Crispy Orange Tofu

In the interest of shaking things up, I made a tofu dish.  My friend Justin requested a post on how to make tofu crispier, and while this isn’t exactly what he was talking about (he meant pan-fried, like in a stir fry) I thought this pretty, pretty dish was still worth telling people about.  First off, the sauce is DELICIOUS.  You know when you order orange chicken in a Chinese restaurant?  Well this is 40 times tastier than that.  Secondly, I baked the tofu instead of pan fry it, because I didn’t have time to babysit it while it cooked.  That worked just fine, especially when I sprayed the tofu with more oil.  The panko got really crunchy, and because of the flour dredge it didn’t fall off the tofu.  The thing I can compare this to most is a tofu version of chicken tenders.

A couple of notes on cooking with tofu:

1.  DRAIN IT.  To drain tofu, you take it out of the package, wrap it in a triple layer of paper towel, wrap that in a clean, absorbent dish towel and place it on a plate.  Then put something heavy on top of the tofu, like a bowl (or a big bottle of balsamic vinegar, which is what I did).  Let the liquid seep out for 20 minutes, then unwrap and slice it up however you want.

2.  Tofu is tasteless.  People who say they like tofu are really saying “the texture doesn’t totally offend me and I like whatever sauce it happens to be in, also I may  be vegetarian and eat tofu so as to ward off malnutrition”.  Because tofu tastes like nothing and feels like a cross between a marshmallow and a gummy bear, only wet and sort of crumbly.  But it is really good for you, and since it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in, it’s a really good meat substitute.  It’s also cheap, readily available and will keep in the fridge awhile.  The point is: make sure you take the time to marinate it, or season it or whatever, otherwise it’ll taste like nothing.

3.  Tofu comes in different types, like silken (really goopy, good in smoothies) soft (scrambled egg substitute?  I have no idea) and firm and super firm (cubed tofu in stir fries, etc.).  Make sure you buy the right kind.

Crispy Orange Tofu

1 package super firm tofu, drained and chopped into 1-2 inch cubes

3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs.  In my opinion, far superior to regular.)

1 egg

1 tbsp water

1/4 cup flour

dash each of garlic powder, coriander and cinnamon

Orange Sauce

1 cup orange juice (I used fresh squeezed, because I had oranges)

4 tbsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

To assemble the sauce, put all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil.  Let it boil gently for awhile, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, until it reduces.  If it’s still too runny for your taste, whisk in a half a teaspoon of flour, and then cook for another 3-4 minutes.

For the tofu, set up three bowls, one with the flour, one with the panko and the spices, and one with the egg and the water (whisked together).  Spray down a cookie sheet with Pam and set the oven to 375 degrees.  With each chunk of tofu, dredge it in the flour, then the egg mixture, than coat in the panko/spice mixture, and set on the cookie sheet.  Do this for all the tofu.  Spray the tofu again with Pam before you put it in the oven.  Bake it, turning every 10 minutes or so, for about 30 minutes, or until the tofu is golden brown.

Serve it on a perfect white plate with some orange slices next to it and attractive wood in the background.

– Cat

looks good, huh? almost as good as chicken.



February 3, 2011 · 1:01 pm

8 responses to “Crispy Orange Tofu

  1. Look wonderful
    Will have to try that soon.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  2. ericascime

    This recipe looks and sounds incredible! Orange sauce is always a winner.

    • catsue

      Thanks! I don’t always love tofu, so I was happy to see the panko really stick to it, it made it nice and crunchy. The orange sauce was really good too. Would be good in a stir fry, on chicken, on pork, on fish. Tasty. Thanks for coming by! – Cat

  3. Mom

    Picture is fantastic!!! May try this weekend 😉

  4. April P.

    I made this last night and it was delish! I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I had to improvise. I had red chili paste and used a very small bit (1/2 tsp?) of it instead of the sweet thai chili sauce. I also didn’t have sesame oil and only about 3/4 cup of OJ… it was still AMAZING!

    Jeremy walked in as I was cooking and curiously looked over my shoulder to see what I was making. When he saw the tofu he was super bummed. However, he went on to eat two plates- and so did i- so yums!!!

    • catsue

      Hi April- That’s fantastic! I improvise based on what I have on hand too – which explains why my fridge is always full of jars and bottles of condiments and things. Glad you liked the recipe!! – Cat

  5. Pingback: Crispy Orange Tofu | Dinner Intervention

  6. Adriana Lugo

    I made this today for my family. We frequently use tofu for stir fry, but have never asked for seconds till today! Thanks for this delicious recipe.

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