Food Sense

Recipe: Lauren’s General Tsao’s Tofu


Yesterday, Lauren told us how she went veg in junior high, how she approaches cooking, and how she handles Thanksgiving with her non-veg extended family.

On cooking at home for herself and her non-vegetarian husband, she said:

I try to make things that he likes that are vegetarian. He likes to order General Tsao’s chicken at Chinese restaurants, and so over the years, I’ve perfected my General Tsao’s tofu recipe, which he loves.

It’s a good challenge for me to find things I can cook for us both, so that he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out. I personally never feel like I’m missing out, like, “Oh, I wish I could go eat a hamburger.” So, I don’t want him to feel that way, either.

Today, she shares that recipe.

Cornstarch makes the tofu crunchy on the outside, while absorbing the sweet and savory sauce, and keeping it soft on the inside. Served over rice, this dish is best with some steamed broccoli, (which I forgot to pick up at the grocery store!) for vivid green crunch and contrast.

General Tsao's Tofu

by Lauren K.

imagePhoto by JSL

  • Serves 4
  • About 30 minutes


  • 1 Cup, Brown Rice, cooked
  • 1 Cup, Broccoli Florets, steamed
  • 1 Package, Extra Firm Tofu
  • 3/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp., Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup, Peanut Oil
  • 1 Cup, Vegetable Stock
  • 4 Tbsp., Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp., Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp., Rice Vinegar
  • 3 Scallions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste


  1. Heat peanut oil in a pan, over medium heat.
  2. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Drench tofu cubes in the cornstarch.
  4. Pan-fry the tofu in the peanut oil until coating has become crunchy. (Approximately five minutes, turning tofu occasionally.)
  5. Transfer tofu cubes onto plate covered with paper towel, to remove excess oil.
  6. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together vegetable stock, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, scallions, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, and 1 tbsp. of cornstarch. Bring to a boil, and continue to whisk frequently.
  7. Once sauce has thickened, lower heat.
  8. Add tofu to the sauce, and stir gently to coat tofu.
  9. Serve immediately over rice, with steamed broccoli.


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