Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chinese Takeout at Home! General Tso's Tofu

Since I have been following a vegetarian diet, there have been a few things that I have had a major hankering for. A BBQ pork sandwich is one. The classic Chinese takeout  known as General Tso's Chicken, is the other.
I can't imagine a veggie version of a  BBQ pork sandwich, but the General's is do-able. As a matter of fact, it was awesome!

The Sauce:
1 cup veggie broth
1 tbsp rice vinegar (or whatever kind you have)
3 tbsp rice wine
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp garlic chile sauce

The Tofu Knots:
2 cups veggie broth
2 cups dried tofu knots
1 cup cornstarch for dredging

The Veggies and Garnish:
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
chopped scallions
sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil for saute

dried tofu knots

First, let me introduce you to the tofu knots. It is actually dried bean curd skin, but tofu knots sounds way more appetizing doesn't it? I found these at my local Asian grocery store. If you don't have one, I have no idea where else they might be found. Bummer for you.

Let's Begin!

Bring the 2 cups of veggie stock to a boil, and pour over the 2 cups of dried tofu. Let sit for about 20
minutes, or until the center of the knots are tender. I served my dish with rice and broccoli, so this would be a great time to slice your veggies and start your rice.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
Drain the tofu in a colander, and put in a large zip top bag, or a large bowl. Add the 1 cup of cornstarch and shake the bag to coat. If you see bits of wet coating, add a bit more cornstarch.
Heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil in a dutch oven or whatever pot you use to fry in. The oil is ready when a piece of the cornstarch is dropped in and sizzles.
Add the tofu knots in batches. Do not crowd them. I fried about 10 at a time. Fry for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Place them on a stack of paper towels to drain. Repeat this process until all of the tofu is done.

fried knots

While frying the last batch of tofu, heat a skillet and add the 1 tbsp of oil. Add the sliced peppers and minced garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, add the set aside sauce. The sauce will thicken very quickly, so watch it closely. As soon as the sauce starts to thicken, add the fried tofu and toss to coat. Garnish with the chopped scallions, and sesame seeds.
Serve with rice and steamed broccoli.

the chile sauce and rice wine that I used