I love Chinese take out, but sometimes it’s hard to find a great place (especially since we moved from NYC to Atlanta), and after eating all that MSG I get a massive headache. However, I can never seem to get my favorite recipes replicated just right….until now. After seeing a recipe for some General Tso’s Chicken, I thought, ‘Why can’t I make this with tofu?’ The meat is really just he vehicle for the sauce, right?
I knew that I wanted to get nice crispy tofu though, and wanted to mix it up instead of baking or dry frying the tofu like how I usually make it. I looked up some different ways to fry tofu, because I’ve never actually straight up fried it before. Turns out it’s easy. I usually have an aversion to frying, and since I don’t have any special frying appliance it seems intimidating. In this case, it’s not. I used a method called ‘shallow’ frying, which means the whole object isn’t submerged in oil; basically just the bottom and you turn flip it around on each side to get the crispiness you are looking for. It was easy and it worked great. This tofu was SO good, even without the sauce. Making the sauce I was kind of skeptical because of the ingredients (um, ketchup?), but I thought it would turn out fine because usually these sauces seem a little funky in the beginning, and then they turn out fabulous. The Hoisin Sauce is clutch here! It didn’t just turn out great though, it was amazing! This is by far the best replica of any Chinese food I have made. You could definitely use this sauce on chicken, veggies, plain rice…whatever! It is sooo tasty! You could also modify the spice amount by either increasing or reducing the red pepper flakes. Personally, I like it hot so I will add more next time. The recipe listed is pretty mild spice wise.
I love putting this General Tso’s Tofu over rice, but it would also be great with added veggies or even quinoa in place of the rice! This recipe turns out to be really cheap too. I bet you have most if not all of the sauce ingredients in your pantry, and tofu is like $2 a box! Next time, I am doubling this and using 2 blocks of tofu! So delicious!
- 1 brick extra firm tofu
- 3-4 TBS cornstarch
- 1-2 TBS canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 TBS hoisin sauce
- 3 TBS rice vinegar
- 3 TBS ketchup
- 2 TBS soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 shakes red pepper flakes (optional, 2 shakes turns out pretty mild..add more for more spice or you can leave out for less)
- 1 TBS sesame oil
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 3 TBS fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1. Drain tofu of excess water pressing between the counter and heavy object. **I use 2 clean kitchen towels, one folded up the size of the tofu brick on the bottom (place under tofu), and then one on top. Then I place my cast iron pan on top of the top towel, and sometimes place something else in the pan to hold it down. You do not want the tofu to collapse, if it's breaking take some weight off. Let sit 20 minutes. to drain**
- 2. While waiting for tofu, mix together the first 7 ingredients and set aside.
- 3. Heat a skillet on medium with about a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil inside. While heating, slice tofu into 1/2" slices, then cut each slice into thirds. Coat each cube lightly with cornstarch and then place into pan until browned and crispy. You may have to turn up the heat under the pan a bit. Remove from frying pan and set aside on paper towels.
- 4. Wipe pan clean with paper towel and add sesame oil, onions, and chopped ginger. Cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add sauce mixture to pan, bring to a boil, and simmer about 2 minutes. Add tofu back to mixture, toss to coat. Top with green onions if desired.
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