On Friday, the chef widely credited with inventing the Chinese-American classic General Tso’s Chicken died. Peng Chang-Kuei is credited for inventing Commander Tso’s Chicken in Taiwan in the 1950s, dispelling the myth that it was originally prepared in ancient Hunan for a legendary general.
In recognition of this truly inspired idea, we have created General Tso’s Tofu, a vegan and vegetarian version of the original dish.
Song of Praise for Tofu!
Since tofu is far more nutritious than chicken thighs, that was a concern, but ultimately this dish is an homage to tofu and all people who appreciate its delicate flavor. You should also try our Crispy Tofu Tacos, which are delicious whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or carnivorous beast.
However, General Tso’s Tofu is a great vegetarian or vegan substitute for meat. I often feel at a loss as to what to bring for supper for my vegetarian and vegan friends, but this recipe solves that problem well.
They won’t feel left out, and you won’t have to feel bad about serving only vegetables and tofu to guests who can’t eat the other excellent meat meals you’ve prepared.
Whether you’re looking to make a weeknight meal for your tofu-loving self, host a vegan dinner party, or pay tribute to the late Peng Chang-keui, this easy-to-follow dish is worth a try.
- 450g of drained, pat dry, regular or firm tofu (1-inch squares)
- ⅓ cup of peanut or canola oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1½ tablespoons of honey
- 1 ½ tablespoons of sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons of Louisiana hot sauce
Rest of the dish:
- 7 whole dried Chinese red chili peppers
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 cups of broccoli florets
- 1 cup of water or vegetable stock
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch with water
- 1½ tablespoons of light soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon of minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- In a bowl, combine the honey and Louisiana spicy sauce. Toss the tofu in the basin with a spatula until it is evenly coated.
- Then, when the tofu has been tossed, you can add the sesame seeds. Next, lightly coat the tofu with cornstarch. Add a bit extra cornstarch if the tofu is still too wet.
- 1/3 cup of oil should be heated in a medium-sized frying pan (we prefer a cast iron skillet) to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until a bamboo chopstick creates a bubble when dropped into the oil. The frying of tofu can be simplified by using additional oil to achieve a deep fry.
- Put the tofu in the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch anything else, and let it fry for about 2 minutes. Fry them on both sides by flipping them over. If you need additional time to turn them or notice that they are starting to burn, get to work fast and reduce the heat. Wait until a beautiful crust forms and the tofu is golden brown before serving (about 4-5 minutes time in total). Using a slotted spoon, move the tofu cubes to a baking sheet.
- Over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil saved from frying the tofu, along with the ginger, to your wok. Add the garlic and whole dried chili peppers after 10 seconds, and cook for another 15 seconds while stirring. Now add the red bell peppers and Shaoxing wine and mix well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil after adding the water or vegetable stock. Throw in some broccoli florets.
- The soy sauces, rice vinegar, salt, sugar, and sesame oil should be added right away. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Quickly and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
- The sauce ought to be thick enough to coat a spoon. Add more or less cornstarch mixture to adjust sauce thickness; wait 30 seconds to 1 minute between additions.
- Then, add your fried tofu and toss it around so that it is completely covered in the sauce. Use steamed rice as a side dish.