There are few foods more comforting than Chinese takeout. But that stuff's loaded with grease, MSG, and nasty white ricey-ness (yes, I made that word up). And while such foods taste AMAZING going down, I always get that icky feeling later, and I spend the rest of the evening wallowing in self-pity and regret. Okay, not really, but things sound so much better when I'm melodramatic.
Anyway, tonight I had all the tastiness of takeout without that unpleasant slit-my-wrists feeling later (okay, now I'm being REALLY melodramatic!). I made Lane Gold's Takeout Orange Tofu from her Vegan Junk Food cookbook:
I've never actually had orange chicken at a Chinese restaurant, but I have had the mock orange beef at New Hong Kong, our local vegan-friendly Chinese place. And this sweet and tangy sauce is spot-on. The tofu is lightly battered and fried and then coated in a thick, sweet sauce.
It was perfect alongside Gold's Takeout Fried Rice:
Made with brown rice instead of white, this is a fried rice you can feel good about. If this is junk food, then call me a healthy junk food vegan!
The publisher of Vegan Junk Food generously allowed me to share the tofu recipe! So here goes, courtesy of VEGAN JUNK FOOD: 225 Sinful Snacks that are Good for the Soul (Adams Media, a division of F+W Media; December 2011) by Lane Gold.
Takeout Orange Tofu
(Reprinted with permission from Adams Media)
1 cup water
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup water
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 16-ounce package firm tofu, drained, cut into 1-inch pieces
Oil for frying
2 green onions, chopped on the diagonal
1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup water, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and ½ cup water. Add to the saucepan. Bring back to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low; cook until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. In a shallow dish, stir together flour, salt, and pepper, then add tofu and stir to coat all pieces in flour mixture.
4. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook the tofu in batches, frying until golden and very crispy on each side. Drain on paper towels.
5. Add tofu to sauce and stir in green onions. Serve immediately.