General Tso’s Tofu (If He Had Tofu)

Had friends over, experimented with her favorite recipe to make it animal friendly. Here’s what we made. The tofu is delicious; like fried cheese but meatier. Serve with fried vegetable rice:

Using a clean tea towel, press

two 12.5 ounce blocks of extra firm tofu

under ~5 pounds of evenly distributed weight. Press for one hour, changing the towel once. Cut tofu into 1??? cubes.

Place a large wire cake rack over a jelly roll pan or yesterday’s newpaper. Place the tofu in a medium bowl. Add

2 T soy sauce
1 T sake
1 t toasted sesame oil

and mix well. Allow tofu to soak for 10 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and add

one egg, beaten lightly

and mix again until well coated. Put

2/3 cup cornstarch

in a covered container. Add the tofu and shake to coat. Add more cornstarch if needed; pieces should not stick together. Place tofu on the wire rack without the pieces touching each other. Set the bowl of cornstarch aside. Refrigerate to set the coating, at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, the longer the better. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before deep-frying.

In a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, cook

3 cups broccoli florets

until bright green and crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes. Using a wire mesh skimmer, transfer the broccoli to a bowl of cold water and set aside.

Heat a large flat-bottomed wok or deep Dutch oven over high heat until very hot. Add enough

peanut oil (2-3 cups)

to come about one third of the way up the sides of the wok or to a depth of 2 to 3 inches in the Dutch oven. Over high heat, heat the oil until very hot, but not smoking (the surface of the oil will shimmer slightly), or to 400*F (200*C) on a deep frying thermometer.

In a small bowl, combine

1/4 cup strong ale (substitute vegetable broth if needed)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 T sake
1 T sugar
1 1/2 T rice vinegar

stirring to dissolve the sugar as much as possible. In another small bowl, dissolve the remaining

1 T cornstarch in
2 T water.

Roll the tofu again in the bowl of cornstarch until white and powdery. Shake off excess. In batches without crowding, deep-fry the pieces until the coating sets, about 30 seconds. Using a wire-mesh skimmer, remove the tofu and count to 10. Return the chicken to the oil and cook until the coating is crisp and golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to the wire rack and set aside while deep-frying the remaining tofu.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok. Return to high heat and add

10 dried chillies.

Cook until the chilies are dark red. Stir in the soy sauce mixture; then stir in
2 T garlic.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 seconds. Turn off heat. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Add the tofu pieces; drain and add broccoli; stir to coat. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. If vegetable broth is used instead of beer, increase sugar to 2 tablespoons. This is not one of my easy recipes, but it is worth the effort.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 3-4 hours
Taste [rate 4]
Ease [rate 2]

One thought on “General Tso’s Tofu (If He Had Tofu)

  1. YUM! I really liked it with the tofu. I think I just really like tofu!
    I wonder how different it would have been with the chiles instead of the Schezuan sauce.

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