One thing that Puerto Ricans are known for: FRIED FOOD! When I tell you that the gente from the Isla del Encanto fry anything and everything, I am not kidding you! We fry plantains, seafood, meat, dough, and anything else that can be fried and made into a tasty dish. One of those fried dishes is a pair that everyone enjoys and that is chicharron de pollo and tostones. Of course, I had to make a vegan version of this delicious dish for us plant-based folks to enjoy... because it was only right!
Now, many of you may hear 'chicharron' or 'chicharrones' and think of another famous fried snack known as pork rinds. Though the name is similar, chicharrón de pollo in this case translates to fried chicken! Usually, these are smaller chunks of fried goodness versus a larger piece. Since we're doing this vegan, you can literally make it any size you want depending on what chicken replacement you'll be using for this recipe. I recommend unbreaded vegan chicken strips that you can find in the freezer section for the ultimate experience. Soy curls or seitan will also work for this as long as they have a "chicken-like" texture. Trust me on this!
These are delicious chunks that are seasoned with a mix of Boricua spices that are used in most of our dishes. Primarily sofrito, sazón, adobo, and a shit ton of garlic... because I mean without garlic is it even a Caribbean dish? And of. course we cannot forget the vinegar! Think of this dish featuring some kind of mojo before being breaded with flour and deep-fried. Is your mouth watering yet?
You can definitely eat these chicharrónes on their own, but why would you want to do that when you can combine it with delicious tostones!? I won't go into that recipe today (you can find it on my blog or in the video for today's recipe), but I did want to mention it because combining these two Puerto Rican delicacies is a MUST! Fried plantain slices are the obvious choice when it comes to eating most of our dishes, but these two just go hand in hand, pun intended. Whether you eat them on their own one at a time or make mini sandwiches by layering a slice of tostones, chicharrón, mayoketchu, and a final toston! This is not a recipe you want to miss out on, so let's go ahead and get to assembling.
Vegan Chicharrón de Pollo and Tostones
1-pack vegan chicken strips (unbreaded), cut into chunks
oil for frying (neutral in flavor)
1-2 tbsps sofrito
1 tbsp sazón
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp minced or pureed garlic
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil or oil of your choice
Place vegan chicken chunks into a bowl (one with a lid) and mix in all of the marinade ingredients. Once all ingredients are well combined, cover with a lid and store in the fridge for at least 30-minutes to allow meat replacement to marinate.
When ready to fry, heat oil in a fryer or pot to 350º F. If using a conventional oven turn heat to medium-high heat to prevent any burning or cooking too quickly.
Add 1-tbsp olive oil to chicharrón chunks. In a zip-lock bag or container combine flour and chicharrónes.
Fry chicharrónes for 4-5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. You can fry twice if desired for a darker color and crispier texture.
Drain on napkins and serve immediately.