Vegan Beer Chick’n Tenders

These spicy Beer Chick’n Tenders have a beer batter as well as using beer in the wheat meat, and you get something that’s nicely chewy in the middle and crispy on the outside. The key to getting the texture really meaty (and not oddly spongy) is to knead it a lot, so be prepared for that. You can find the vital wheat gluten online or in organic shops. This recipe can easily be doubled up in quantity.

Beer and Veg by Mark Dredge


Serves 4

Serve with: cold Pale Lager, Hazy Pale Ale or Saison


Beer Chick’n

2 cups (260g) vital wheat gluten

3 tablespoons chickpea/gram flour (you can’t replace this with all purpose/ plain flour so if you can’t get chickpea/gram then use oat flour)

7oz (200g) firm tofu

1 cup (240ml) beer (flat, not fizzy)

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons white miso

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

Vegetable oil


For the batter

1⁄2 cup (60g) chickpea/gram flour

1⁄2 cup (120ml) beer (Pale Lager is ideal)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt


For the seasoned flour

3 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour

1⁄2 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour)

1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black or white pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t want so much spice)

1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch of allspice


Making the Beer Chick’n

Combine the vital wheat gluten and chickpea/gram flour in a bowl and set aside. Then, in a high-power blender, mix the rest of the ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir together with a fork. When it looks like a dough, start kneading it (it’ll come together and seem to snap into a new consistency), then continue kneading it for at least 10 minutes and ideally 15 minutes. Punch it, elbow it, slap it around, and just keep on going as it gets firmer and firmer. Be rough with it, it’s fine.

To cook it, you’ll ideally need a steamer, but you can poach it. You can cook it as one large piece or you can divide it into smaller “steaks”. Either way,wrap it very tightly in baking parchment (baking parchment) and then aluminum foil, and steam smaller pieces for 30–35 minutes, and larger ones for 50 minutes. (To poach, wrap it in foil and then plastic wrap/clingfilm, then place in gently simmering water for 50 minutes.)

Allow to cool, then refrigerate for a few hours (or a few days), until you’re ready to use it.


Making the tenders

You can deep-fry or bake these tenders—frying obviously tastes better, but sometimes we need to consider our health. If baking, preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas 7, put a few tablespoons of oil on a large baking sheet and place in the oven to heat up—allow at least 10 minutes for this. If deep-frying, heat the recommended amount of vegetable oil for your fryer to around 350°F/180°C.

Have two large shallow bowls in front of you. In one, whisk the batter ingredients–the batter should be thick and able to coat a piece of Beer Chick’n. In the other bowl, combine the flour and seasoning ingredients.

Shape the Beer Chick’n into tenders (or nuggets or “popcorn”). Dip each piece into the seasoned flour, then cover in the batter, then put back into the seasoned flour. Remove from the flour and put them on a plate.

If baking, place the tenders on the warmed baking sheet and cook for 20–30 minutes or until deep golden brown, turning halfway. If deep frying, cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown (you’ll need to do this in batches, so keep the already-fried tenders warm while you cook the rest).


Prefer breadcrumbs?

If you want these to be more like chicken nuggets, then set up three bowls: one with just a couple of tablespoons of all-purpose (plain) flour, one with the batter mix, and the third with breadcrumbs (golden or panko). Dip the tenders in the flour, then the batter, then the breadcrumbs, and bake or fry as above.


This recipe is from Beer & Veg by Mark Dredge. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.