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General Tso's Tofu

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I have a huge file saved in my "favorites" of recipes I want to try & another named "tried & true" of ones that are keepers. Night before last I was starving, which is a bad thing to be that hungry & have nothing cooked. I have been wanting to make something like the tofu lettuce wraps from PF Changs, but I didn't have any lettuce. But that thought process made me hungry for Asian food. I was looking through my "to try" file & came across a recipe for General Tso's Tofu on VegWeb.com. (They call it General Tao's Tofu.) I read some of the reviews & decided to give it a shot...with modifications.

First off, I started a pot of brown rice. I decided not to fry the tofu, too messy & I just wanted it to be a little healthier. So I cut extra firm tofu into thin strips & baked them in the oven sprinkled with some garlic powder & white pepper at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, flipped them & cooked an additional 10 minutes. Next I blanched my broccoli. Sean & I have tried so many times to make stir-fry & it never comes out as good as when you order it from a Chinese or Thai restaurant. We have discovered that the secret is to blanch your vegetables & then throw them into the stir-fry just to warm & coat them. I know this is not the method they use in the restaurants, but it works at the Dietrich house! So I brought a pot of water to a boil, threw my broccoli in for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, drained it & immediately put it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Next I sauteed an onion that I had chopped into a large dice; in the same skillet with the onion I made a double batch of the sauce. The changes I made were: I used lite soy sauce; I reduced the sugar by half & the sugar I did use was turbinado, plus I used Stevia to sweeten it to my liking; I didn't have any sherry, so I didn't add it; and I used arrowroot to thicken instead of cornstarch, but I didn't double that, just added a little extra than called for (when you make this substitution you need to use more arrowroot--3 t. arrowroot for every 2 t. cornstarch).

I added the broccoli & tofu & stirred to coat really well & served over brown rice. It was delcious! Sean doesn't love ginger, so he thought it was a bit too ginger-y, (and I don't even think I used the full amount, I was just eyeballing it). But I thought it was fabulous & will be making in often! The addition of cabbage or mushrooms or whatever vegetables you like in your stir-fry would be good, too. However, do note, the only things I added to a DOUBLE recipe of the sauce was a package of tofu, an onion & a head of broccoli, if you add even more vegetables, you will definitely need to triple or quadrouple the sauce. It was a bit spicy, my nose was running, (but I am a whimp when it comes to spicy foods), but you can adjust the crushed red pepper to your taste. Enjoy!

Addendum: I made this again tonight with cabbage & carrots. I didn't have any more fresh ginger, so I used dried & less of it (to make Sean happy) & it turned out great! I ate it over brown rice & loved it...I actually have another little plate in the kitchen right now waiting for me.

I have one question, though...does anyone else find that if you cook more than the smallest serving of brown rice (I think it says it serves 5, it's 1 cup of raw rice), do you find that it gets sticky? If I ever use the chart & make a double batch, the consistency isn't nearly as good as just a single batch. Just wondering if it's just me or if other have the same problem.

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posted by Jamie the Foodie
11:51 AM


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