If you don’t like take-out, go ahead and skip to another recipe. I’m just being honest and I don’t want to waste anyones time. However, if you can’t live without take-out, you’ve come to the right spot. Sticky Orange Tofu. Let’s do this already.
I am a sucker for take-out. I love Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, all of it. The problem with a lot of that though is that it’s mostly deep fried, full of oil, sodium, and added sugars. Because of this, we use this type of food as special occasion food. Most people go out and have a fancy meal planned when there is a special occasion. What we like to do is grab some take out, pop a bottle of wine, and hang out on the couch together. For Valentine’s Day, you’ll see us with some containers full of the best local thai food accompanied by a big ole’ bottle of vino. It’s how we like do it and it’s a heck of a lot more economical than spending $100 on meal.
Since we use take-out as special occasion food, I wanted to make something that we could have more regularly if we so desired. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not the healthiest dish ever. However, it is a lot healthier relative to what you get from most take-out spots. I’ll tell you it’s not deep fried. It’s also not full of sodium or added oils. There is a solid amount of sugar in the sauce, though. That is what makes it ‘sticky’ and deliciously sweet. Just roll with it, okay? Realistically, you can reduce the amount of sugar to start. Go ahead and give it a taste and add more if you want additional sweetness. Just remember you can always add more but you cannot take it away.
How about we move onto the recipe already. Grab a block of extra firm tofu. Not the kind that is packed in water. That stuff takes FOREVER to press out and then it’s still too wet. Grab a clean dish towel and wrap the tofu tightly in that. Set it on a plate and then top it with something heavy. Let that hang out for about 10-15 minutes while you get everything else ready.
In a shallow bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat and once hot, add the oil. Once the tofu has been pressed, cube it, and toss it around in the cornstarch mixture. Then, add it to the hot pan. You will flip the tofu piece by piece until all the sides are crispy. It should take about 20-25 minutes total for all sides to get done.
While the tofu is cooking. Take all the ingredients for the orange sauce, except for the cornstarch and water and add it to a sauce pan.
Bring this mixture to a simmer and once simmering, combine the water and the cornstarch in a small bowl and mix until incorporated. Pour this mixture into the orange sauce and watch it thicken over the heat. Once thick, remove from the heat and set aside.
When the tofu is finished, add it to a bowl and then pour over the orange sauce. You may not need to use all of it. Just use enough so that all pieces are thoroughly coated.
Plate this goodness over a grain of your choice and serve with a vegetable.
I hope you all love this recipe. As always, feel free to play with the sauce a bit to get it how you want it. For extra crunch and flavor, I topped mine with some green onions and black sesame seeds.
If you make this be sure to tag me on social media @plantiful_grub on Instagram and Facebook. Enjoy!