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General Tso Tofu (Crispy Tofu without Deep Frying)

Learn how to make extra crispy tofu with the minimum amount of oil and time without deep frying, plus the best General Tso sauce! {vegan, gluten-free}
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Servings: 2 to 3
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

Tofu

  • 1 block (16 oz / 450 g) extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free alternative) (*footnote 1)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons cornstarch

Sauce (or pre-made General Tso’s Sauce)

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (or balsamic vinegar, or rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry, or stock)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for a gluten-free alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for a gluten-free alternative)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir fry

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 bunches broccolini (or 1 big head broccoli0
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 4 green onions , roughly chopped
  • 2 fresh Thai chili pepper (or 4 dried red chilies) (*Footnote 2) (Optional)

Instructions

  • Cut tofu into 1-inch pieces and transfer into a large ziploc bag. Add soy sauce and maple syrup. Gently flip the bag a few times to coat tofu with the liquid. Marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the sauce. If you’re using pre-made General Tso’s Sauce, shake the sauce to let the cornstarch dissolve completely, pour 1/3 cup sauce into a bowl, add 1/3 cup stock, mix well.
  • Prepare herbs for the stir fry. You could use a cheese grater to mince the ginger faster. For garlic, press a chef’s knife with your palm to crush it, so it’s easy to peel. Then use a garlic press to mince it.
  • When the tofu is marinated, open the bag just a little bit without letting the tofu fall out. Drain all the liquid and discard. Add cornstarch, a tablespoon at a time, gently toss the bag to coat the tofu. It is OK if the tofu doesn’t coat evenly.
  • Heat a large skillet with 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat until hot. Add broccolini (or broccoli). Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, stir a few times. Add 2 tablespoons water and cover immediately. Let steam for minute, until tender. Transfer the broccolini to serving plates.
  • Wipe the pan with a few layers of paper towel if there is water left from the steaming.
  • Add the rest of the 2 and 1/2 tablespoons oil into the pan. Add tofu with your hand (or a pair of tongs), shake off extra cornstarch. Let cook without moving for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip to brown the other side. If the pan gets too hot, turn to medium or medium low heat. Transfer the cooked tofu into a plate. Set aside.
  • Your pan should still have some oil left. If not, add the 2 teaspoons oil. Add garlic, green onions, and dried red chilies (if you’re using them). Stir a few times to release the fragrance.
  • Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely. Pour into the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Add back tofu. Gently toss to coat the sauce. Transfer everything onto the plate with the cooked broccolini.
  • Serve as main with steamed rice or by itself.

Notes

  1. For gluten-free alternative, also avoid Chinkiang vinegar and Shaoxing wine, and use one of the substitution instead.
  2. You can still add one or two whole dried chili peppers and it won’t make the the dish too spicy. If you want spiciness, chop fresh chili peppers (or tear the dried chili peppers).