This came about because a lot of my vegan foodie friends were posting on blogs and FB about the delicious dinners they were making for Chinese New Year. This made me A. hungry, and B. inspired, and it just so happened that I had several different glazed tofu recipes bookmarked. Unfortunately, I didn't have all of the necessary ingredients for any one of them, so I decided to just head into the laboratory - um, kitchen - and experiment with what was on hand. And if I say so myself: YUM. This was seriously as good as anything you'll find in a restaurant, with the added virtues of packing a lot less fat and sugar and being much cheaper. Best of all, you don't have to go anywhere to enjoy it: just steam some brown rice, stir fry a few veggies to go alongside, and you can welcome the year of the dragon without ever having to put on pants! Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!
Lemony Glazed Tofu
~ 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
~ 1/2 cup each: vegetable broth, white wine
~ 1/4 cup each: soy sauce, agave syrup
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce, or to taste (I use Sriracha)
~ 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
~ 1 tsp. prepared mustard
~ 2 lbs. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
~ 1/2 cup cornstarch
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, ginger, chili powder
~ Oil for frying
~ 2 tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger
~ 1 cup chopped scallions (about 4 big ones)
~ 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
~ In a bowl or beaker, whisk together the first 6 ingredients (lemon juice through mustard) and set aside.
~ Slice the tofu in half horizontally, then slice into approximately 1/2-inch strips.
~ In a shallow bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, ginger, and chili powder. Add the tofu and toss to coat.
~ In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 cup oil (I used canola), and fry the tofu over medium-high heat until crisp; about 3 minutes each side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and set aside.
~ Discard all but about a tablespoon of the oil, and add the garlic and ginger to the skillet; cook over medium heat for about a minute.
~ Add the scallions and sauté briefly and begin adding the the lemon juice mixture, stirring constantly. Once all the liquid is added, lower the heat and let the sauce cook another twenty minutes or so, until slightly thickened and reduced.
~ Add the reserved, fried tofu to the sauce, flip a few times to coat, and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
~ Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat in a dry skillet for about 2 minutes, until golden but not too brown. Stir the toasted seeds into the tofu mixture, combine thoroughly, and serve hot over short grain brown rice.