Prep Time: 10 Mins
Whenever I go back to Singapore and go out to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant with my family, we always order the vegan cereal prawns. So when I had a massive craving for this, I tried to find a good vegan version of the recipe online and couldn’t. Well then, challenge accepted!
The original Singaporean cereal prawns recipe uses Nestum, which contains a variety of weird ingredients including milk powder and is also a product of Nestlé, probably one of the most evil companies in the world. I even found a recipe on a vegan site that used Nestum, and I was like, whutttttt. So anyway, don’t use it. We are gonna use oats instead because we are not baby cow murderers.
You can use vegan prawns instead of tofu if you prefer, and vegan butter instead of oil+salt+sugar. I’m trying to make this vegan cereal prawns recipe as accessible as possible, so I’m going to make it with the most basic ingredients. With tofu and rolled oats, this dish is packed with protein!
I used Quaker whole grain rolled oats. Quaker is owned by PepsiCo, which is slightly less evil than Nestlé. If you can find another alternative, that's great! First, we blend the rolled oats very quickly, just a few pulses, to cut it up into smaller bits. Don't worry about everything being exactly the same size, some big and some small makes for great texture.
Slice the tofu into cubes or rectangles, or triangles, whatever you like, but not too small otherwise you'll just be eating batter. Pull the curry leaves off the stem and dice the chilli.
Mix ⅓ cup of corn starch with ⅓ cup of all purpose flour, then add ⅓ cup of non-dairy milk and ⅓ cup of water and whisk to blend well. You can then gracefully dip each tofu in the batter and then put it into hot oil, or throw all the tofu in and mix with your hands like you don't care.
Heat about 800ml or four fingers depth of oil in a large and deep sauce pan. Drip a small amount of batter into the oil, if the batter cooks and rises immediately, the oil is hot enough. Deep fry all the tofu until crisp. I did half till golden brown and half only till yellow, just for fun. Then drain on a paper towel over a colander.
Put 3 tbsp of oil into a non-stick pan over low heat and add ¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of sugar. This is to mimick the butter flavour. If you have vegan butter, just omit the salt and sugar.
Add the curry leaves and chilli and fry for about a minute.
Add the oats. The oats will very quickly absorb up all the oil and start to cook. This is why we keep the heat low. Slowly add 1 tbsp of non-dairy milk and incorporate into the oats, pressing the oats with your spatula so they don't clump. Then do it again with another 1 tbsp of non-dairy milk. We don't add it all at once otherwise it is likely to mush and mushy oats in this dish is sadness. After continuously moving the oats around for about 5 minutes, they should be golden brown, cooked, and dry.
Put the tofu back into the pan and add another ¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of sugar, as well as a small drizzle of oil over the tofu to help the oats stick. Toss to mix well. Honestly, the oats are not gonna stick too much cos it's not processed like Nestum, and we are not using a huge amount of oil.
Serve with plain rice or fried rice, and something with sauce, like stir-fried vegetables. Usually after eating the main tofu/prawns, we like to mix the sweet and savoury oats into rice, it's super nommy. The curry leaves are also crispy and edible.
You can omit the chilli if you want to serve to kids.