For years my sister’s take out order for Chinese food has always been General Tao’s tofu. At first I guffawed, because no way tofu was gonna taste better than chicken, but then I stole some and grew to realize that I actually liked the texture more than chicken. Especially with the lightly crispy crust. This previous memory was at the back of my mind when I walked past the tofu in the grocery store recently, and for the first time I finally decided to buy some. Although you need significant prep time to make these, they really are very simple, use very few ingredients, and taste just like take out! I enjoyed mine with orange ginger sauce, roasted veggies, and brown rice. You can make these your own with whatever sauce you enjoy!
- extra firm (or firm) tofu
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash pepper
- 1 dash paprika
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable)
- paper towels
- Begin by draining the water from the tofu blocks.
- Cut the tofu blocks into about 1 inch cubes.
- Gently squeeze out each square trying to get as much liquid out as possible but not breaking the tofu.
- Lay paper towels on a cutting board and then place the tofu on top. Cover the tofu with another layer of paper towels and place a heavy cutting board or cookie sheet.
- Once the paper towels are completely wet, replace them. You will have to do this 2-3 times.
- Once the tofu is almost completely dry (I didn’t get it bone dry, but that’s okay).
- In a big ziplock bag add in the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and paprika. Add in the tofu and shake it up. Try to make sure everything gets coated.
- Pour the tofu into a colander to get out any remaining corn starch.
- In a deep walled pan add in the coconut oil and heat to medium heat. Once hot and almost sizzling, add in the tofu gently. You can test if your oil is ready with a tester piece, you want it to start sizzling when you add it to the pan otherwise it will just absorb the oil.
- You may have to cook in 2 batches. Let each piece cook for about 2 minutes on each side until golden and crunchy.
- Once cooked on every side move to a plate covered in a paper towel.
- You can either place the cooked tofu in sauce or drizzle the sauce over the top, either way it will be great. When you want to eat it in the following days, bake or cook it on the skillet again, instead of microwaving.