General Tso tofu is most favorite vegan Chinese take-out. This easy-to-make vegan tofu stir fry is very satisfying and healthier than the takeout version. It’s a perfect mid-week dinner that can be made in under 30 minutes.
General Tso’s tofu stir fry
This sweet, slightly spicy fried tofu is stirred in a killer sauce which is believed to be invented by General Tso. The sauce is sweet, salty, with slight kick and has a wonderful flavor from ginger and garlic. This is vegan version of the famous General Tso’s chicken – one of the most popular Chinese takeout in America.
Think of those late-night Chinese takeout’s after a long day’s work when you want to cuddle to your couch, watch tv and have your late-night dinner. It’s comfort food. It’s time to make your favorite Chinese take-out and make it easily at home.
If you love Chinese food, you can’t miss out on this ridiculously easy-to-make General Tso’s Tofu. And for all those non-vegan readers you must try this delicious and satisfying General Tso’s chicken recipe. Try it and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
General Tso’s is NOT an authentic Chinese dish. If you are interested to know more about the popular take-out dish, read below. Don’t care about the history of the dish? Just scroll past the below brief introduction!
The dish is named after Zuo Zontang (TsoTsung-t’ang) a military leader from Qing’s dynasty. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo states in her book The Chinese Kitchen that the dish originates from a simple Hunan chicken dish and that the reference to “Zongtang“.. The dish or its variants are known by a number of names, including Governor Tso’s chicken, General Tao’s Chicken, General Gao’s / Gau’s chicken, General Mao’s chicken, General Tsao’s chicken, General Tong’s chicken, General Tang’s chicken, General Cho’s chicken, General Chai’s chicken, General Joe’s Chicken, T.S.O. Chicken, General Ching’s chicken, General Jong’s Chicken, House Chicken, or simply General’s Chicken – Info source – Wikipedia!
What is General Tso tofu
It’s crispy, fried tofu in a flavorful sauce that is not too spicy and not too sweet. This is vegan lovers’ delight, the popular General Tso’s chicken gets a vegan to makeover by replacing meat with tofu.
For vegetarian options you can easily replace tofu with cauliflower or even baby potatoes and create amazing General Tso’s vegetarian dish. This General Tso’s sauce magic. It turns the otherwise bland and flavorless tofu into flavor bursting tofu stir fry kind of dish
This plant based tofu dish is spicy, sweet, salty and crunchy. A flavorful healthy and delicious alternative of the popular meat based General Tso’s Chicken.
What goes in General Tso’s sauce
It’s one of the amazing stir fry sauces you’ll make using few basic ingredients.
- Red chili sauce
- Dark and light soy sauce
- Rice-wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar
- Hoisin sauce
- Corn starch
- Brown sugar or white sugar
- Vegetable stock
Please check your sauce labels to see if there are any animal products in them. Also, there is no guarantee that General Tso Tofu ordered in the restaurant will be vegan as most restaurants might use fish sauce or chicken stock during preparation. So if you are particular about vegan, it’s always better to try it at home.
How to make General Tso tofu
To make the sauce, whisk garlic, ginger, red chili sauce, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce, half of the light soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar in a bowl.
If using block tofu, make sure you have the firm tofu. Cut into 1” cubes. Put tofu in zip lock bag.
Pour rice wine vinegar and remaining light soy sauce into the bag, lock the bag and gently shake well to coat tofu pieces in the sauce. Let it rest for 10 to 30 minutes.
Drain out excess sauce into another bowl. Do not waste this. We can add this sauce back into the stir fry sauce while cooking.
Add corn starch, and coat tofu pieces well in the starch.
Toss to ensure all tofu cubes are coated well in corn starch
Heat oil in pan. Sesame oil, peanut oil, canola oil are best choices for stir fry. Use one of them.
Into the hot oil, add tofu pieces and fry until golden brown. Turn over tofu and fry until golden brown on all sides. Do not crowd the pan. Layer tofu in single layer. Do in batches if you have to.
Remove fried tofu onto a plate.
Pour off some of the oil from the pan (if too much is left over). Add dried red chilies.
Pour in the prepared sauce. Stir constantly and cook for a minute or two. Pour the left over sauce from the tofu marinade as well.
