They may slightly resemble sandwich cookies, but these vegan ribs pack a powerful umami punch. The “fat” is from mochiko flour, or glutinous rice flour, which is the main ingredient in (you guessed it) mochi. Despite the title, glutinous rice flour is still gluten free, the name comes from the intensely sticky properties this flour possesses. In this recipe, it mimics the texture of fat and soaks up oil when fried to mimic the function as well.
Serve these to some very lucky guests, or better yet just make a batch to enjoy yourself! I won’t tell…
1 12-oz package extra firm tofu, frozen & thawed
⅓ cup tamari
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp maple syrup
1 cup mochiko sweet glutinous rice flour
⅓ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
High heat oil, for frying
1 tsp salt
As noted, freeze block of tofu overnight and thaw before you are ready to use. The ice crystals that form when tofu is frozen allow more water to escape. Put a small plate over tofu and press firmly to squeeze out more water.
Mix tamari, nutritional yeast, and maple syrup with approx ½ to 1 cups water. Carefully slice tofu into 3 skinny pieces (if you are pressing down on the face of the tofu block, the knife would pass under your hand). Pour marinade over tofu in a small pan, and bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, without flipping. Tops of tofu slices will be dry but saturated with marinade.
Meanwhile, mix 1 cup mochiko flour with 1 ⅓ cups water. Microwave for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. If using a stove, use a steamer basket for 15 min and mix halfway through with a wet spatula.
While Mochi dough is still warm, lay one of the tofu slices dry side-down, and spread ⅔ of mixture on this. Cover with another tofu slice (dry side up) and press down. Slice remaining tofu piece in half and repeat process with remaining ⅓ Mochi dough.
Let cool completely before trimming excess Mochi dough from edges and cutting into cubes with a sharp knife.
Dip rib cubes in arrowroot starch. Lightly fry in oil (I flip them instead of submerging) — only fry for a couple of minutes each side to avoid over cooking. Salt “ribs” while warm. Serve with fresh veggies/spices and a dip of your choice. Enjoy!