Saturday, October 8, 2011

NOT Sesame Chicken -- Crispy TOFU with Broccoli and Sesame Sauce

Every time I see sesame chicken, I think of my sweet nephews.  They love it, and so does my family.  They love the crunch and the sweet sauce.  It's really a great dish and something I've tried and tried to "vegan up" for a long time.  I've messed with this sauce recipe for months trying to duplicate what we have at restaurants, and I think I've finally come pretty close.

This last week, my family went to our favorite local restaurant, The Mandarin.  On a whim I asked our waitress if the cook might consider making sesame chicken with tofu instead of meat.  She thought about it a while and then scratched some notes on her little order pad.  And what showed up at our table was SUPER YUMMY!  We loved it and it inspired me to try it again here at home.  Made it last night and not one drop was left.  As a matter of fact, they dug in so quickly I didn't even get a picture.  I will try it again and post a pic when I can.  Give it a try!

Clean and cut one head broccoli into large florets. Steam broccoli for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Crispy tofu:
Oil for frying
One block firm or extra-firm tofu cut into bite size squares or triangles, drained on a paper towel
1/2 c. corn starch
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. white pepper
Mix the ginger and pepper in the cornstarch and coat tofu pieces well with mixture. Heat enough oil in a fry pan or wok to come halfway up the chunks of tofu.  Fry tofu in hot oil for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towels.

3 T. Honey or Agave Nectar
2 T. Sugar (white or brown)
2 T. Ketchup
1 T. Vinegar (white, apple or rice)
1 T. Soy Sauce
1/2 t. Sesame Oil
1/4-1/2 t. chili sauce (optional, to taste)
Mix everything together in small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Let boil 2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling on top.
1-2 green onions (optional, sliced at an angle for garnish)

Plate tofu and broccoli and drizzle with sauce.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cut green onions.

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