Wow! This recipe really brought me back to my mother’s kitchen. She really loved Chinese take-out and I can remember her making this homemade version at least a few times. This is good back-pocket recipe to make for the vegan-skeptics – I don’t think even the staunchest meat eater would spit out the delicious battered and deep fried tofu bites soaked in this sweet sticky sauce.
- 1 1/2 packages extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp Braggs (or soy sauce)
- 1/2 cup flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2-1 full cup oil (+ 1 tbsp)
- 1 small onion, chopped in 1” pieces
- 3 green peppers, chopped in 1” pieces
- 4 stalks celery, chopped in 1” pieces
- 1-2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 small can pineapple tidbits
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- Cooked rice
Yield: 6 servings
A few hours before you plan to make the meal, remove the tofu from packaging and wrap in a towel and place on a cutting board. Balance another cutting board over the tofu blocks and put something heavy on top (I used my dutch oven). Let sit, pressing.
To get started, cut the pressed tofu into 1” cubes and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, Braggs, flour, salt and pepper to make a batter. Heat oil in heavy skillet making sure it is deep enough to mostly cover your tofu. The oil is ready when a bead of water sizzles when you dropped in. Dip the tofu cubes into the batter and drop gently into the hot oil. Fry slowly until brown. Drain off excess oil. This make take more than 1 batch. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Fry onion until approaching translucent and then add the peppers and celery. Fry for 2-5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock (enough to cover bottom of the pan) and the pineapple from the can. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender crisp.
In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, and 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Whisk until incorporated. Introduce this to the simmering sauce. Add tamari/soy sauce, vinegar and more vegetable stock if needed for saucy consistency. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thick and clear.
Serve rice in a bowl, topped with the fried tofu then cover with sauce and serve.