Supposedly, chicken and waffles is a traditional Southern soul food dish. But I honestly never even heard of this strange combination until I was well into my 20's. Not that I necessarily come from a soul food background, but I most certainly come from a Southern cookin' background, and the two tend to go hand in hand. Regardless of where the concept came from, I have always wanted to try a vegan version of chicken and waffles.
There used to be a "vegan" restaurant in Atlanta that had chicken and waffles on their menu, but always claimed to be out of them when we would go. It's probably a good thing, because most everything at that place pretty much sucked, and I would have hated for my first chicken and waffle experience to have come from there.
So I made my own. And they kicked much ass. I highly recommend trying this out, even if the combo sounds strange to you.
For the chicken part, feel free to use your favorite chicken-style seitan if you like. I used the May Wah "chicken" nuggets, because they have the best flavor of any mock meat I've ever tried. They are seriously tasty. But I'm sure this dish would still suit you fine with another type of analog. I wanted to find a way to mingle the savory and the sweet together somehow, so I used crushed almonds in the chicken breading, and almond extract in the maple syrup. SO WONDERFUL.
Vegan Chicken N' Waffles
For the waffles:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups plain or vanilla almond milk
For the chicken:
Enough chicken-style seitan for four people, about 2 lbs. (cut into chunks)
2 cups plain almond milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup blanched almonds, crushed
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Enough high-heat cooking oil to fry in, about 2 cups' worth
Preheat your waffle iron, and spray with cooking oil. Make waffle batter by sifting the dry ingredients together into a medium mixing bowl, then mixing in the wet ingredients. Once iron is preheated, pour one waffle worth of batter and start cooking. Continue to make waffles while you prepare the chicken stuff.
You will need two bowls. In one bowl pour the almond milk. In the second bowl, combine the flour, nutritional yeast, almonds, paprika, salt & pepper. preheat a deep skillet or deep fryer on medium-high heat. Oil needs to be at about 350F.
Begin by dipping seitan pieces in the milk, then into the flour mixture. Dip back in the milk, and once more into the flour mixture. Drop into hot oil and repeat with all of the seitan. Once golden brown all over, remove seitan from the oil, and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
How are the waffles coming? You should have several ready by now. Take one waffle and coat the top liberally with Earth Balance margarine. Top with several pieces of fried "chicken", and pour a heaping serving of warm maple syrup on top of it all. Repeat. Eat. Yum.
(The actual waffle batter recipe is taken directly from this Easy Pancake recipe. Our very favorite!)