Sunday, July 14, 2013
Tofu with General Tso's Sauce
Time: about 45 minutes
General Tso's Tofu is one of the best dishes I've ever tasted. Although this deep-fried delight is perfect just the way it is, I wanted to see if I could achieve a similar taste and texture without going through all of the steps it takes to deep fry it. To do so, I simply browned some tofu using my quick and easy saute method, then smothered it with some General Tso's sauce to create an easier and lighter version of the original. The result was a success, yielding a slightly different but equally satisfying texture as the original. Served with rice, steamed broccoli and extra sauce, this quick and easy dinner is packed with crisp and vibrant flavors.
for the sauce
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup minced ginger
1/8 cup minced garlic
1 cup chopped scallions
habanero or cayenne powder, to taste (optional)
2 TB mirin or vegetable broth
1 TB soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 cup vegetable broth
2 TB sugar
1 TB cornstarch, dissolved in 2 TB cold water
for the tofu
1 TB canola oil
1 block of firm tofu (no need to press it)
fresh thai chilis. sliced
raw scallion green tips, sliced
steamed broccoli and rice
To make the sauce, place the sesame oil into a small saucepan over low heat. Add in the ginger and garlic, toss with the oil to coat, and allow to soften for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the garlic or ginger to brown.
Add in the chopped scallions, stir, then increase the heat to medium. Saute for about 2 minutes, or until the scallions are bright green, then increase the heat to medium high.
Once the pan starts to sizzle, add in any hot pepper powder (if using), then deglaze it with the mirin or 2 TB of broth. Next, add in the 1 cup of broth, soy sauce and rice vinegar, then stir in the sugar. Allow the mixture to come to a small boil, then whisk in the cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened. Set aside to slightly cool.
To make the tofu, heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cut your block of tofu into 4 slabs, then cut each slab diagonally to make 8 triangles. Carefully place the tofu into the hot pan, then cover and increase the heat to medium high. It will pop and sputter for about 10 minutes. Carefully lift the lid up to prevent and water from hitting the hot skillet, flip the tofu and allow to saute, uncovered, on the other side for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned. If the tofu starts to stick, reduce the heat and add a little more oil, shimmying the pan back and forth over the heating element to loosen.
Remove the skillet from the heat, then toss in some of the sauce directly in the skillet to coat. Serve with steamed broccoli and rice, drizzling with any extra sauce. Top with raw sliced scallions, peanuts and thai chilis, if desired.