Silken tofu is used in this recipe but you may substitute firm or semi-firm tofu. Whichever kind you use, it is essential to press out excess moisture to allow the starch to stick to the surface rather than dissolve in liquid.
During frying, it is the starch that gives better texture to the tofu. So, you want to ensure that a light golden crust has formed on all sides of each tofu cube before scooping them out of the oil.
The sauce is not much different from the sauce of General Tso’s chicken. But because the tofu cubes are tossed in starch and fried without seasoning, to give the dish better flavor, you will need to add more salt in the sauce. How much depends on whether the broth is unseasoned or not.
General Tso’s tofu
- 1 block silken tofu - (the standard size is about 300 grams)
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- cooking oil - for frying
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon grated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon grated ginger
- ¾ cup chicken broth - unseasoned or lightly seasoned
- salt - as needed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Fry the tofu
- Place the block of tofu between stacks of paper towels, weigh down with a plate and leave for ten minutes.
- Cut the tofu into two-inch cubes.
- Place the cubed tofu in a bowl, add the starch and toss gently to coat every inch of the surface.
- Heat enough cooking oil in a wok to reach a depth of at least an inch and a half (more is better).
- Fry the tofu cubes, turning them over for even frying, until a crispy crust forms on the surface.
- Scoop out the tofu and drain on a rack.
Cook the sauce
- In a clean wok or frying pan, stir together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Set the heat to medium and cook the sauce, stirring, until thickened and no longer cloudy.
- Set the heat to medium-low and continue cooking the sauce until reduced and thick enough for a canal to form when you drag a spatula across the bottom of the pan.
- Taste the sauce. Depending on whether the chicken broth is unseasoned or lightly seasoned, you may need to add salt to balance with the sweetness.
Assemble the dish
- Dump the fried tofu cubes into the sauce.
- Toss repeatedly until the tofu cubes have soaked up most of the sauce.
- Garnish with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds before serving.