A couple of weeks ago my mum, a fellow vegan, sent me a picture of her crispy fried tofu and I was thrown back to the days of crispy chicken dishes from Chinese restaurants. You know the kind that is tender in the middle, then crispy and then a glorious mash-up of sauce and batter on the outside- yum! This was always one of my favourite take-aways and so I went on a pinterest spree trying to find a good recipe to make Crispy Orange Tofu. As you will probably gather as this blog progresses, I am terrible at following recipes. Mostly because when I do, they are always missing something for my taste. That being said, here is my take on “Crispy” Orange Tofu.
What you’ll need:
For the Tofu:
- Tofu – love the Cauldron tofu for this recipe
- 2 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce
- 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
- The juice of 2 oranges
- 4 Tbsp Gram/Chickpea flour
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Fresh cracked black pepper
For the rice:
- 2 cups Brown rice
- 5-6 cups water
- 2 tbsp vegetable stock powder
- 1/2 cup peas
For the Orange Sauce:
- 3 yellow onions – sliced finely
- 3 finger chillies – deseeded and chopped finely (you can reduce the quantity or use a milder chilli, or omit them completely if you aren’t a fan of spice)
- 6 cloves of garlic (this is coming from a garlic lover, adjust accordingly)
- The juice of 3 oranges
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
Marinate the tofu:
First of all – press your tofu! I just use a chopping board, clean dishtowel and some heavy books for about an hour, but you can get actual made for purpose tofu presses on amazon like this one – Tofu Press Amazon . I’ve also heard about freezing tofu for a better texture but have yet to try this – let me know if you have! Once the tofu is sufficiently pressed you are going to need to marinate the tofu. So throw 4tbsp tamari (or soy sauce), 1tbsp garlic powder and the juice of 2 oranges into a tupperware. I love glass tupperware for how versatile and long lasting they are, also less plastic is better for you and our world! Win-win!
Then chop the tofu up into bite-sized pieces – I cut mine into triangles ’cause it looks nice! Chuck the tofu in on top of the mixture, seal, and shake. Then you’d want to leave this in the fridge for a couple of hours. Overnight would be best but 2 hours minimum. Try to remember and go and give it a shake every so often.
While the tofu is marinating, or about an hour before you plan to eat, you can move on to the rice and the sauce – this is what I do but you could make the tofu ahead of time if you’d like.
My favourite rice recipe:
Yes, a rice recipe, inside a tofu recipe! First of all – do yourself a favour and get a rice cooker, life saver! Rice was my cooking nemesis until I got one. So much so that I would only use boil-in-the-bag or those microwave packets that are laden with oil – but no more. As minor as it seems, soaking and rinsing your rice well definitely makes it much fluffier, so do yourself a favour and don’t skip this! I personally love stickier rice so I always add a bit more than the recommended volume of water.
I tend to make 2 cups dry rice at a time and the rice cooker people advise you use 4 cups of water for this – not me, oh no! I use 5 – 6 cups of water, then I go mad altogether and chuck in some stock powder and peas and turn on the rice cooker and let it do it’s thing!
The Orange Sauce:
Start this like almost every recipe for anything ever and simmer the onions, garlic and chilli in a pan – I water fry everything to save on oil calories but you can use oil if you’d like!
You can adjust the chilli and garlic to your own preferences – I like it with a good kick of both. Once these are translucent you can add in the juice of 3 oranges and about 1/3 of a cup rice vinegar.
I threw in a diced yellow pepper and let this simmer while I got on with the next step in the tofu.
Back to the Tofu:
Once the tofu has been soaking for at least 2 hours, you can prepare the dredge in another tupperware which would be able to fit all the tofu too.
This part is also pretty simple; chuck 4 tbsp gram (chickpea) flour, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1tsp cayenne pepper, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper into said tupperware. Once the tofu has marinated for at least 2 hours, pop it in to the dredging tupperware, seal, and shake.
I know this is probably some kind of culinary crime to coat food in this lazy way, but it works really well, and I think more people should do it! Anyway, once all the tofu is nicely coated, go ahead and lay it out on a baking sheet (try to switch to reusable baking mats rather than tin foil and parchment paper where you can- I love these ones from amazon- Baking Sheets Amazon ).
Cook the tofu in the oven at 180c(fan) for 20-30 mins until crispy.
When the tofu is ready, mix 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water (add more of each until this forms a paste) then add this mix to the sauce and mix well over a medium heat until the sauce thickens.
Then you can add the tofu to the sauce and coat well. All that is left is to assemble the dish. I served mine with the rice and some steamed broccoli and carrot, and of course and little flourish of spring onion – just to be fancy, enjoy!
Let me know if you try this recipe by commenting down below and tagging me on Instagram! If you have any suggestions on ways you improved this recipe or your own little additions, please share! Also feel free to share/pin this recipe on Pinterest!