Monday, March 12, 2007

General Tao's Tofu (with adapted recipe) and Vegan Summer Rolls

General Tao's Tofu
, adapted from the 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 conta
iner 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 fo
r 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 r
ice vinegar)
1/2 Tablespoon hoisin sauce (I added this to cut the sour)

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 t
ake 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, wh
isk 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.

Serves: 4

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.


Emmie said...

Those rolls look absolutely lovely. And the sauce for them sounds like it is very tasty. I'm bookmarking this so I can remember making it in the future.

Taylor said...

When I first discovered summer rolls many years ago, it was at a Vietnamese restaurant not in the town I lived in. The town I lived in didn't have a Vietnamese restaurant with summer rolls on the menu, so I started making them...and eating them ALL OF THE TIME!

Check back on my post for your house plant answers. I hope it helps a bit.

madeinalaska said...

funny,, I was just asking my honey at lunch if we could do a spring roll production for my birthday.. but, really why wait? yours do look scrumptious!

maybepigscanfly said...

Those summer rolls look great!

I had a question- I'm visiting Portland for a few days and I'm staying in the NW area/district (around Glisan and 18th). Do you have any suggestions for vegan friendly restaurants that others would also enjoy? (I'm with 2 vegetarian friends who- so they like vegan too, but would be happy with pizza each night). Thanks for the help!


Melody said...

OK, those summer rolls look absolutely amazing! I have rice paper and lots of asian fixins.. I really need to make some. Would you believe I've never made them before?

The tofu looks great too.. I can't deep fry anything.. but I KNOW how good it is.. (that's why I can't deep fry)

erica said...

Salad rolls lookin' gorgeous, saying to me "Erica. Why didn't you make some salad rolls last night like you wanted to? Shame on you, girl for forsaking the salad rolls on a monday night."

Webly said...

mmm spring rolls! They are like sandwiches, they taste better when someone else makes it. So, i'll be right over.

Kati said...

hehe your tofu looks like pineapple! That's not a bad thing, though.

Anonymous said...

A tip about the 1/2 tablspn hoisin sauce, FYI, this stuff usually has fish extact in it so if you are a vegetarian or cooking for vegetarians, you probably want to omit it or substitute it with smthing else
Also, depending on the brands sometimes it's listed in the ingredients, sometimes it may not be (i remember hunting this stuff down in of our Chinatown markets & finding no English ingredient list in of our Chinatown markets)

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Do you mean that even if it's not listed in the ingredients it is traditionally involved in bottled hoisin sauce? I did not know this, and would hope for allergen's sake, it would be mentioned - but again with foreign labels that's questionable.

The hoisin sauce I have at home is actually labeled "vegetarian hoisin sauce" and I wondered why, I figured it was marketing...

Cafe Cyan said...

Yay, made the General Tao's Tofu last night (finally...what, like 2 years later?) I feel like I have made it before, so maybe it's a repeat. Not sure. It was great!

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