Friday, December 14, 2012

Chloe's Kitchen: Crispy Orange Tofu

Orange Tofu
Chloe's Kitchen, which I've blogged about before, has become one of my favorite vegan cookbooks. Her recipes are simple enough to pull together on a weeknight after a long day at work, but still manage to be full of flavor. We've made a handful of dishes from the cookbook, and have yet to come across one that we haven't liked... so consider that a recommendation if you are looking for a gift for a vegan on your list.

What you see above is what she calls "Orange You Glad I Made Crispy Tofu?"... which... well... nobody buys cookbooks for the jokes, right? It's essentially just cubes of pressed tofu coated in corn starch that are deep fried and covered in an orange sauce. You know, orange chicken but with tofu.

Note: The only thing I've really changed about the recipe is to try to clarify how you should deal with the orange peel. The pith of an orange is quite bitter so you need to be careful with how you zest it. You can  either use a zester tool (or microplane) or use a vegetable peeler to get pieces that you trim of pith before slicing thinly. The later will get you vastly more orange peel, so you might only need to do it on a 1/4 to 1/2  of an orange while the former will likely require an entire orange. The cookbook instructions say to just cut the peel of 1/4 of an orange into 1/4" strips with no instructions about the pith... which could lead to some bitter bites of tofu if you don't know any better.

I should also note that you probably want to double this recipe if you want any leftovers. Chloe seems to portion things for birds or small animals.

Fried Tofu Cubes

Crispy Orange Tofu

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • Zest from an orange (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Canola oil for frying tofu
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice

Directions

  1. Press your tofu: Put it between too plates with some weight (cans, cookbooks, etc) on top. Dump off accumulated water every 5 minutes or so over the course of 20-30 minutes.Cut the tofu into 1/2" cubes and set aside.
  2. Mix orange juice, orange zest, agave syrup, soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, and ground coriander in a small bowl.
  3. Combine cornstarch and salt in a small bowl and then toss in the tofu cubes. Remove the coated cubes while shaking off the excess cornstarch.
  4. Heat canola oil in a large skillet, so that oil is about 1/4 or 1/2 inch high. When oil is heated drop tofu cubes in oil and fry until golden, flip throughout until all sides are crisp. Remove to a plate with layered paper towels.
  5. In another skillet heated on medium high. Cook fried tofu and orange juice mixture until the liquid is thick like a syrup. (about 5 minutes).
  6. Mix in the cilantro and serve over rice.