I’ve never met a plant-based nugget I didn’t like. While the war over fast food nuggets wages on, I’m perfectly content to stay home and indulge my love for these savory snacks quietly, without controversy. No matter the “meat” of the matter, homemade will always win this fight. From nutrition to flavor, there’s just no comparison.
That said, I do have a clear favorite among the multitudes of contenders. Protein-packed organic tofu might seem like an old fashioned choice, but that’s certainly not the case when Hodo is in the kitchen. Slow-cooked in bold spice blends to infuse incredible flavor before frying them up for a chewy texture, both the Chinese 5 Spice and Thai Curry Nuggets are ready to eat right out of the package. Of course, there are even greater rewards in store with a little extra prep work.
These crispy, crunchy, compulsively munchable morsels will convince anyone that Hodo is the only way to go. Simple pantry staples transform into restaurant-quality breading for an amber brown, boldly seasoned crust. Thick and satisfying yet surprisingly light, that exterior coating reveals an impossibly moist and juicy golden nugget within.
Just what makes them so meaty? They’re close relatives to tofu puffs, which have been fried as a way to push excess water out, creating an incredibly chewy, dense structure within. This also makes them incredibly absorbent, which is why the flavors of curry or 5-spice make such a bold impact in any dish, even after they’ve been simmered or stewed with other ingredients, or in this case, encased in a shatteringly crisp shell of seasoned breadcrumbs.
Plus, they’re shockingly low fat. Just a light spritz of olive oil will set the finish like a sheer lacquer will seal in the fine details on a masterful work of art. Piping hot and fresh out of the air fryer, it’s hard to believe but these beauties are baked for a grease-free finish. Aside from just eating them straight up as perfectly poppable finger food, the options for adornment are endless. Consider the following:
- Dipping options: maple mustard, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, marinara, ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, sour cream and onion dip
- Serving options: sandwiches, tacos, pizza, wraps/burritos, waffle toppers, salad mix-ins
- Plated entree accompaniments: rice pilaf, steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, buttered noodles, sauteed greens
That’s just the start! Make them your own with your favorite flavors. There’s truly nothing that doesn’t pair well with a such universally satisfying taste sensation.
Picky kids, tofu-haters, staunch omnivores, and health food vegans alike will be won over with one bite. Who needs takeout when you can much do better at home?
Nuggets and Assembly:
- 1 (8-Ounce) Package Hodo 5 Spice Nuggets or Thai Curry Nuggets
- 1/2 Cup Aquafaba
- 1/2 Cup Potato Starch
- 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs*
- 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
- Olive Oil Spray
- Begin by separating all the nuggets, placing them in a small bowl. Set out three additional bowls, filling one with aquafaba, one with potato starch, and mixing together all the seasoned breadcrumb ingredients into the last. Make sure the seasoned breadcrumb mixture is thoroughly combined before proceeding.
- Take two or three nuggets at a time and toss them in the potato starch. Make sure they're fully coated and dry to the touch. Shake off the excess before dipping them in the aquafaba. Let it drip for a moment before tossing them into the seasoned breadcrumbs. Firmly press the coating into the nuggets so that it adheres in a thick, even outer crust.
- Place the fully coated nuggets on an air fryer rack that's lined with aluminum foil. Repeat until all the nuggets are coated. Generously spray with oil to cover the entire batch. If you don't have spray oil, you can also drizzle them lightly with regular olive oil.
- Cook on the center rack of your air fryer at 370 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes, flipping after about 7 minutes. Alternately, you can bake the nuggets in a traditional oven preheated to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.
- When golden brown and crisp all over, they're ready to eat! Enjoy hot, or cool slightly to use on top of leafy green salads.
*For a gluten-free alternative, you can use 1 1/4 cups of crispy rice cereal, pulsed in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 959mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 15g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.