pouch. * Crushed pineapples in juice. Pictured below is a 20oz can. I only had a can of chunks which I broke up myself, crushed is what you want. * Like 3 tablespoons of sugar. * 12 oz cream cheese.
Get the block of tofu. Extra firm, as illustrated by Alton Brown. Freeze this solid, then thaw it out. This will serve to give it a meatier consistency than if you did not. We like meaty.
Slice it like Alton is demonstrating here, but a lot thinner. Like a lot. Like in the area 1/8" or so. The thinner they are without going overboard, the less we will notice that it is tofu instead of shrimp.
Lay your thin slices out on paper towels and throw a heavy cutting board on top or something. Leave it there for an hour or so. If you're feeling impatient just press on the board yourself till it seems pretty squeezed. Whatever.
Now while your tofu is being pressed, we will make the Pina Colada dipping sauce. This is modeled after Applebee's and after reading a couple of recipes decided that I'd mix the ingredients listed above until tasty to get what I needed.
It may not look like much but it tastes good. I used a hand blender to mix the cream cheese, pina colada mix, sugar, and almost the entire can of pineapples with juice. You may want to hold back on the pineapples a bit and do it to taste but they're my favorite part. That's all. If I had more pineapples around they'd probably go in there too. I like pineapples.
Now you could probably marinate the tofu in some excess pineapple juice for like 15 minutes, which I plan on doing next time. After this optional step, get the oil going. Get a big enough steep-walled pan going with like 1/8"-1/4" of peanut oil or something else with a high smoke point. We want that to be like 325 degress F. If you lack a thermometer like I do at the moment, just drop some coconut shreds in there and see if they take a minute or two to turn brown. That's the temperature we want.
Now I set up the corn starch, egg whites, and coconut/breadcrumbs(both types) combo as pictured. The breadcrumb mixture probably came out to 3 parts coconut, 2 parts panko, 1 part italian breadcrumbs. Go in order from left to right, dipping the pressed strips of tofu into each item. Make sure you get plenty of the breading on the strips.
Drop them into the hot oil, let them go for a couple of minutes till the underside is golden brown and delicious, as pictured. Then flip and wait for the other. You'll have to do this a few times if you made the whole block of tofu.
When they finish in the pan, drop them onto a rack or paper towels or a brown paper bag or something and let them lose some oil and cool off a tiny bit.
Then plate them with the dip(which you have had chillin like a villian in the fridge) and eat. Enjoy. If it sucks, it's not my fault.