Wednesday, January 12, 2011

General Tao Tofu

My tofu recipe marathon continues as I try to use up the extra tofu sitting in my fridge. The only question....... what to make in order to elevate our tasteless rubbery friend to new heights and knock your socks off? In fact, I literally did that to my poor husband who found the recipe a bit too spicy for his liking but still delicious. In the mood for something Asian flavoured, I decided to adapt Ricardo's (Food Network Canada celebrity chef) recipe for General Tao chicken wings for my purpose. It is a dish that I made in the past, using less than the recommended sambal oelek to accommodate more delicate palates.  What had sold me on his recipe was the fact that the chicken wings were baked and not fried. However in altering the main ingredient used, I decided to throw caution to the wind by frying the tofu in a cornstarch/flour mixture. In spite of my husband's complaints regarding the spiciness of the dish, I think the recipe turned out amazingly delicious with just the right amount of heat. Just ask my favourite neighbours who got a plate of the General Tao tofu.
Suggestions: The recipe serves four but can be reduced by using less tofu but using the same amount of sauce. This will give you a more generous coating for the tofu. 
Do reduce the amount of sambal oelek (chili sauce) to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon for a less spicy dish.
To simplify the recipe I used my trusty Cuisinart to chop the garlic and ginger. I then added the remaining ingredients indicated to blend.

20 ounces firm tofu (2 blocks) chopped into 1 inch squares
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 eggs
grape seed oil or vegetable oil for frying

 Blend the cornstarch and flour in a bowl and dredge the tofu pieces in the mixture. Transfer to a plate
 In a bowl slightly beat 2 eggs. Dip the floured tofu pieces in the beaten eggs
Remove the tofu pieces from the egg mixture and dredge a second time in the cornstarch/ flour mixture

Heat the oil and fry the tofu pieces until golden

Transfer the cooked tofu onto paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Set aside while preparing the General Tao sauce

3 garlic gloves finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger finely chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sambal oelek(Chinese chili sauce)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar
1 thinly sliced green onion for garnish

In a bowl, whisk the cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons water, fresh ginger, garlic, sambal oelek and paprika. Set aside.

If using a processor drop in 3 garlic cloves and about 2" piece of fresh ginger and chop.  
Add the  cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons water, fresh ginger, garlic, sambal oelek and paprika and pulse to blend. Set aside.

In a large skillet bring 3 tablespoons of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil. Do not stir while it is cooking.
Cook until the mixture turns golden
Pour the sauce mixture into the skillet 

Stir and simmer until a syrup consistency. If  the consistency is too thick add a little water(a tablespoon or two) to the sauce.

Toss in the tofu making sure that the pieces are covered with the sauce

Serve with basmati rice and garnish with sliced green onions.


  1. I am afraid I am not going to side with your husband here ;) I adore the spiciness here as well as all of the other flavors, and it's tofu :)

  2. Tofu dish is always my fav. Just want to try the sauce of this mouth watering.

    Happy to follow your blog to see what's on your dinner table...

  3. this dish sounds so delicious i have to try it out. thank you for sharing this recipe.

  4. I’m fortunate!

    Not only to be Anna’s neighbour, but that the dish was too spicy for her husband.

    It is absolutely delicious!

    Your taste buds will dance around in joy should you try it.

    Thanks Anna!

  5. Thanks Alisha for siding with me. I will without doubt bug my husband about this vote in my favour.

  6. Zoe, Thanks so much for the support. I just visited your blog and signed up as a follower. Looking forward to sharing future posts.

  7. blackbookkitchendiaries, Thanks so much. The recipe is a keeper.

  8. Dear James..... Are you ever in big trouble!!! Ron has threatened to track you down for leaving the comment. We both had a good chuckle. That's two votes in my favour. Thanks so much for the virtual visit.

  9. Anna-This is the most amazing tofu recipe that I am so thrilled about, because I love General Tao Chicken, and did not even dream you could substitute it for tofu, and I'm not a vegetarian, but I happen to like to make recipes with tofu, since it's so healthy.
    It is picture-perfect beautiful, and the presentation is outstanding, and sound so yummy!

  10. Excellent! I love General Tao tofu and have been looking for a recipe (sporadically) for ages. This one sounds and looks fantastic. I suspect it may be cooked up tonight. I also have a block of tofu that needs consuming.

  11. Anna, I have been wondering about this recipe! Thank you for sharing your tofu take on it, now I might give it a shot. I'll just tone down the spice because like your hubby, I'm sensitive to heat but am growing to love it. Nicely done!

  12. I love cooking with tofu and I love Gernal Taos chicken! I need to try this recipe as soon as I go out and get all the ingredients :) Love it!

  13. Amanda, it's so nice to have a fellow Montreal blogger visit the site. Glad you enjoyed the recipe and hope to see more of you on the blog. Thanks once again for dropping by.

  14. Susie, I've come to the conclusion that you really can't go wrong with Ricardo's recipe. This is another great one worth trying with or without meat. Thanks for dropping in.

  15. Evan,I'm sure you're not going to be disappointed. Let me know how it turns out. Have a great day.

  16. Elisabeth, that makes two of use. Although not a vegetarian,I too love coming up with recipes for tofu. I think you will really enjoy this one.

  17. Anna, I'd be on your side, it doesn't sound too spicy at all. I need to make this for my husband, he loves tofu, plus he need to eat less meat. Have a great weekend.

  18. Gina, thanks and may I suggest using less tofu for a thicker coating of the General Tao sauce. Hope you enjoy the dish.

  19. Anna this seriously looks so amazing and delicious. I feel like taking out of the screen and put one in my mouth...ahahha..thanks for sharing. Definitely trying this out!

  20. This tofu dish looks amazing! I might be able to get my family to eat it. :)

  21. Anna!!!!! You're amazing!!! General Tao is the only thing I miss as a Vegetarian, you rock!!!
    Olivia xxxxx

  22. Busy Nest, thanks for the visit and taking the time to comment. I think this is the recipe that convince anyone that tofu can be tasty.

  23. What an awesome comment! Thanks so much Olivia,you just made my day. Now that's one recipe I will have to make when you visit. Have a great week-end!

  24. Anna, you have outdone yourself. :-)) I am a fan of tofu and this American Chinese dish looks terrific!

  25. Thanks do much Angie. It really turned out to be delicious. However the next time I will use less tofu to have a little extra sauce. Still not bad for an old Italian girl.

  26. Very interesting and new dish to me, looks delicious!

  27. Dimah, General Tao chicken is quite popular in most Chinese restaurants here.I simply adapted it to tofu.

  28. I tried this recipe and found it to be delicious (but a tad too warm for my sensitive palate)
    Keep up the great work!

    A secret admirer...