Imperial Orange Tofu


This is a nice basic recipe for the kind of “orange [insert protein here]” you can get at any Chinese fast food lunch buffet.  It would work just as well with chicken as with tofu, but actually the tofu has a really nice texture once it’s been battered and fried.  It was sweeter than I normally like for dinner, but not overly so, and the crispiness of the tofu really balanced it well.

The sauce:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbps soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, ground (or regular black pepper is ok too)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (darker is better)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry

Combine everything except the cornstarch and sherry in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let simmer 5 more minutes or until sauce is slightly reduced.  Whisk together cornstarch and sherry in a small bowl.  Add to sauce, whisking constantly.  Simmer a few more minutes until thickened.  I think the proportions are a bit off here, because I had to simmer it longer than the recipe called for to get the viscosity I wanted.  Either less liquid in the beginning or more reduction is called for.

To prepare the tofu, first cut a block of extra-firm tofu into cubes (the recipe says 1-inch slices, but I prefer 1-inch cubes) and lay on paper towels to dry.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup dry sherry, 1/2 cup cornstarch, salt, and 2 egg whites (beaten).  Whisk well to combine.

Heat 1/4 inch of veg oil in a nonstick skillet.  Dip the tofu cubes into the cornstarch batter and fry in batches about 5 minutes or until golden brown on all sides.  Drain on paper towels so they don’t get soggy.

Serve over basmati rice topped with orange sauce and chopped scallions.

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No Dylan report for this – he ate really early tonight and his selfish parents finished all the tofu.  I did save the extra sauce so maybe he’ll eat it over chicken over the weekend.

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