Vegan Popcorn Chicken

#Vegan Popcorn Chicken from alimentageuse.com #appetizers

I have been craving popcorn chicken since the minute I went vegetarian. I was never a big fan of KFC, but popcorn chicken, YUM. It’s like the best part of KFC with a smaller chicken ratio! So when I saw this recipe for vegan popcorn chicken on Pinterest, I knew I had to have it. Finding soy chunks or TVP was hard in Toronto, because most people don’t really know what it is. I checked the organic/health food section and got nothing. I checked my local health food store and got nothing. Finally, one day I was perusing the grocery store for meal ideas and I saw a bag of soy chunks in the ethnic food section. SCORE.

It doesn’t take much for me to get excited about food.  I dream of it. I daydream about how I’ll present it. How I’ll make it. How deliciously crunchy it will taste. Chris says that this makes him hungry and he doesn’t know how I can stand the torture, but it really just makes it taste that much better when I get around to making it.

I kept putting off making it though, because I had other stuff to do, and I needed other people to help me eat this because I planned on making 2 cups of it. My vegan friend, Jessica, and I have opposite schedules. She’s always being productive and writerly during the day while my most productive hours are after the sun sets. So when our schedules finally aligned, I made these. Soy chunks are weird and oddly resemble dog food, but man oh man, if you soak these badboys in a flavoured broth/brine/liquid, then coat them in deliciously seasoned breading. YUM.

#Vegan Popcorn Chicken from alimentageuse.com #appetizers

The first time I made these, I didn’t add enough seasoning to the breading or the soaking mixture. The second time I made them, I used vegetable broth both to soak and to coat the chunks and it made all the difference. I added more seasoning to the breading mixture and sprinkled a little extra when they were done frying, and YUM. I didn’t even need the dip. But if case you wanted it, I included the recipe below. Also the second time I made them, I didn’t coat them in the wet mixture twice I just went from wet mixture to the breading and fried them. There wasn’t as much coating as there was the first time, so you can choose which way you want it to be done.

Enjoy!

Vegan Popcorn Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups fried popcorn "chicken", serves 3-4
 
Recipe adapted from eCurry
Ingredients
  • - 2 cups dried soy chunks (TVP chunks work too)
  • - 3 cups vegetable broth
  • - 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • - 1 tsp salt
  • - 1 inch cube of ginger, grated
  • - ½ cup flour
  • - ¾ cup vegetable broth (use what you had soaked from the TVP)
  • - ½ cup cornstarch
  • - 1 cup bread crumbs
  • - 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • - 1 tbsp lemon pepper
  • - ½ tsp salt
  • - For the dip:
  • - 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • - ⅓ cup sour cream (use soy sour cream to keep it vegan)
  • - dash of salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine soy chunks, mashed garlic, ginger, 1 tsp salt and fill the bowl with vegetable broth until it covers the soy chunks. Soak for about 20 minutes or until the chunks are soft.
  2. Heat a pot with about an inch of oil on medium high heat.
  3. Mix together ½ cup flour and ¾ cup vegetable broth from the soaking soy chunks and whisk until no lumps remain. Divide between two bowls.
  4. Once the chunks are soft and soaked, gently squeeze the excess liquid from the soy chunks and coat in one of the bowls of flour mixture.
  5. Transfer the chunks to a ziploc bag with ½ cup cornstarch. Shake until coated, then transfer to the second bowl of flour mixture, coat, then transfer to another ziploc bag that has the garlic powder, bread crumbs, lemon pepper, and salt.
  6. Fry the chunks in oil in batches until golden. You may need to push them around to fry all sides because they tend to like to float in one way.
  7. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  8. In a food processor, blend the dill, sour cream, salt and pepper to make the dip.
  9. Serve the fried chunks with dip and enjoy!

See an ingredient listed that’s not in your pantry?

No problem! Check out my substitutions page to see if you can use an ingredient that you DO have in your pantry, or for ways to make this recipe vegan, gluten-free, etc. =)
About Lisa Le

Lisa is the twenty-something, nerdy, procrastinating, feminist blogger and photographer behind Je suis alimentageuse. She loves lemons, avocado, butternut squash, and is a bookworm.

Comments

  1. oh yeah, i will be playing with this one SOON! YUM!!! And I know right where I can get TVP as well.
    Holly Waterfall recently posted…Almond Joy Gooey RollsMy Profile

  2. Auntie Anne says:

    OMG I think I love you!!! Heading to the bulk barn for soy chunks right away!

  3. Jessica says:

    I bought a bag of soya chunks in a local Asian supermarket a few months back. I tried cooking them in meals but they were rank. I thought they were going to be relegated to the back of the cupboard forever but I’ve just tried this and WOW!! Super yummy!! It was my first time deep frying as I’m a scardey cat but they came out perfect. I had different seasonings for my breadcrumbs but they were still super yummy. Safe to say the bag of soya chunks are no longer relegated to the back of the cupboard :D

    • Yay! I’m glad they worked out for you! Thank you for your feedback, and I agree, I don’t think they’d taste very good in a dish.

    • I had the same first experience with the soy chunks! I went to the Asian Food Market and they found out I was vegetarian and the man went to the back of the store and brought me a big bag of these soy chunks and I was curious! But I tried them in a dish and I could not eat one! Luckily, my fiance’ will eat anything… BUT I am so excited to try this recipe, using the soak with veggie broth! Im sure it will be much better than my first attempt!

