Today the Sunday Funday group is sharing Chinese recipes for Lunar New Year. Renu of Cook with Renu is hosting.
Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm coordinate this low-stress group; we only participate when we are inspired. As I mentioned, Renu is hosting this week. Here's our lunar new year menu...
Dandan Noodles from Palatable Pastime
General Tso's Tofu from Culinary Cam (you're here)
Ginger Venison with Baby Bok Choy from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Vegan Hot and Sour Soup from Cook with Renu
Vegetable Stir Fry Noodles from Mayuri’s Jikoni
Vegetarian Noodles In Light Soy Sauce from Sneha’s Recipe
General Tso's Tofu
This recipe is typically made with chicken. And despite its appearance on Chinese restaurants' menus all around the world, its authenticity is dubious. Purportedly named for the favorite dish of a nineteenth-century general Tso Tsung-t'ang who led successful military campaigns against various rebel groups, General Tso is one of the most renowned Hunanese historical figures. However, there is no record of any dish being named for him in any texts on Hunanese cuisine.
Still, as it's on almost every Chinese restaurant menu I've ever seen, I ran with a tofu version of the crispy, sweet, and spicy dish. I like to press my tofu before cutting into cubes; I usually express about 1/2 cup of liquid that way and it crisps up better.
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons wine
2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used a rice vinegar)
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil plus more for frying the tofu
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 Tablespoons organic granulated sugar
1 pound tofu (I used firm), pressed to expel extra liquid
2 Tablespoons corn starch, divided
1 pound tofu
3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
1/2 cup sliced onions
1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
handful of dried red chiles
vegetables (I used green beans, green cabbage, and green bell peppers)
Also needed: steamed rice for serving
Place the block of tofu in a plate and compress it something heavy. I usually use a bowl with some potatoes in it! Leave it for at least 10 minutes. Discard the liquid and cut into cubes. Place the tofu cubes in a bowl and toss with 1 Tablespoon corn starch.
Whisk together the soy sauce, wine, vinegar, sesame oil, chicken stock, and sugar. Stir in the onions, garlic, ginger, and red chiles. Let soak for at least 10 minutes. Add the entire mixture to a large skillet and cook until the onions and peppers are softened, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Add in the veggies and cook until just wilted.
In the meantime, fry the tofu. Heat a skillet over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and add enough sesame oil to coat the bottom. Place the tofu cubes in a single layer on the pan and fry until each side takes on a nice golden glow. Set aside.
Spoon some of the cooking liquid from the vegetable pot and whisk it together with another tablespoon of corn starch. Once you have a smooth slurry, stir that back into the veggies and turn the heat up to medium. The sauce will thicken fairly quickly.
Once the sauce is thickened to your desired consistency, toss in the fried tofu cubes. Serve hot with a scoop of steamed rice on the side.
That's a wrap on our lunar new year event. The group will be back next week with made from scratch salad dressings. Stay tuned!