Crispy tofu triangles are drenched in sweet and spicy gingery sauce and served up with broccoli and rice to make this flavor-packed General Tso’s tofu.
One of my very first tofu experiences involved General Tso’s tofu, and I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t very good. Most restaurants that put tofu on the menu know what they’re doing, but sometimes they don’t. Anyway, it was probably one of the only vegetarian things on the menu, so I gave it a try, and it was too sweet, kind of soggy, a bit bland. All the things General Tso’s tofu should not be. I remembered hearing a tofu-hater once describe the flavor and texture of tofu as similar to wet bread, and that’s came to mind.
I nicknamed the dish General Tso’s French toast, and that name persisted. Forever. Years and years later, when I’d had so many awesome plates of General Tso’s tofu (it’s now a Chinese vegetarian restaurant favorite), I had to bite my tongue when ordering in order to not request a plate of the General’s French toast.
So I have quite a history with this dish. It’s about time I cooked some up in my own kitchen!
I did venture into making some General Tso’s not chicken out of seitan a couple of years ago (my second vegetarian Chinese restaurant favorite), but this is the first time I’ve made it with tofu.
The sauce for this recipe is loosely based on my not-chicken Tso’s sauce, with a few tweaks. It’s spicy, sweet, and loaded with flavor. The tofu gets dredged in cornstarch and pan-fried until crispy. It’s everything General Tso’s tofu should be. So all in all, this dish wins hands down over General Tso’s French toast. Know a tofu newbie? Or maybe you’re one? Cook up a batch of this!
General Tso’s Tofu
For the Sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the General Tso's Tofu
- 1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- About 1/3 cup cornstarch
- About 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 5-10 dried red chile peppers cut in half*
- 2 scallions chopped, white and green parts separated
- 1 medium broccoli crown broken into florets
- Sesame seeds and/or chopped peanuts
- Cooked rice for serving
- Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cut the tofu into 1-inch triangles (or cubes, or your favorite shape!). Place the cornstarch into a shallow bowl.
- Generously coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. Dredge each of the tofu triangles in the cornstarch, and then transfer them to the hot skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until crisp. Transfer the tofu to a paper towel-lined plate.
- If the skillet is dry at this point, add a splash more oil. Raise the heat to high. Add the chile peppers, white parts of scallions and broccoli. Stir-fry until the broccoli is tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Return the tofu to the skillet and add the sauce. Flip a few times to coat the broccoli and tofu with the sauce. Cook just until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and sprinkle with green parts of scallions, sesame seeds and/or peanuts. Divide onto plates and serve with rice.
*For a milder version of the dish, remove the seeds from the dried chiles before adding them to the skillet. You can also skip the chiles altogether, or substitute sriacha or sambal oelek to taste.
Nutrition information includes 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds per serving and does not include rice or peanuts.