This simple recipe for General Tso Tofu is a plant based version of my General Tso Chicken. My family likes that recipe so I wanted a similar experience including flavor and texture. This meat free recipe gives a similar taste and by freezing, pressing and frying the tofu we can get a nice texture. Its not the same as chicken but it has a nice chew.
For flavor the most important thing is the sauce. Since the fried tofu will soak up lots of liquid we need 1/2 cup vegetable stock. 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce to provide a bit of molasses flavor and a dark color. 1 Tablespoon soy sauce to provide a bit of saltiness. 1/2 Tablespoon hoisin sauce, provides a bit of a licorice flavor. 1 teaspoon black vinegar, if you do not have it use balsamic vinegar. 1 teaspoon raw sugar. 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Put all of this in a bowl mix and have it ready when your cooking.
Vegetables / aromatics for the dish 2 cloves of roughly minced garlic. 1/2 Tablespoon roughly minced ginger. 2 stalks of chopped green onion. 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (I sued a red one). 4 or 5 dried red chili peppers / sriracha (optional). On the day I made the video I was cooking for someone who does not like spicy so I left them out. All of these go in at the same time so I put them all on the same plate and have them ready in the cooking area.
To give a chewy texture to the tofu takes some planning ahead. When you get the tofu home place it in the freezer. Yep still in the plastic with the water. It needs a few hours to freeze all the way thru. After that defrost it. I place mine the the refrigerator for about 2 days. Its not ready to be pressed. For pressing I place the tofu between two cutting boards and put a gallon of water on top of the cutting boards. Leave for at least one hour.
After the water is out of the tofu cut it into 3/4 inch squares. Lightly salt the tofu then add 1 Tablespoon of corn starch and toss. Let the tofu sit while heating up 1/4 inch of cooking oil in your pan. I like using peanut oil but use any oil that you like. If you do not want to fry the tofu you can bake the tofu without cornstarch. For info on how to bake the tofu read A Tofu Recipe that does not suck.
For it to be a real stir fry all of the cooking should be done in a wok but since we are not cooking meat and only softening a few veggies that is not necessary for this recipe. On my gas stove a round bottom wok is great fro frying but since this apartment has an electric stove I will use a small pot for frying. Also will be using a flat no stick pan to bring everything together.
First fry the tofu on medium heat until it forms a crust on all sides. To save oil I used a 1/4 inch of oil but to save time you could deep fry them. This step can be done ahead of time. To the nonstick pan on medium heat add 1/2 Tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot add the vegetables / aromatics. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to cook the ginger and garlic. Add the sauce and bring to a boil. After the sauce comes to a boil add the tofu and keep tossing until the tofu soaks up most of the sauce. It is now ready to serve.