Vegan Popcorn Chicken
The History Behind The Popcorn Chicken
Honestly, it's no wonder I grew up to be such a fantastic cook. I grew up with a lot of cooking influences, most of which being my family. The person who probably inspired my cooking the most was my stepdad, Dave. His influence has really put the perfect kind of twist on the way I cook. He taught me a lot growing up, not only about cooking but also with knowing my way around a kitchen.
My mom and Dave met at Oak Harbor Pub and Brewery, they both worked there. My mom was a waitress and Dave as a cook. What made this place really cool was that they also brewed their own beer.
When I was in middle school I would walk down to the pub after school. I would wait for my mom and Dave to get off work to go home. Everyone who worked there knew who I was. So it wasn't a strange thing for me to walk in like I owned the place and jump up to the bar and pull out my homework.
My mom would always come over and take my order. Sometimes I would switch it up, but 9 times out of 10 I would order chicken strips, waffle fries, a side of ranch and a tall glass of freshly brewed beer.... Umm okay, so maybe it was a rootbeer, but it was my favorite rootbeer I have had to this day. I always had such a good time sitting up at the bar. I liked to pretend like I was an adult just hanging out. I will always cherish those times. I got great food and got to grow up learning the kitchen and food prep. So in a way, it was like I grew up in a kitchen/bar setting and I loved it.
When I went vegetarian, I had to give up the chicken strips. I gave them up for a really long time just because all my attempts failed when trying to make them vegan.
I am always learning new and creative ways to make food, without having to include cruelty in my diet. Textured vegetable protein which is a fantastic meat substitute is how vegan popcorn chicken was born. It may not be the chicken strips I had as a kid, but it's a vegan substitute that tastes close enough. I still have not quite figured out how to make them keep longer "strip" shapes. These popcorn chicken bites will do just fine to bring me back to my middle school years hanging out in the pub.
Time To Get Baked
- 2 cups of TVP
- 1 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
- 3/4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of corn Starch
- 1 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp seasoned salt
- Oil for frying
For Vegan Ranch
- 1 cup of vegan mayonnaise
- 1/8 cup of vegan milk (unsweetened)
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp parsley
- 2 tsp dill
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- In a small bowl combine TVP and 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Soak for at least 20 minutes then drain and press all the extra vegetable broth out.
- In a small bowl, whisk flour and 3/4 cups vegetable broth.
- Pour the TVP into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir so that the TVP pieces are coated evenly.
- In a zip lock bag combine cornstarch, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, and seasoned salt. Shake bag.
- Add TVP and shake to combine. I like to massage the mixture to make sure the breadcrumbs get all mixed in. The mixture should be slightly doughy and a little bit sticky.
- Once the oil is heated up. Take a small spoonful of the TVP and drop them into the oil.
- The mixture will get stuck on the bottom of the pan but don't try and move it yet. Let the mixture fry so that it can keep its form.
- Then very carefully with tongs, pull the dough off the bottom so that it can continue to fry without burning.
- Fry until crispy and golden brown, remove from heat and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
For the Ranch
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and chill for 15 to 20 minutes.