Wednesday, June 06, 2012

General Tso's tofu

May 29, 2012
We've not had a whole lot of kitchen inspiration lately - we've been eating out a lot, I've been working into the evenings on weeknights and we've tended to rely on tried'n'true recipes to use up our vege deliveries. This dish is a rare and welcome foray into my huge collection of bookmarked recipes!

When you're cooking tofu Tso-style it gets dunked in a sweet-salty-sour-spicy marinade, fried in a cornflour batter and then coated in a sauce made from the marinade. While Veggie Mama steams some broccoli on the side, I elected to work some veges into the same wok. I loved the marinade's flavours but found playing around with cornflour a bit weird - it gets really gluey on the tofu, and yet it often came unstuck once I started frying. It sat pretty heavily in my stomach too.

I'm keen to make this again, but I was thinking I might try a lighter cornflour coating like on our black pepper tofu recipe. Then I reread my thoughts on that recipe: "I'd also be tempted to try quickly stir-frying the tofu sans cornflour." Ha. Maybe I'm just not meant to cornflour-fry. But marinate in Tso's favourite condiments I can do, and I'm keen to do it again.

General Tso's tofu
(a recipe from Veggie Mama, who tips her hat to

1 1/3 cups vegetable stock
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons white vinegar
6 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chilli flakes
900g firm tofu, chopped into cubes
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons cornflour
plenty of vegetable oil
1 bunch broccolini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 carrot, chopped into sticks

In a large shallow dish, stir together the stock, soy sauce, sugar, sherry, vinegar, green onions, ginger, garlic and chilli flakes. Drop in the tofu cubes and stir them around to cover them in the marinade. Let them soak up the flavours for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tofu into a large bowl. Pour over the eggs and stir them through to evenly coat the tofu. Sprinkle over 1 1/2 cups cornflour and toss it through the tofu to evenly coats the cubes - I found things got a bit gluey at this point!

Heat a generous amount of oil in a wok or frypan over high heat. Fry the tofu in the oil (in batches if you need to) until golden, then scoop it back out into a clean bowl. Scoop the green onions, ginger and garlic out of the marinade as best you can and fry it in the oil for a few minutes. Add the broccolini and carrot, continuously stirring. After a couple of minutes add the tofu back in and pour over the marinade. 

In a cup, stir together the last 2 tablespoons of cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water to make a paste and pour it over the cooking tofu and veges. Stir everything gently until the sauce is slightly thickened, then kill the heat and spoon the tofu and veges over rice to serve.


  1. Perhaps a mixture of tapioca and corn flour could work? Potentially less sticky... But I'm yet to try it...

    1. Thanks for that idea! I'll keep it in mind for my next floury tofu dish. :-)

  2. Tofu looks good! In regards to shallow-frying, I like coating in a mix of cornflour and rice flour (I have a tofu dish in my blog where I did that). It's a more gentle combination - something to consider, perhaps? But I agree shallow-frying can be a little annoying sometimes, I tend to prefer to just stir-fry instead too!

    1. Thanks, leaf! I'll definitely consider some rice flour for next time, I already have it in the cupboard. :-)

  3. would the cornflour stick better if the tofu was really dry (just wondering because our handyman tells us that the tiles wont stick to the bathroom wall if it is damp - so maybe I am drawing a long bow)

    1. Johanna - ha! A long bow, but a hilarious one.

  4. oh YUM! that looks so delicious! i love chinese flavors:) mmm! thanks for sharing!

  5. I hate cornstarch, too! For sauces, I tend to reduce the volume of the liquid instead of adding cornstarch... and reducing the liquid by simmering if the recipe allows it. I am learning to love Chinese cuisine this way. :)

    1. Welcome, Janet! Thanks for that tip. :-)