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Crisp Tofu & Japanese Sweet Potato Chunky Fries (Air Fryer)

Tofu Love:

I never thought I’d say this, but after years of thinking that tofu is a tasteless white blob, I’ve really learned to love tofu. And I really never thought I’d say this, since I’m pretty much on kitchen gadget overload at any given time, but I love my air fryer. And while we’re on the topic (okay, so we’re not really on the topic) I totally love Japanese sweet potatoes. What are Japanese sweet potatoes and how do they differ from regular sweet potatoes? I’m glad you asked.

Japanese Sweet Potato Fun Facts:

Though new-ish to our part of the world, as far back as 1719 Japanese Sweet Potatoes AKA Satsumaimos were “were being sold from open stalls in the then Imperial capital of Kyoto” according to the Japan Times website (who also refer to these tasty tubers as being “among Japan’s most nostalgic nosh.” After rice crops failed in the 18th century, people had to find another diet staple to nourish them through the long cold winters. As yummy as they are though, they’re not magical, despite some famous folk declaring it so.  After speculation was made in the NY Post and elsewhere about X-Men: Apocalypse star Olivia Munn’s radically changed appearance recently, she credited to the humble Japanese sweet spud. On Instagram, Munn wrote “Japanese potatoes … help keep wrinkles away.” Well, okay then.

Nutritional Powerhouses:

It’s worth exploring the benefits of Japanese sweet potatoes which feature a thick reddish peel and creamy white flesh and according to Jillian Michaels’ website, are packed with vitamins A, C, E and B-6. They’re also really really delicious either creamed or sliced or baked or roasted.

The Power of Two:

I was hankering for something crispy,fried and French Fry shaped, but since I very rarely eat white potatoes, I had to come up with an alternative. I decided to make up a few batches of tofu and Japanese Sweet Potato Fries and serve with a few different dipping sauces. I think the results were pretty yumtastic. While I made these with my air fryer, you can easily recreate the results by baking or frying, depending on your taste or kitchen tools. And yes, full air fryer primer will be posted in the coming weeks.

Till we beet again,

Rachel

Crisp Tofu & Japanese Sweet Potato Chunky Fries (Air Fryer)

Print Recipe
Serves: 2-4 depending on whether this is a meal or snack/appetizer Cooking Time: 1 hour in batches

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz container of tofu, I'd go with firm or medium
  • 1 large Japanese sweet potato or two medium size ones
  • 1/2 cup of chickpea flour or more as needed (you can also substitute brown rice flour, almond flour or corn starch- or a mix of several flours or starches)
  • 2 tbsp. almond flour (again, feel free to mix up the flours you use)
  • 1- 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil mister

Instructions

1

Press out any moisture from the tofu. Seriously, put your heart into it and push down as hard as you can without breaking the curds. Some people freeze tofu since when you defrost it a lot of the water and moisture drain away. Some people press tofu under a heavy item. I suspect a tofu squishing tutorial is upcoming at some point.

2

Cut tofu into cubes, or slightly rectangular pieces. I like the imperfect look!

3

In a prep bowl, blend together chickpea flour, almond flour (it's fine to leave some chunks, it makes for great texture), nutritional yeast, garlic powder seas salt and black pepper.

4

Roll tofu around in the flour mixture until well coated. The effect should look a bit like dipped marshmallows.

5

If desired, from about 1 foot away, spray coated tofu with olive oil. Far enough away so that it doesn't blow all the coating off, close enough so that you don't cover your entire kitchen with olive oil mist.

6

Set your air fryer to the french fry setting and place tofu cubes in the basket. Every five minutes or so, pull out the basket and give the tofu a good shake, so that everything is redistributed. In theory, it's supposed to cook perfectly evenly, but shaking things up always creates more of an even color. If your air fryer doesn't come with settings for specific foods, experiment with settings starting at about 375° and at about 12-14 minutes and keep playing with the time and temperature.

7

While tofu is cooking, peel the sweet potato and cut into wedges or rustic rectangular shapes similar to the tofu.

8

Spray with olive oil if desired, again, you don't technically need any oil at all in the air fryer, but I notice that it adds a golden color and a nice crispness. As soon as tofu is done cooking, place potato pieces into the air fryer basket, once again using the french fry setting.

9

Check every 10 minutes and shake around as needed and cook until there's the desired level of browning and crispiness.

10

Shake some flake salt on top if desired.

11

Serve with tangy mayonnaise, dill or lemon tahini or something tart but hearty. Chop some capers finely and mix with mayo or tahini for a refreshing dip.

Notes

You can very easily pan fry these as well- no need to pan fry, using olive oil for maximum crispness. Be sure to place on top of paper towels after frying to drain some of the oil.

Want to talk about tofu, Japanese sweet potatoes or anything else that’s on your mind? Use the handy dandy contact form below to start a conversation:

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