Wednesday, January 23, 2019

General Tso's Broccoli Tofu

This dish has quickly become a favorite. It's surprisingly easy to make and very filling. Paired with some veggie spring rolls or a simple Asian slaw, it's quite an impressive dish for  company without keeping you all evening in the kitchen. This dish is pretty versatile, too. You can substitute any veg that you prefer- and cook it to your preference before adding the sauce. It  works really well with frozen veg if you are like me and hate running to the shops for fresh veg every few days.


I've been experimenting making my own Oriental sauces lately. For me, a store-bought bottle of sauce, besides being expensive and full of things I can't pronounce, always seems like too much sauce for one recipe but not enough sauce for 2 recipes so then the extra sits in the fridge for weeks until you forget how long it's been in there and are afraid to use it. So, basically, you've spent $5+ for a bottle of sauce and thrown away 30% of it. If you can make a gravy, then making a sauce is easy peasy. If you have yet cooked a liquid until thickened then it's probably time to start! 

As with most of my recipes, I have taken bits of recipes from here and there and adjusted to my liking or to the ingredients I tend to have on hand. Feel free to make it sweeter or tangier or spicier to suit your tastes! After making this a few times, I have toned down the sugar and the vinegar to get a less intense sauce. 


You can double or triple this recipe easily and save the extra in the fridge for several days. You may even be able to freeze it, but I've not tried it yet. Let me know if you do! 


General Tso's Broccoli Tofu
Yields: 4 generous helpings

Ingredients:
1 block of firm or extra firm tofu
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 cup of corn starch
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6-7 cups of fresh or frozen broccoli or other vegetables
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1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 Tbsp of water
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp of veggie or no-chicken bullion
2 Tbsp of vinegar (white, rice, or ACV- your choice)
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of powdered ginger
1/2 tsp or to taste of red pepper flakes 


Optional: prepared rice 



Instructions:
1. Press tofu to remove excess water. Cut into cubes. Douse with 1/4 cup of soy sauce and let rest 5 minutes to absorb. 
2. Toss the tofu with the corn starch (about 1/4 of the tofu at a time) until coated. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray, no pieces touching. It is normal for the soy to soak into the cornstarch as they set. No need to coat again. You can save any leftover cornstarch for the sauce.
3. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Turn over and bake another 10 minutes. Or until desired crispiness on the outside. The coating will absorb the sauce, so I do recommend that you get it nicely browned as in the picture below if you don't want goo.
4. While the tofu is baking, steam your broccoli/veg to desired softness/firmness. I like mine right in the middle. Cover to keep warm. It may soften a tad more while resting.
5. Mix the cornstarch and 3 Tbsp of water together and set aside. This is called a cornstarch slurry.
6. In a pot large enough to hold all the tofu and veg, mix together the last 8 ingredients on the list. Cook over medium-low until the sugar is completely dissolved (it doesn't feel thick on the bottom when you stir). 
7. Turn stove up to med-high and bring sauce to a simmer. Continue to stir constantly, scraping the bottom systematically, and stir in the slurry. Stir and stir until sauce thickens to about ketchup consistency. Remove from heat.
8. I recommend that you shake your tofu off in a colander or wire sieve to remove any loose corn starch. Then fold the tofu gently in the sauce until well-coated. Lastly, stir in the broccoli/veg. 
9. Serve as is or over rice. 
The baked tofu just turned over on the baking sheet



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