I have never liked tofu until recently. The tofu that I have tasted so far have been either too soft and crumbly or too hard and rubbery. But few weeks back I visited Brewery Bhavana, a popular restaurant here in Raleigh and I tasted their General Tso’s Tofu. I was transformed. It was pretty simple with just tofu but it had the perfect texture (I think it was fried) and some delicious sweet and spicy sauce. I wanted to recreate something similar and started browsing various recipes online. I made few attempts at home and discovered that Tofu isn’t all that bad if you cook it right. The key is making sure you drain the water out of the tofu well and cooking it (I prefer pan frying or baking it) until they are nice and crispy, not too hard or soft. I tried using the various sauces I usually have at home and I ended up with a surprisingly delicious hot and sweet tofu. I added some nut butter for some nuttiness and creaminess and it worked really well. I also added some vegetables for the little one, who is still not all that fond of tofu herself. So some broccoli and carrots for her, I served it with some brown rice. They are super easy to prepare and tastes even better the next day. So here goes the recipe –
For the hot and sweet sauce:
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 garlic chopped finely
- 1 inch piece ginger chopped finely
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp chilli vinegar
- 1 tbsp thai red chilli sauce or any chilli sauce of your choice
- 1 tbsp maggi hot and sweet sauce (the secret ingredient!!)
- 1 tbsp almond butter / peanut butter ( I used almond butter)
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp corn starch
For the tofu:
- I packet extra firm tofu cubed (I used already cubed tofu)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (use any sweetener of your choice)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 4 to 5 spring onions (scallions) chopped. Keep the white and green part separate
- 1 cup brocolli florets separated
- 2 to 3 carrots cut
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- salt as needed
Pre heat oven to 375 F.
Drain the water out of tofu and wrap it in an absorbent towel and place something heavy on top of it to drain off the excess moisture.
Now marinade the tofu in the ingredients mentioned above (maple syrup, chilli sauce, soy sauce, rice flour and corn starch). Let it sit for sometime until you get the other things prepped.
Get the vegetables prepped and mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl. Stir the sauce well and make sure the corn starch is dissolved well.
Bake the tofu for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 F. If you prefer to pan fry it, add it to a hot skillet with a tbsp of oil and pan fry it until they are nice and crispy on all sides. Set it aside.
Heat a skillet, add 1 tbsp sesame oil and add when hot, add the white part of the spring onions and saute for few seconds. Now add the vegetables and saute for a couple of minute. Add the sauce to the pan and let it cook for a minute.
Now add the baked / pan fried tofu to the sauce and mix everything well until the tofu and veggies are coated in the sweet and sticky sauce. You will not need salt as the sauce and soy will be salty enough. But if you think it needs some, add some salt as needed. Garnish with the green part of the spring onions and serve with rice / noodles!
Note: Use whatever sauce you have at hand. I usually have a bottle of maggi hot and sweet sauce at home, so used it for this dish. You can use any spicy sauce instead of it.