I had such a fun time meal prepping this week.
REALLY I mean it!
I made only comfort food and I have no regrets about it! This Chinese Takeout Tofu was soooo easy. If you don’t like tofu, I dare you to try this technique and give it a try. The key to amazing tofu is…FREEZING! Yes I know this requires extra planning ahead, but if you can…try to just keep a package of extra firm tofu in the freezer. Let it thaw out in the morning while you’re doing other things…when the time comes to cook the tofu jut drain and press and BAM! Your tofu got a whole new texture upgrade!
The sauce can of course be customized according to your flavor preferences, but I think it comes out pretty close to what I think of when I imagine Chinese takeout. To keep the sodium down, make sure to buy low sodium soy sauce. Also, some rice vinegars have a lot of salt added, so look for one with low salt or swap for white vinegar.
If you want an even more takeout-like experience, brown the tofu in a thin layer of sesame oil (or olive or peanut) before baking. This really amps up the flavor and texture, but it also adds calories, processed ingredients, and fat.
I think baking right off the bat still gives you excellent texture and flavor, so to me that’s the way to go.
I also HIGHLY suggest serving something this savory and flavorful with something more mellow. I made a side of fried brown rice with veggies and a side of steamed bok choy. It did not disappoint!!
Chinese Takeout Tofu
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar can sub white vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 orange cut in half for squeezing
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce use less or more depending on desired level of heat
- 2 tsp corn starch slurry 1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tsp cold water
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds for optional garnish
- 1 tbsp sesame oil can use olive or peanut oil as well
- 1 16oz package extra firm tofu frozen ahead and thawed if possible!!!
- extra corn starch for tofu
- Pre heat oven or air fryer to 375
- Take tofu out of package, drain, wrap in dish towels, and set heavy pan or books on top to press out excess water for 15 min as you prep other ingredients
- In a medium bowl combine soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce (optional for heat and extra depth of flavor), and the juice of one orange (I also use 2 clementines sometimes if I have those lying around instead). Take half of the mixture and place in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Cut the tofu block (or rip for bits that are more “chicken shaped) into bite sized pieces. Marinade the tofu in half the mixture for about 5 minutes. Dust cornstarch on a plate. Take marinated tofu and roll in cornstarch to cover. A sticky, puffy layer will form. Spray a light dusting of cooking spray on the tofu and lace on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper or silicone and bake for 20-25 minutes OR place in air fryer for 10-15 minutes (not on a mesh basket, keep on smooth flat surface). Turn once halfway through. Remove from oven/air fryer when tofu is a medium golden color. The longer you cook, the firmer, dryer, and crispier it will be (deeper gold). For a softer, chewier texture cook for a shorter time (light gold). I prefer my tofu somewhere in between.
- While the tofu is baking, take a large skillet and heat it on a medium heat. When pan is hot, add sesame oil and remaining sauce that was set aside, plus any leftover tofu marinade. Bring to a simmer, then turn heat lower and stir regularly to avoid burning. Add cornstarch slurry to make it thicker. Continue to simmer on low until tofu is ready.
- When tofu is done cooking, add to simmering sauce on stove top. If mixture is too thick, add a little water. If too thin, make another cornstarch slurry.
- Garnish with sesame seeds if you have them! Serve with some fresh steamed vegetables and fried brown rice for a healthy vegan take on Chinese takeout!
Have you tried this recipe? Drop a comment below to let me know what you think! I promise, tofu isn’t as scary as it sounds. You just might find you love it!
Coming soon will be my easy fried rice recipe to accompany it!
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Have a great rest of your week!