Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

Chinese Take-Out Menu Translator

What should you do when your heart says your in the mood for Chinese, but your head says that you need to make a healthy choice? Go Vegan, and make your favourite takeout option a cleaner one. My personal favourite is General Tso Chicken, with vegetable fried rice, and sauteed broccoli. Who says that you can’t have the best of both worlds? The trick is to prepare everything in your own kitchen in order to cut some of the fat out. I know you’re thinking,”Why Vegan Lisa?” but the truth is that I am secretly diving into the world of Vegetarianism, just to see if it is doable for even a chicken-lover like me;) Trust me, if this recipe doesn’t make the cut, you will be the first to know!

I’m going to give tofu a facelift by making it General Tso-style:

Tofu Cubes Topped with Spicy Sauce & Sesame Seeds on White Rice

General Tso’s Tofu

Ingredients

For the general Tso’s tofu

  • 10 ounces firm tofu (275 g), cubed
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp cornstarch
  • Oil of your choice, I used extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

For the sauce

  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, see notes
  • 3 tbsp vegetable stock or water
  • 3 tbsp cane, coconut or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the tofu cubes in a bowl or shallow dish.
  2. Add the marinade ingredients (2 tbsp of tamari and 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar), stir and let rest for at least 5 minutes, preferably overnight.
  3. Drain the tofu and discard the marinade.
  4. Transfer 1/3 of the tofu cubes to a freezer or plastic bag with 2 tbsp of cornstarch and toss to coat. Repeat this step with the rest of the tofu cubes and cornstarch. Add more cornstarch if needed.
  5. Once the tofu cubes are coated with the cornstarch, heat some oil in a skillet and add the tofu cubes. I used extra virgin olive oil, but any oil will do.
  6. Cook the tofu cubes over medium-high heat until all sides are golden brown. Remove the tofu from the skillet and set aside.
  7. Add the garlic to the skillet (add more oil if needed) and cook over medium-high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently until golden brown. Set aside.
  8. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl (tamari or soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, vegetable stock or water, sugar, cornstarch and red pepper flakes). Set aside.
  9. Add the sauce to the skillet where you had your cooked garlic and cook over medium-high heat until it thickens, stirring frequently. 
  10. Finally, add the tofu cubes, stir and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes.
  11. Serve with some cooked white rice and garnish with some sesame seeds and chopped chives (optional). Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Depending on your taste buds and the type or brand or vinegar you’re using, you may want to add less vinegar to the sauce. Some readers love the recipe just like this, but others prefer the sauce with less vinegar. Add only 1 tbsp of vinegar at first and add more vinegar if needed.
  • I never press my tofu because I prefer to save some time and also think it’s not necessary, but it’s up to you. I just drain the tofu and discard the liquid.
  • Firm or extra firm tofu works great. I’ve never tried to use soft or silken tofu myself, but I don’t think it’s going to work.
  • If you don’t want to use a freezer or plastic bag, just add the cornstarch to a shallow dish, then the tofu cubes and toss to coat.
  • If you don’t eat soy, you could use cauliflower instead. I’ve seen some recipes online, but I’ve never tried it myself. Tamari or soy sauce can be replaced by coconut aminos.
  • For an oil-free version of this recipe, bake the tofu at 350ºF or 180ºC until golden brown.
  • Feel free to use any type of vinegar, starch or sugar you have on hand.
  • The amount of sodium is not accurate, as you’re going to discard part of the tamari or soy sauce of the marinade.

*Recipe taken from simpleveganblog.com

Believe me, I’m not trying to convert you all, but I want to know if it’s really possible to enjoy all the dishes I love as a Vegan option. In order to switch over permanently, I have to feel confident that I have supplementary dishes that tastes just as good, or even better than the real deal. I’m just being truthful when it comes to the question, “To be, or not to be Vegan?” Let me know how well your dish turned out, or if you have a favourite Asian-inspired Vegan dish that you would like to share. I am all in for that! Until next time, happy Tuesday everyone!

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