Tofu-free, seitan-free vegan fried chicken that's flaky, tender, chewy and crispy.
In case you haven't read the intro of the vegan fish and chips recipe, which was basically an ode to banana blossom, then here's a recap: banana blossom is an extremely versatile ingredient which blows me away whenever I cook it. Typically used in stews, salads and curries in South East Asia, banana blossom is gaining popularity in Western vegan cooking for its ability to replicate the flaky texture of meat. It has a neutral taste, which absorbs the flavours of what it's paired with.
It was while eating said fish and chips recipe - in which I marinated the banana blossom in a mixture of soy sauce, white wine and olive oil - that I wondered what would happen if it were marinated in a buttermilk-like mixture. Would it be possible to make vegan fried chicken out of the same ingredient which made fish and chips happen? Based on the fact this recipe posts exists, you can probably guess the answer is yes. This banana blossom fried chicken is juicy, flaky, tender, and crispy (on the outside) just as it should be. Just like in the fish and chips recipe, and even more so here, the longer you let the banana blossom marinate, the better. For best results, let it sit in the vegan buttermilk overnight - this will allow it to completely lose any acidity it might have from being tinned.
In the recipe you'll notice the banana blossom, once marinated, is triple coated. Whilst regular buttermilk chicken tends to only be coated once before frying, banana blossom needs the extra layers in order to ensure the interior of the fillet remains tender. Although banana blossom can be made to taste just like chicken, it doesn't withstand heat and frying in the same way. Triple coating the banana blossom also ensures the outer layer is perfectly crispy and crunchy, just as it should be.
30 mins (+marinating)
2x510g tins banana blossom
250ml plant based milk
200ml soy/oat cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
120g plain flour
80g corn flour/starch
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
Vegetable oil, for frying
6 burger buns
100g lettuce, shredded
6 tbsp vegan mayo
Drain the banana blossom and rinse it in cold water for 2-3 minutes - this removes any remains of brine from it. Once rinsed, transfer it to a shallow and wide baking dish. Use your hands to tear apart the large pieces of banana blossom.
In a bowl mix milk, cream, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and whisk to combine. Pour the marinade over the banana blossom and massage it in using your hands. Cover the baking dish and let the banana blossom marinate for at least 4 hours, but overnight for best results.
Once the banana blossom has marinated, prepare the coating. Add flour, cornflour, baking powder, salt, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder to a large bowl.
Prepare a tray or cutting board to place the individual ‘fillets’ once they’ve been coated. Remove 5-6 pieces of banana from the marinade, and squeeze to compact them together to form a round fillet and to squeeze out as much of the marinade as possible.
Coat the fillet in the flour coating, then back in the marinade. Repeat that one more time, for a total of 3 times per fillet. Place the triple coated fillet on the tray or cutting board. Repeat the process with the rest of the banana blossom until you have 6 fillets.
Fill a large heavy set pan with vegetable oil, and heat to 180˚C - or until a small piece of batter dropped into the oil starts rapidly bubbling immediately. Carefully place two coated ‘chicken fillets’ in the oil and fry for 6-7 minutes on each side, or until evenly golden brown.
Repeat the process with the remaining 4 fillets. Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve the burgers in a toasted bun topped with mayo, lettuce and sliced pickles.