England doesn’t have buffalo sauce madness. I miss having things buffaloed.
If there is something “hot” on a menu, it’s most likely just straight chili powder or sweet chili sauce. I have nothing against sweet chili sauce, but it doesn’t hold a candle to that that vinegary, red, intoxicating Louisiana hot sauce that I’m used to.
When I was younger, I worked at a big pizza chain and they served a buffalo chicken tender sandwich that I used to drool over every time I would see it. The smell of deep fried things wrapped in hot sauce is a heady thing indeed. And because I was vegetarian, I never had the chance to try anything similar.
So, a challenge issued to myself, by myself.
- Crispy, lightly battered outside
- Tossed in Louisiana hot sauce after cooking
- Good, meaty bite.
- Some sort of creamy dressing served with it.
I had a fresh batch of tempeh in the fridge and decided to give it a go as mock chicken tenders. Result! I found a (very small) bottle of Frank’s red hot sauce tucked on a dusty shelf here and grabbed it immediately. Instead of battering the tempeh, I decided to just do a flour-cornmeal dredge to give it a crunchy coating without changing the texture and flavour too much.
I won’t say much about these except that these were all gone before Ben and I even made it to the dinner table. We ate them ALL standing up, spitting crumbs and raving through full mouths about how amazing these were.
They satisfied all of my Louisiana hot sauce cravings and then some. I served it with cashew ranch dressing (recipe coming on Saturday!) which was also mind blowing. Ben has been eating it on EVERYTHING.
- 8oz. package of tempeh cut into fingers
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup of cornmeal
- 1 cup of soy milk
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- ¾ cup of Frank’s Red Hot, or your favorite hot sauce
- 1 tbsp melted vegan butter (or coconut oil)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Oil for frying ( about 2 inches in the bottom of a pot)
- Mix soy milk and vinegar together and set aside.
- In a plastic bag, combine flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cornmeal.
- Put tempeh pieces in to soy milk mixture and then remove and place all tempeh pieces in the bag with flour.
- Close the top of the bag and shake tempeh around until all evenly coated with flour mixture.
- Heat oil on stove in a pot until oil is rippling.
- Add tempeh a few pieces at a time (being sure not to crowd the pot) and cook until golden brown (3-4 minutes per batch).
- Once golden brown, remove from oil and place on a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb extra oil.
- Continue until all tempeh is fried.
- Mix hot sauce, melted vegan butter and garlic powder together.
- Place tempeh in a bowl and toss with hot sauce until evenly coated.
Ben’s Verdict (aka A MeatEater Responds):
There were food epiphanies going off in my mouth like fireworks when we stood scoffing this. Honestly, the taste revelations were like cannons in a twenty one gun salute. I would like to write down that exact words that came out of my mouth to describe what I felt, but as this is a family friendly blog you will have to use your imagination.
Actually, as you might have guessed, I am prone to exaggeration. There were not twenty one epiphanies, there were three. But as I only usually get one every six months or so, to have three in one dish is quite a turn up. So the food revelations were in no particular order:
The buffalo sauce. Jen is right, we don’t have anything like this sublime vinegary hotness in the UK. Hot and sweet yes, hot and savoury yes, but hot and vinegary no. You wouldn’t think something sour and fiery would work but it does.
Secondly, the Tempeh itself. Honestly, this stuff is white food gold. It’s got a better texture and taste than ANY vegetable protein substitute I have ever had. There will be a lot more posts featuring Tempeh I am sure as I am going to insist Jen cooks it at least once a week!
And finally the ranch dressing. Goodness gracious me, I do not know how Jen made a sauce so yummy without eggs or blue cheese but it was amazing. I ended up spooning it into my mouth when Jen was not looking.
All in all, this dish in in my top three of all the recipes on this blog.