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Vegan fried chicken drumstick on plate with sweet potato and kale.
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5 from 3 votes

Vegan fried chicken drumsticks

When you're looking for a main course that's filling, satisfying, and just plain fun, vegan fried chicken drumsticks are just what you need. Serve with your favorite side dishes for an all-American, southern-style dinner.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Keyword: fair food, fried food, southern food
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 374kcal
Author: Cadry Nelson

Ingredients

For vegan chicken

For breading & frying

Instructions

To make the vegan chicken

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast flakes, chickpea flour, granulated onion, dried marjoram, rubbed sage, dried thyme, herbs de Provence, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper.
  • Create a well in the center of the dry mixture. Add tamari, extra virgin olive oil, and ¾ cup of water. Combine by stirring. Then once it becomes a dough, start using your hands to knead the dough and combine everything.
  • Slowly add more water one Tablespoon at a time until there's no dry flour at the bottom of the bowl. It typically takes just one or two more Tablespoons, but you can add up to 4 Tablespoons more, if necessary. The dough shouldn't be overly wet, but not floury at all either. Continue kneading for about 30 seconds more once everything is combined, developing the gluten.
  • Break the dough into four equally sized portions, and set aside.
  • Tear off four square pieces of aluminum foil. The size should roughly be 8 x 8. Pour a little oil onto each of the four squares, so that the seitan won't stick on it.
  • Take one of the four portions of seitan in your hand, and knead it for a few seconds more. Form it into a ball. Then pull one end into a bit of a point, making a teardrop shape. Put that seitan lump into the middle of an oiled aluminum foil square. Loosely roll it up and twist each end, as if you were wrapping a Tootsie Roll. Continue with all of the seitan portions until all four are wrapped.
  • Put a couple of inches of water into a steamer pot with basket. Bring to a boil. Put the foil-wrapped seitan into the steamer basket. Cover with a lid. Steam for 25 minutes.
    Be sure to watch that the pot doesn't cook off all of the water. You want enough water that it will keep steaming for the full amount of time, but not so much that the water touches & boils the seitan.
    Once the water is at a boil, you can lower the heat to medium, and it will keep steaming the whole time. (If you don't see steam pouring out the top, turn it up.)
  • When the seitan is done, it will be firm and bouncy to the touch. Carefully remove it from the steamer basket, unwrap it from the foil, and set it aside on a plate to cool slightly.

To bread and fry

  • While the seitan is steaming, prepare the breading station. Start by making cashew cream. It will bind the flour mixture to the seitan.
    In a high speed blender, combine a half cup of water with ½ cup of raw cashews until totally smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides, if necessary, so that there aren't any whole cashew pieces left.
    (If you don't have a high speed blender, look in the notes section for standard blender instructions.)
    Move the cashew cream to a wide, shallow soup bowl.
  • Now make the flour breading. On a plate, combine all-purpose flour with a pinch of dried thyme, granulated onion, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. (If you don't like spicy things, you can leave off the cayenne.)
  • Once the seitan chicken is cool enough to touch, you can move on to wrapping it in "skin." This adds a fun textural element to the dish.
    Under a faucet, moisten one spring roll wrapper. It only needs to run under the water for a few seconds, being sure to moisten each side of the rice paper.
    Put one of the seitan balls right in the middle of the paper, as if it were a Halloween ghost, and the rice paper is its costume sheet. Use your damp hands to squeeze the rice paper and form around the seitan in a ball. Give it a good squeeze for a full 20 seconds.
    If the paper cracks a little at first, that's fine. At first the spring roll wrapper will seem too dry, but near the end of the 20 seconds, it will soften and fully form around the seitan.
    If there are any parts around the bottom that aren't sticking to the seitan, press them with your fingers into the seitan until it's a fairly neat ball.
    Move that spring roll wrapped seitan ball to a dry plate, and continue with the remaining three seitan balls, until all of them are covered.
  • Before you start actually breading the seitan, fill a large non-stick skillet with about an inch of organic canola oil. Bring it to a medium high heat. Allow it to come up to temperature while you're breading the vegan chicken.
  • One at a time, dip each piece of vegan chicken in the cashew cream. Make sure all of it gets covered. Then use your fingers to get most of the cream off. It should just be a thin layer of cashew cream totally covering each one. You don't want thick globs of cream.
  • Then one at a time, put each piece of vegan chicken into the flour mixture, fully coating every part. Tap off any excess flour. There shouldn't be any wet cashew cream showing.
  • Put a 6-inch bamboo skewer into the base of each piece of vegan chicken.
    If your bamboo skewers are too long, use a sturdy pair of scissors to score them in the middle. Then neatly break them in half.
  • Test the oil to see if it's hot enough by dropping a pinch of flour into the skillet. If bubbles immediately form around the flour, the oil is ready.
  • Put the vegan chicken into the oil. Fry for a couple minutes on each side. Don't move the chicken until it has nicely browned. Then use long tongs to turn them.
    Continue rotating them with tongs until they are brown all over. It will take about 6 minutes in total for them to brown all over.
  • Once they are fully brown, move the vegan chicken legs to a plate lined with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to drain.

Video

Notes

If you don't have a high speed blender, your blender will likely need some help to make a totally smooth cashew cream. Here are your options:
  1. Grind dry raw cashews in a coffee grinder until the cashews are like a flour. Then add them to your standard blender with water, and blend until smooth.
  2. Soak raw cashews in water for several hours to soften them. Then drain them, and add them to your blender with ½ cup fresh water.
  3. Cover the raw cashews in boiling water or microwave them in water. Then let them sit for 10 minutes in the hot water. Drain. And add the softened cashews to the blender with ½ cup fresh water.
You won't need the full amount of cashew cream for this recipe. The amount you'll actually need is ⅓ cup raw cashews + ⅓ cup water. However, the cashew cream starts falling below the blade at that amount, and it can be hard to get totally creamy. You can use the leftover cashew cream in other recipes. See the blog post for ideas.
If the cashew cream is still too low for your blender, just remember you need an even 50/50 mix of water to cashews, and adjust accordingly. 
If you don't like canola oil, you can use another high heat oil for frying. But DO NOT use extra virgin olive oil, used elsewhere in this recipe. Extra virgin olive oil has a low smoking point, and if you try to use it for frying, you could start a fire.

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 4mg