Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tofu with General Tso's Sauce

























Serves 2
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.

INGREDIENTS
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)

to serve
crushed peanuts
fresh thai chilis. sliced
raw scallion green tips, sliced
steamed broccoli and rice

METHOD
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.



21 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing! And Jeff's pictures are absolutely stunning as always.

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  2. i remember the first time i tasted general tso's chicken. it was seriously one of the most delicious things i've ever eaten. i remember my cousin(who told me to order it) told me it was also one of the most unhealthy chinese dishes, and full of fat. so that made me sad. i haven't had it in over ten years, and i love the thought of a non deep fried variety. also, the sauce looks simple enough to throw together- i'm surprised. perhaps i'll have to try this soon using chickpeas!

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    1. It is really simple, and smells fantastic while it's sauteing -- if you try it out, I hope you enjoy Caitlin!

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  3. This was dinner tonite & it was wonderful. I used your tofu cooking method & it was as exciting & heart stopping as the first time. I'll be making this again.

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    1. I am so excited you made this, Lan! I still jump at every pop while the tofu is sauteeing, although I know it's not going to really explode. : ) Thanks for your kind feedback!

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  4. I've never actually had General Tso's anything... though I've certainly heard people online talking about it. I guess I'm not a big deep-fryer, so this looks like a good version for me to try out! Hope you two are doing well!

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    1. I hope you give it a try, the aroma and flavor is so nice. Hope you are having a great summer, Amey! xo

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  5. The photograph with the chopsticks holding a piece of General Tso's Tofu is officially the most captivating food blog photo I've seen...I kept scrolling back to stare at it. I cannot WAIT to make this recipe. I have a feeling this might be the one that finally gets my husband to like tofu...

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    1. Thank you Ashley! I hope you enjoy it, and that it changes your husband's mind about tofu! : )

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  6. I made this last night and it was so good! It's a keeper! I will next time reduce the sugar a bit. Otherwise it was great! Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. happy you enjoyed maureen, thanks for your feedback!

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  7. This is exactly what I've been craving lately, I'll deinitely be making this one for dinner next week. Awesome recipe as usual Erin :)

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  8. Thanks Maggie, I hope you enjoy! : )

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  9. Classic! I love the sound, and most importantly, the look, of your version!

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  10. Hey there, just made your General Tso's tofu. It was tasty! This is a staple take-out dish for us in our vegan-limited area. This definitely seemed way healthier than the version we get from our local Chinese place! Thanks for the recipe...will definitely make it again. Somehow your tofu technique does not work for my pan/lid combo though. I think the water is dripping down in my pan while it cooks making the tofu on the outter edge of the pan not brown. I will try again with a different lid b/c it sounds like a good method!

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    1. Glad you liked, Priscilla, thanks for your feedback! Yes, the lid should not be dripping water back into the pan so much that it interferes with the browning process -- good luck next time with an alternate lid/pan!

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  11. So many of my vegetarian recipes require tofu that I think I should start branching out and try more non-meat protein sources. Do you think this would work with tempeh? I know it would be a very different texture, but will it be as tasty?

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    1. I don't think tempeh would work here, but roasted cauliflower would go well with the sauce!

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