Sunday, March 27, 2011

General Tso Tofu

I don't often make Chinese food (as opposed to other kinds of Asian), because it is a bit of a hassle and because a lot of the dishes I like are deep fried. Once in a while, however, we do indulge in something like this: crispy battered tofu, in a rich sweet and spicy sauce. And as an added bonus, this version is gluten free.

The one important thing with this is to work quickly at the end and not to over-cook the tofu in the sauce, since you want it crispy rather than soggy. 

General Tso Tofu

Ingredients (for 3-4 portions): 

- 1 package (about 1 lb/500 grams) of tofu, firm or extra firm. 
- handful of snow peas or fresh broccoli (optional) 
- 5-6 dried chilies, sliced into several large pieces.
- 3 scallions (green onions), sliced 
- 3 eggs, beaten 
- 1/2 cup of cornstarch 
- oil for deep frying 
For the sauce: 
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar 
- 6 tbsp of sherry or white wine 
- 1/2 cup of sugar 
- 6 tbsp of soy sauce (I used gluten free Tamari) 
- 5 tbsp cornstarch 

1. Prepare the sauce: put all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Or, ideally, put them in a small jar or plastic container with a lid, close tightly and shake to mix. Set aside. 
2. Cut the tofu into cubes. In a large bowl mix together the beaten eggs and the cornstarch until a smooth batter forms. Put the tofu into the batter and carefully toss to cover each piece of tofu. 

3. Heat a deep fryer to 375 or heat enough oil to deep fry in a wok or large pan. When the oil is hot, fry the tofu in small batches (do not over crowd it!) until it is a deep golden color and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.  

4. Heat one tbsp of oil in a wok or large pan. Add the chilies, the scallions and the snow peas or broccoli if you are using them. Stir fry for a minute on medium-high heat. Add the fried tofu and stir fry for another minute to reheat. 

5. Give the sauce another mix/shake (as parts of it will settle) and then add it to the wok, stirring as you do. It's important to stir because the sauce will quickly become gooey and sticky rather than liquid, so you want to make sure your tofu pieces are coated. Note that there won't be a lot of "extra" sauce. The sauce will basically cover the tofu and stick to it. Don't over cook, as you want the tofu to stay crispy and not go soggy. 

Serve with steamed rice. Enjoy!

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