Throw in the scallions. Stir well.
Add in fried golden brown tofu cubes. Toss until every tofu piece is covered evenly in sauce.
Remove the pan from heat.
Serve this slightly sweet, slightly spicy, slightly salty, slightly crunchy General Tso Tofu over jasmine rice (or quinoa for lighter healthy option) garnished with green onions, sesame seeds.
More quick and easy delicious stir-fry recipes-
- Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry
- Shrimp Snowpeas Stir Fry
- Cantonese Style Chicken Chowmein
- Cantonese Chicken with Mushrooms
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📋General Tso’s Tofu
- 16 ounce extra firm tofu cubed
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil to fry tofu
- 4 whole dried red chilies (or use ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili flakes)
- ½ cup scallions
- 6 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon red chili sauce (adjust as per taste preference)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (vegan)
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon rice-wine vinegar (or use apple cider vinegar)
- 1 ½ teaspoon brown sugar (or white granular sugar)
- ½ cup vegetable stock (add more stock if needed to get desired consistency of sauce)
- ¼ cup green onions
- 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- To make the sauce, whisk garlic, ginger, red chili sauce, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar in a bowl.
- If using block tofu, make sure to use extra-firm tofu. Cut into 1” cubes. Put tofu in zip lock bag.
- Pour rice wine vinegar, light soy sauce into the bag, lock the bag and gently shake well to coat tofu pieces in the sauce. Let it rest for 10 minutes, preferably overnight.
- Drain out excess sauce into another bowl. Do not waste this. We can add this sauce back into the stir fry sauce while cooking.
- Add corn starch, and coat tofu pieces well in the starch. Toss well until all tofu cubes are coated well in corn starch.
- Heat oil in a pan. Sesame oil, peanut oil, canola oil are the best choices for stir fry. Use one of them.
- Into the hot oil, add tofu pieces and fry until golden brown. Turn over tofu and fry until golden brown on all sides. Do not crowd the pan. Layer tofu in single layer. Do in batches if you have to.
- Remove fried tofu onto a plate.
- Pour off some of the oil from the pan (if too much is left over). Add dried red chilies.
- Pour in the prepared sauce. Stir constantly and cook for a minute or two. Pour the left over sauce from the tofu marinade as well.
- Stir in scallions. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in fried golden brown tofu cubes. Toss until every tofu piece is covered evenly in the sauce. Cook on simmer for a few minutes, coat tofu well in the sauce.
- Note: is sauce thickens adjust the consistency by adding one or two tablespoons of vegetable stock or as required. You need to have thick pourable consistency of the sauce and have enough sauce to serve it with rice.
- Remove the pan from heat.
- Serve this slightly sweet, slightly spicy, slightly salty, slightly crunchy General Tso Tofu over jasmine rice (or quinoa for lighter healthy option) garnished with green onions, sesame seeds.
Comments & Reviews
This looks so good! I love making my own Orange Chicken with tofu! This General Tso version looks and sounds marvelous.
Jenni LeBaron says
This looks really tasty. I don’t think I’d even miss the meat with that sticky sauce! This is a great vegetarian alternative to traditional general tsos.
Denay DeGuzman says
OMGoodness, your images are stunning! You have my mouth watering with delight! I can hardly wait to pick up the ingredients and make General Tsos Tofu tonight!
Many years ago the owner of a local Chiese restaurant told me that half of the dishes we think are authentic Chinese food are not. It really surprised me, but did help explain why sometimes a restaurant might not have something I’d expected to see because I saw it elsewhere.
Veena Azmanov says
I love TSO chicken and we love Tofu so this is definitely a dish we would enjoy very much. My kids would eat this and not complain about chicken. Looks yum
Marisa Franca says
This certainly is a delicious variation for a meatless meal. We like tofu and I don’t know why we don’t use it in more dishes than Hot and Sour Soup. It looks like it’s loaded with flavor and yet it would be low in fat and calories. — I’m trying to watch out for both. And I believe I could sub out the tofu with chicken if I felt like the other version.
Your photos are beautiful and this dish looks delicious! That sauce looks amazing 😀
Claudia Lamascolo says
there is nothing better in flavors than this I would have never thought to use tofu. I bet this is an awesome addition to flavor it