Crispy tofu and cauliflower florets are drenched in a sweet and savory bourbon ginger sauce to create this totally inauthentic but undoubtedly delicious vegan stir-fry.
I recognize that I’ve been boozing up the blog like crazy lately. I barely let an entire week pass since my last whiskey-infused recipe, and believe it or not, I didn’t make this stir-fry in order to use up the last of that bottle. I actually went out and bought a whole new bottle for this one, and I’m so glad I did, because this was the best thing ever.
This was also totally misguided, by the way, as lots of my recipes were. There’s a Chinese-fusion-ish dish that involves bourbon and chicken, and that’s where the inspiration for this comes from, but I can’t really say its an adaptation. Once I heard that such a dish existed I immediately assumed I knew what it was all about and threw this recipe together, all stir-fried with crispy cornstarch coated tofu bits. Bourbon chicken, as I now understand, involves marinating and roasting…or something like that? I’m really not concerned with the original anymore though, because my crispy bourbon tofu bits were bliss.
I also debated doing this with crispy cauliflower instead of tofu, because everyone seems to dig the whole crispy Chinese cauliflower thing. In the end I decided not to decide, and make a tofu-cauliflower stir-fry.
- ⅓ cup vegan bourbon whiskey
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1½ tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1½ tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp. cold water
- 1½ tsp. cornstarch
- vegetable oil (any high smoke point oil will work)
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes
- about ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 3 scallions, white and green parts separated and chopped
- 3 cups cauliflower florets (1 small crown)
- cooked rice or quinoa
- roasted peanuts (optional)
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- Place stir bourbon, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir everything to incorporate and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the alcohol has cooked off (taste test), about 10 minutes. Stir cornstarch and water together in a small cup or bowl and add to whiskey mixture. Allow to simmer 1 minute more, until sauce thickens a bit. Remove from heat.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet generously with oil and place over medium heat. Working in batches if needed, roll tofu cubes in cornstarch mixture and transfer to skillet in a single layer. Cook until crispy on bottoms, about 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking on each side until crispy (it's okay if you miss a side or two on some of the cubes). Add oil to skillet as needed between batches and continue until all tofu cubes are cooked, transferring each batch to a paper towel-lined plate when done.
- Coat skillet with another tablespoon of oil and raise heat to high. Add cauliflower and white parts of scallions. Stir-fry until cauliflower is tender-crisp and browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
- Lower heat and add tofu back to skillet, along with whiskey sauce. Cook just until sauce becomes bubbly and coats cauliflower and tofu, about 1 minute.
- Divide rice or quinoa onto plates and top with stir-fry. Sprinkle with green parts of scallions, peanuts and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve.