Back in the day when I use to eat the occasional meat dish, one of the few things I could stand was orange chicken from Panda Express. I loved the sweet and spicy flavor of the sauce. But the meat still grossed me out and I probably picked at it more than I actually ate it. I love Asian cuisine, especially Thai food, and I do try to be authentic with the foods I cook, using fresh ingredients. If you're wanting authentic Chinese food from this recipe, know now that I used a store-bought sauce. When I saw the bottle of Panda Express Orange Sauce at the grocery store, I couldn't resist. I'm so glad I didn't. It is as good as I remember, and Tofu in orange sauce is way better than chicken! But that's a strict vegetarian's opinion. You'll just have to give it a try (or just use chicken if you're chicken)!
Semi-Homemade Orange Tofu and Stir-fry Veggies, serves 2-3:
1 12.3 oz (350 g) package extra-firm tofu
1/4 to 1/2 cup Panda Express Orange Sauce
1/2 a zucchini, sliced
1/2 a yellow summer crookneck squash, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 an onion, sliced (I used red, but also love a sweet for this)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 2 teaspoons dried ground ginger
3 garlic gloves, minced or 2-3 teaspoons dried garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Begin by cutting up the tofu into pieces of desired size. Place them in a ziploc baggie and pour in orange sauce making sure to cover them fully. Let marinate for at least an hour in the fridge. You can do this up to 24 hours in advance.
Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the marianted tofu pieces on the greased baking sheet. Using a pastry/basting brush coat the side that is up with some of the sauce that remained in the baggie. Put the tofu in the oven under low broil. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes on this side, until bubbly. Remove from oven, flip over, and coat with remaining leftover orange sauce. Cook for another ten to fifteen minutes.
* Cooking tofu in the oven will allow you to cook the veggies without too much going on on the stove-top. I prefer the texture of tofu when cooked in the oven, the outside will get a little crunchy but the inside gets super hot and stays real soft. If you'd rather grill your tofu, go for it!
Oh, side note, I of course recommend you have a photobomber in the kitchen with you. And also a mason jar full of beer, that always helps.
While your tofu is cooking in the oven, cut up all the vegetables. Warm up the olive oil in a pan and cook the veggies over medium heat. Once the vegetables are tender and almost completely cooked (after about 8 to 10 minutes), add in the fresh garlic and ginger and continue to cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Season with black pepper and soy sauce, stir well, and cook for a few more minutes to meld the flavors.
Serve tofu and stir-fry veggies over jasmine rice. Or if your weird like me, keep them all separated on your plate.
Enjoy! And have a lovely weekend.