  4. Double yum–these remind me of the popcorn chicken from Asian milk tea stores (KFC’s “food” never strikes me as looking appetizing). I’ll be on the lookout for soy chunks now!
    Ala recently posted…o.m.f.g. (Oreos made for gods) bars & producti-bakingMy Profile

  5. I had these soy chunks from the Indian market in the pantry forever. We couldn’t believe how awesome these turned out! Dipped them in the batter just once, sprinkled them with cornstarch, breaded and BAM into the deep fryer. So good! We dipped some in Agave-mustard sauce and others in Frank’s for Buffalo style. Thanks!!

    • Thank you so much for sharing! Yeah I had delicious results with just dipping them in the batter once too. I love the dipping ideas, thanks for sharing, Andrea!

  6. Oh gawd. PLEASE call this what it is – Popcorn Soy Chunks.
    There’s no such thing as “Vegan Popcorn Chicken”. There is no chicken involved. Popcorn Bites? Soy-tots? Vegan Popcorn Bites? Anything else is better.
    I’m sure it’s tasty and (moderately) healthy and I’m sure I sound inane but ugh, calling it something that it clearly isn’t just to get the viewers over is a pet hate.

    • Hi Ren, thanks for your input. I’m just keeping it SEO friendly, especially for the new vegans and vegetarians out there who aren’t always aware of the alternatives out there. I know I’ve searched “vegan *insert meat* dish” before.

    • Ren,
      Most of the vegans and vegetarians I know, myself included, search for recipes based on their meat-eating counterpart, especially when cooking for non vegs and those new to the diet. Thanks for cutting us some slack…we’re not trying to pull one over on anyone, just trying to make our delicious food available to as many people as possible.
      Cheers!

  7. How can I substitute lemon pepper?

    I can’t find it

    • Hey Alex, you can substitute it with different flavours. If you like curry, add some curry powder, or if you like things a bit spicy, add maybe some chili powder or cayenne pepper. It’s a very flexible recipe, and don’t be afraid to use lots of seasoning. The TVP chunks are pretty bland tasting on their own =P

      • Hi Alex. I make my own lemon pepper. I use dried lemon zest, peppercorns and a tiny bit of salt and pulse it all in a food processor. I make lemon cordial often and save the zest from the lemons that I use then bake the zest in a low heat oven. There are many “lemon pepper” recipes on the internet, just google it. Hope this helps.

  8. what is “1/3 Sour Cream”? like 1/3 of a cup or of a container? if its a container how big is the container?

  9. Howdy! this recipe looks great! I am new to the Veggie/Vegan world so I was reluctant to buy the chunks at first because people were saying that they liked the “soy curls” better.. But Im glad I decided to buy some cuz Im super pumped to try this!!!

  10. Hi there. The picture looks soooo yummy I think I might try to make this tomorrow. I realize the original post was a year ago so if you haven’t had any luck with finding TVP I too live in Toronto and get in the bulk section at Healthy Planet. They have chunks and ground. Thanks for the recipe :)

    • Haha yes! I actually completely transitioned to vegan since this post and have learned so many awesome places to find TVP now. Thanks for recommending Healthy Planet, and I hope you like the recipe! If you want another protein-packed crispy treat, I suggest you try the lentil fritters I posted =)

  11. Fantastic recipe. Will definitely be making these soon! But wanted to say… I drive to Toronto regularly from Buffalo NY just for the vegan options there. So many restaurants with TVP and mock meats on the menu. My personal favorite being Hogtown on Bloor. Disgraceland on Bloor even has their own vegan popcorn chicken if you feel lazy and don’t feel like making it yourself!

    • Yes I love The Hogtown Vegan! One of my favourites. You should try Grasslands on Queen too =) I’ve never been to Disgraceland, but I have been meaning to check it out.

  12. This was delicious! I’ll admit — I had my doubts, especially when my TVP didn’t automatically form “chunks” and wasn’t dry / clumpy enough to be coated, but had to be straight-up mixed with the flour, cornstarch, bread crumbs, etc. I discovered halfway through the recipe that I didn’t have garlic powder or lemon pepper, so I used: 1 tsp each of: cumin, cayenne pepper, garam masala powder, and paprika, as well as 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and onion powder. The missing 1 tsp I filled in with extra bread crumbs.

    Then I plopped some spoonfuls into sizzling hot oil and — voila! DELICIOUSNESS. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’m always looking for new and inventive ways to use TVP :)

  13. HI! i have all the ingredients for this recipe which makes me really happy except i have noooooo idea what soy chunks are but i have tofu, can i cut them up in cubes and use them instead?? =)

    • Hi Sara, You could use them but they’ll yield a very different texture from TVP soy chunks. I also suggest draining the tofu before marinating them in the broth + spice mixture.

  14. These look seriously delicious!

  15. Just made these using TVP chunks and I had to come here to thank you for the recipe. They were superb and up until now I’d not held out any hope for TVP which has a nothing flavour and a globby unpleasant texture.
    Even two meat eaters enjoyed them.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me that! TVP can be so tricky haha, it’s so easy to do it wrong and make it taste like dog food haha.

  16. angypangy says:

    I see grated ginger in the ingredients but no instruction of what to do with it.

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