Years ago I saw a picture in a magazine of fried balls with veggies sticking out of them. I can’t remember what they were made of, but I thought I’d create a recipe inspired by that mysterious magazine picture. And that’s how my tofu veggie fritters were born!

The tofu keeps these fritters super moist, and the sesame seeds really shine – the oil makes them nutty and delicious. In each bite, there is a hint of all of the ingredients and it’s really a great appetizer. My dad didn’t even know tofu was involved!

Vegetable or peanut oil for frying

16 oz firm tofu

⅔ cup carrots (julienned)

⅓ cup red bell pepper (diced)

¼ cup green onions (sliced)

2 garlic cloves (minced)

2 teaspoons ginger (grated)

1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce

1 ½ teaspoon sesame seeds

1 ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds

7-8 Thai basil leaves

4 egg whites

¾ cup panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the tofu and cut into chunks. Put these chunks onto a paper towel lined plate. Cover with more paper towels and then put another plate on top of it to weigh everything down. This process will remove excess moisture from the tofu. Keep it weighed down for 10-20 minutes.

In the mean time, dice the pepper and julienne the carrots. Add to a large mixing bowl with the sliced green onions. Add the garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and soy sauce. Chop/cut the Thai basil and add to the mixture as well.

Using your hands, crumble the tofu into the veggie bowl and then add in the panko. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Toss everything until combined. Add in the egg whites and toss gets coated.

Heat the oil over medium-high until a drop of water sizzles in it. Using your hands, take golf ball sized portions of the tofu and press into balls. Gently drop into the hot oil. Fry for 5-8 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon or spider. Put onto a paper towel lined plate so excess oil can be absorbed. Repeat for the rest of the tofu mixture.

Serve warm with a dipping sauce.