General Tao's Tofu, adapted from the vegweb.com recipe.
My first experience making General Tao's tofu actually brings a lot of people to my blog via google, and really that one didn't go as planned. I had doubled the recipe that time and all the vinegar and ginger just about gagged me. We used the sauce more as a dip for fried tofu.
This past week, I made it actually following the recipe (well, closer with half a block of Trader Joe's super firm tofu (vacuum sealed) I had leftover from another meal. I halved the tofu amount but used the full amount of sauce - wisely, and I'm not a big en-r-g user so I just stuck with cornstarch. Personally, I prefer my 'fried tofu' with a little wiggle inside, but I used what I had.
Here's the recipe I followed, below, with my adaptations in parenthesis:
General Tao's Tofu
1 container of firm tofu, drained and pressed. I prefer just 'firm', but really you can use whatever you want/have.
3/4 cup cornstarch
peanut or vegetable oil for frying
3 chopped green onions (I left this out)
1 Tablespoon minced ginger (I used half the amount)
3 cloves minced garlic (love it)
2/3 cup vegetable stock (I used organic veggie broth powder + water)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (I used shoyu)
4 Tablespoons sugar (I used dark agave nectar, nectar of the vegan gods)
red pepper to taste (I would up this to at least a teaspoon next time)
1 Tablespoon sherry (optional - I did not have this)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
1/2 Tablespoon hoisin sauce (I added this to cut the sour)
-Directions: Drain, dry and cut tofu into 1 inch chunks. Roll each piece of tofu in a bowl of cornstarch. If your tofu can handle it with firmness, shake all the tofu in the cornstarch bowl - if you think this will break your fu - just do it individually.
-Heat your oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or wok (what I used) and fry tofu pieces on each side until golden. Drain oil. This will take about 4-6 minutes on medium high heat. Remove tofu from pan, place on paper towels.
-Heat 3 Tablespoons of oil in the pan or wok on medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes. I also added one sliced carrot at this point, and a few chopped green beans. Be careful not to burn garlic.
-In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper, hoisin sauce and vinegar. Add to wok.
-Mix 2 Tablespoons water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and pour into mixture stirring well (I whisked in about 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch).
-Add fried tofu and coat evenly.
-Serve immediately with steamed broccoli over your choice of rice. I used mixed grain brown rice and topped the dish with my precious black sesame seeds.
To note, the leftovers are still great, they're just not as crunchtastic. My boyfriend wants to eat this daily, a warning.
I made my first batch of summer rolls as an appetizer:
This one has romaine lettuce, sauce smothered-baked tofu, bean sprouts, carrots and a spicy cashew-macadamia nut sauce. The sauce was made with Trader Joe's cashew macadamia nut butter , srichi cock sauce, hoisin sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, agave nectar, ginger, garlic and hot water.
This wrap has tofu fried in peanut oil instead of baked.