Friends, I am SO excited to bring you guys todays recipe: Vegan Shaka Shaka Chicken!! (McD Japan Copycat).
Let me just start off by saying that McDonald's in Japan is on a whole other level. From menu items, portion sizes, the atmosphere and most importantly, the quality of their food- it was always just so much more fresher, hotter, juicier and crispier.
They offer standard menu items you would typically find in North America along with many that are unique to Japan. Growing up, one of the things I looked forward to the most when going to Mcdonald's in Japan was their Shaka Shaka Chicken (and their whole Shaka Shaka line!).
What is Shaka Shaka Chicken? It's basically a deep fried chicken patty, kind of like a larger juicier nugget served in a paper pouch. You choose a packet of seasoning (at the time, there were only 3 flavours: lemon pepper, red pepper and cheese), sprinkle it in and shake the bag. Rip the top fold off and dig in! They also have shaka shaka wedges and fries which were super good too.
When I took Eric to Japan, he also had to chance to try it and LOVED (!!) it. Lowkey was kinda jealous... but NOT ANYMORE!! I'm not sure what took me so long to try and recreate Shaka Shaka Chicken but friends, this is the real deal. Perfectly crispy with a flaky crunch on the outside (without being oily at all!) and mega juicy on the inside. The cheese seasoning I came up with tastes JUST like how I remember it. Okay ya'll, are you ready for this?! Let's get to it.
How to Make Shaka Shaka Tofu Fried Chicken
Making vegan fried chicken isn't difficult. There are so many 'chicken' alternatives you could choose from: tofu, mushrooms, seitan, soy curls and ready-made 'chicken'. I tried a version of layering yuba and mushrooms which was tasty but not exactly what I was hoping for. I did a poll on instagram to see what your favourite chicken alternative was and tofu, seitan and mushrooms were a tie. So I figured I'd make a version out of each with different seasonings so you can mix and match depending on what you guys like! Today, I'm sharing the tofu version but stay tuned for a seitan and mushroom version with different seasonings ;).
- Traditional, medium firm or soft tofu: We're using the double-freeze method here that I also used for my air fryer tofu and vegan karaage. Double freezing is a common method used in many Asian restaurants and tofu factories to mimic a 'meaty' and fibrous texture. Texture wise, it's like a cross between dried yuba and firm tofu! You MUST use traditional, medium firm or soft tofu to achieve this texture. Using extra firm/firm will yield a spongier texture and using silken or silken soft will yield a yuba like texture.
- Vegan chicken bouillon: adds that 'chicken-like' juicy flavour to the tofu.
For the dredge, you'll need some flour and water. You can either use cake flour (my personal choice), all purpose flour or gluten free flour if needed.
For the breading:
- Potato starch + water: this creates those little crispy 'pebbles' you'll see specs of on shaka shaka chicken.
- 1 cup flour of choice (cake flour, all purpose or gluten free blend)
- baking powder
- baking soda
- garlic powder
- salt & pepper
First, prepare the tofu. Plan two day ahead before making this recipe. TIP: I always like to have a rotation of frozen traditional/soft tofu so I always have some ready on hand!
How to make tofu look and have the texture of chicken:
- The first day: Remove the tofu out of the container. Press excess water out using a tofu press or by placing heavy flat object on top. Once pressed, place it back into the container, cover and freeze overnight.
- The next day: remove the tofu out of the freezer and then thaw in the refrigerator. Once thawed, press again and then place it back into the freezer.
- The third day: Remove the tofu out of the freezer. This time, you can thaw it in the refrigerator OR microwave it with a damp paper towel wrapped around it. Press any excess liquid out and pat it dry. Now it's ready to turn into fried chicken!! NOTE: do NOT thaw at room temperature as there is potential for bacterial growth.
For the Fried Tofu Chicken Patty
- Cut the tofu down the middle to create 4 equal sized slabs. This is optional, but you can rip the corners of the tofu to make it rounder or more patty/cutlet like. I had two square pieces of tofu so they look more round but if you have rectangular pieces of tofu it'll probably look even more like a chicken cutlet 🙂
- Whisk the vegan chicken bouillon with water in a shallow dish. Then add the pieces of tofu in, this will give it that chicken-like flavour.
- Combine flour and water to make the dredge (basically like an egg mixture).
- Add the water to the potato starch and use your hands to make small pebble-like balls. Add the remaining coating ingredients in and mix it together.
- Remove a piece of tofu from the broth, let any excess liquid drip off and then dip it into the dredge. Coat it with the breading. Back into the dredge and then coat once more with the breading.
- Deep fry at 350 F for about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown to your liking.
- Once you remove it from the oil, place it on a wire rack to allow any excess oil to drip off. Repeat with remaining tofu.
- Place a piece of the 'chicken' into a paper bag/pouch and add desired amount of the cheese seasoning. SHAKE IT UP AND ENJOY!!
LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY COME OUT. Perfectly swirled. Perfectly fluffy. Perfectly tall. Kinda (really) mesmerizing.
More delicious tofu recipes to try:
- Vegan Karaage Chicken (Japanese style fried 'chicken')
- Atsuage (thick deep fried soft tofu)
- Misoyaki Tofu
- Tofu Katsu Curry
- Shaka Shaka Chicken (Seitan Version) w/ lemon seasoning - coming soon!
- Shaka Shaka Chicken (Mushroom version) w/ red pepper seasoning - coming soon!
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
If you recreate this Vegan Shaka Shaka Chick-un recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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