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Chinese Takeout Tofu

Sticky, savory, and sweet, just like Chinese takeout except...HEALTHY
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, healthy, plant based, vegan
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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!

Notes

I highly recommend freezing your tofu ahead. The water in the tofu forms crystals and tunnels that remain behind when thawed. This gives the tofu a firmer and more meaty texture that is just so good! I now keep a package in the freezer at all times and when I use it, just replace with the new package. If you didn't freeze ahead, consider cooking for a slightly longer time to make sure your result is on the firmer side. 
Keyword chinese, healthy, plant based, vegan