Broccoli Peanut Sweet and Sour Tofu

I love the writing and photography skills of LoLo over at Vegan Num Num, but every single recipe I had made of hers up until this point just didn’t hit the mark.  That is, until I made this one.

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The possibilities of substitutions to formulate different stir-fries or other lush take-out tastes from this “mother recipe” is really mind blowing.  With this base sauce, choose any plant-based protein really, any veg or veggies, any kind of roasted nut you might have in the cupboard, and serve over any grain you have on hand to create a dish that seems like take out, but is so much more fresh than that neighborhood Thai/Chinese place.

Serves Two

  • 1 tub extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 tsp Ener-g Egg Replacer + 4 tsp water, mixed (vegetarians go ahead and use 2 egg whites and 4 tsp of water for the egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4-1 C peanut or canola oil (depending on your pan size, you want it about half way up the side of the frying pan you have chosen)
  • 1 head of broccoli (or about 2-3 cups worth)
  • 3 T roasted, lightly salted peanuts, chopped (for topping)
  • sesame seeds for garnish (I didn’t have these but they would be delicious)

Sauce

  • 3 1/2 T Seasoned Rice Vinegar (you can eyeball the 1/2 Tbs)
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 T + 2 tsp sugar (white or brown would be fine too)
  • 2 T tamari
  • 1 T Sambal
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder (double this if you use fresh grated ginger)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 T cornstarch + 2 T water

Prep:  if you are going to serve this recipe over a grain, start it well in advance.  This recipe comes together super fast, like it will be done faster than the water boils for your rice.  Clean and cut broccoli into bite sized pieces and steam until al dente.  Set aside.  I prefer crunchy to soggy broccoli any day.

Slice the tofu into triangles or small cubes. Smaller = better for this recipe, since smaller pieces won’t have a tendency to break when you toss them, and they have a bigger surface area to volume ratio.  You are looking for maximum frying surface value.

Toss tofu with the egg replacer/water mixture until coated. Then toss in cornstarch until each piece is coated and dry, adding more cornstarch if needed.  Be sure to gently tap to rid yourself of extra cornstarch.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok.

While oil is heating, mix sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch/water into a small sauce pan and whisk over medium heat until sugar and salt is dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens. If you leave the sauce unattended now it will thicken and burn, so keep an eye on it. When thick, turn off heat and set aside.  Gently fold your broccoli into this sauce concoction.

Place tofu in the hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. You don’t want the tofu to be crowded or the pieces will stick to each other, so fry it in batches if needed. Fry for 3-5 minutes until golden on the bottom, then gently turn and brown the other side.  Remove from oil and place on dry paper towels to rid yourself of the extra oil, you don’t want them to become soggy while waiting for the rest of the parts to come together.

To assemble take broccoli/sauce mix and spoon over the crispy tofu, sprinkle peanuts and/or sesame seeds over top.  Serve immediately, you want that tofu crisp people!

Normally I’d serve over brown rice, but I didn’t heed my own tip at the beginning and started my rice too late for it to participate in this meal.  It was still however, amazing.

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