Vegan Tofu Kangjung (General Tso’s Tofu) Recipe
Out of all the dishes that I cook, this is Sunnie’s favorite. She describes it as “so frickin’ awesome”, so you can’t ask for a better endorsement than that. Seriously, I spent years tinkering with this recipe. As a bonus, this dish can actually be considered both Korean and Chinese – Korean Tofu Kangjung (Kanjung means crunchy dish) and Chinese General Tso’s Tofu!
Sunnie loves this dish as it reminds her of all the yummy spicy Korean fried rice cakes or Korean fried chicken snacks she used to have when she was growing up in South Korea.
Vegan Tofu Kangjung (General Tso’s Tofu) Recipe!
1 16-19 ounce package of extra-firm tofu (frozen, then thawed)
1/3 cup corn starch (or more if needed)
1 cup of steamed broccoli ( if desired)
1 Tbs finely minced or shredded ginger (see note on ginger by picture below)
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 Tbs white wine
4 Tbs vegan sugar or agave syrup
1 cup water
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1Tbs & 1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 Tbs water
- Press the tofu to drain the water from it (freezing the tofu beforehand gives it a chewier texture and really makes a difference). To press the tofu, place it between two absorbent towels on a cutting board. Put several heavy books on top and let sit for 15 minutes to half an hour, minimum, up to two hours. The longer, the better! The key is to push out the water without breaking the tofu. If you’re in a hurry, you can get away with squeezing the water out with your hands (only if you’ve frozen it beforehand), just be careful not to break it.
- Slice the tofu into 1″ by 1″ cubes.
- Put the tofu in batches in a bag or container with a lid, add the corn starch and shake to coat. Add more corn starch if needed.
- Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat and fry tofu in batches until crisp and slightly brown, turning to cook both sides. I usually can get away with a couple of Tbs of oil to do the frying if the pan is small enough, so you don’t have to deep fry; although, you certainly can. Just be sure to use enough oil so that it doesn’t stick to the pan and the level is high enough to cover half of each tofu cube.
- Cut broccoli into bite sizes and steam (if desired).
- Add 1 cup of water and all of the the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch and water mixture to a large pan, stir to dissolve the sugar, bring to a boil over high heat and cook for several minutes. If desired, you can first saute the garlic, ginger, and red pepper in a tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes before adding the other ingredients.
- Add the cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce and continue to cook, stirring. When the sauce thickens enough to be syrupy remove from heat. If the sauce is too runny, combine a little more cornstarch and water and add to the sauce. When sauce has thickened enough, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the fried tofu to the sauce and stir and flip to coat (if desired, you can add the broccoli too).
- Serve with brown rice and the steamed broccoli on the side (if desired)!
* NOTE: if you’re looking for a lower fat version of these, skip the corn starch, lightly spray the tofu with canola oil and bake the tofu in an oven preheated to 450 F for around 20 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t burn. It won’t be quite as crispy, but you cut out the fat from the oil.
Fry the tofu in batches and remove to a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Cook the garlic and ginger in the sauce before adding cornstarch mixture. One tip to make sure that you always have ginger handy is to place it in your freezer, and then just use a zester or micro-plane to shred the frozen ginger when you’re ready to use it! You want the ginger pieces very small so that it flavors the sauce but you don’t bite into pieces of it.
The sauce will thicken after you add the cornstarch mixture.
Remember to remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool slightly so that it does not make the tofu soggy when you coat it.
With brown rice and steamed broccoli, this is a delicious treat of a meal. This is a go-to dish for me when I have guests over and often surprises people who aren’t really tofu fans by showing them what a great texture it can have when prepared this way.