KFT. OMFG. (And How To Brine Tofu - it's a twofer recipe today!)

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I love it when I learn stuff, especially when that stuff concerns veganizing treats. My buddy was staying over recently, and as a newish vegan, she is consuming ALL THE RECIPES and tricks she can. It was awesome playing together in the kitchen, and we had all kinds of know-how to exchange. But ONE of her tips totally blew my mind, and is the best example of tech transfer from meat to plant world. Brining tofu. Yep. I know. WHO KNEW! 

Take a deep breath good hustlers, as this is one of the best concepts ever. And for all those buddies who claim that tofu is wet cardboard, this will permanently change them into rabid evangelists. So, why brine? For the same reasons that you brine meat - to tenderise, to add flavour, and in this case, because it textually changes the tofu into an almost fermented creaminess. I find this is best done a few days ahead. For my pal, she keeps a box permanently in the fridge and once the tofu is used, brine another one, for ron. I like this approach, and the brine, which is more accurately a strong stock, can be strained off and used in a soup or other meal, or reused with the next batch. 

This brined tofu is then ready to be transformed into a superstar fried treat. Seasoned crumbs make this a crunchy delight that would give any fried chicken chain a run for its money. You could also double flour and buttermilk (vinegar or lemon soured soy is perfect for this) these chunks for a more Korean style and then toss in a sweet chilli coating. A vegan mayo on the side and some lemon wedges will have this tofu and you eating your best life. 

Brining Tofu


1L Plastic container


1 Block of firm tofu

Massel chicken style stock powder (use the Massel 7s cubes if you are making for fodmap buddies) to make 1L of stock (you want this strong)

500mls boiling water

2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Let's DO This!

1. Combine boiling water and all other ingredients except tofu, combine well set aside.

2. Tear tofu into nugget size chunks - DO NOT CUBE! There is something about the rough edges that helps with the brine absorbtion and makes a more appealing fried morsel.

3. Place tofu into container and pour over brine mixture, making sure the tofu is submerged. Put in fridge and leave for 3 days minimum or up to a week.

Kentucky Fried Tofu


Deep wide pan for frying or air fryer


  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 500mls of soy milk, soured with a little lemon, ACV  or natural coconut yoghurt
  • 1 box breadcrumbs or equivalent volume homemade crumbs

Seasoning Mix (feel free to use your own favorite pre made mix) 

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder.
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder.
  • 2 litres of vegetable oil for frying
  • vegan mayonaise, lemon wedges and dipping sauce of choice
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  1. Strain off your brined tofu and place between paper towels to dry off, pressing gently so you don't crush and crumble.
  2. Set up your breading station: a container with flour, a container with the buttermilk wash, and a container with the crumbs.
  3. Add all the spices to the crumb mix and combine well.
  4. Dip a chunk of tofu into the flour, shake off excess, dip into the milk mix then into the crumbs, making sure each piece is completely coated. Put aside and repeat till every chunk is coated.
  5. Fill your pan with oil and heat to 170 degrees, fry a few chunks at a time until golden and place onto paper towel, sprinkling with flake salt while fresh out of the oil.
  6. Serve on a platter with sauces, lemon and make those When Harry Met Sally deli scene noises.


Polly McGee