This scrumptious Chinese-inspired orange tofu is made by smothering crispy pan-fried tofu chunks in a sweet, gingery orange sauce. Serve it with rice and steamed broccoli for a delicious dinner that can be ready in a flash!
Often I find the best source of vegetarian cooking inspiration stuffed into my kitchen junk drawer. That would be a Chinese take-out-menu!
Crispy orange chicken is a dish that I see featured on lots of those menus, so I’m guessing it’s a favorite. I decided to create a vegan version using tofu instead of chicken. As luck would have it, crispy orange tofu turned out to be one of my favorite dishes. It’s really easy to make and incredibly delicious.
Watch out, because these sweet little tofu bites are pretty darn addictive. You may want to make a double batch!
What You’ll Need
- Tofu. I recommend using extra-firm or super-firm tofu for this recipe. Extra-firm tofu will need to be pressed before you start cooking.
- Orange juice. I usually just buy a couple of oranges and juice them myself. This allows me to use the zest from them as well.
- Brown sugar. Be sure to use organic sugar to keep the recipe vegan.
- Soy sauce. Tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted.
- Fresh ginger.
- Orange zest.
- Peanut oil. Any high-heat oil can be substituted.
- Fresh broccoli.
- Sesame seeds.
- Rice. Just about any variety works. I’m a big fan of jasmine rice for this dish.
How to Make Orange Tofu
The following is a summary of the process for making this dish, along with some tips. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post if you’d like to skip to the full recipe!
- To make the sauce, simply simmer orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and orange zest in a pot for a few minutes. To thicken the sauce, mix a bit more orange juice with some cornstarch, then add it to the pot. The sauce should thicken up as it simmers.
- While the sauce simmers, fry your tofu. Dredge bite-sized pieces in cornstarch, then fry them in a small amount of oil in a skillet. Fry the pieces for a few minutes on each side until they’re crispy.
- Tip: Don’t let your tofu pieces touch each other while they fry or they’ll stick together. Consider cooking the tofu in batches, transferring each batch to a paper towel-lined plate to drain between batches.
- Pour the orange sauce over your cooked tofu. Toss everything to coat the tofu in sauce, and cook it for a minute or so, until it’s nice and hot.
- Top your orange tofu with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.
- Serve it with cooked rice and steamed broccoli.
Leftovers & Storeage
This dish is best served right away, as the tofu won’t stay crispy for long. If you do have leftovers, they’ll probably be a bit soggy (but still tasty). Store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! Just use gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.
Possibly. You could try leaving out the cornstarch and simply baking your tofu. Place it on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes on each side at 400°F. You could also try making a reduced oil version by pan-frying your tofu without cornstarch using this method, or baking it using the method from this teriyaki tofu recipe.
Absolutely! Use your favorite steamed or stir-fried veggie, or a mix of them! Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and snap peas would all be great choices.
More Chinese-Inpsired Tofu Recipes
- General Tso’s Tofu
- Kung Pao Tofu
- Pineapple Sweet & Sour Tofu
- Crispy Black Pepper Tofu
- Tofu Stir-Fry with Garlic Sauce
Crispy Orange Tofu
- 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) package extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup orange juice, chilled and divided
- ¼ cup cornstarch, plus more as needed, divided
- ¼ cup organic brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup peanut oil (plus more as needed)
- 3 cups steamed broccoli (2 small crowns or 1 large)
- Salt, to taste
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Cooked rice, for serving
- In small bowl or cup, dissolve 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch in a few tablespoons of orange juice. Set it aside.
- Place the remaining orange juice in a small saucepan, along with brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and orange zest. Stir everything together and place the pot over medium heat.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer, lower the heat, and cook the mixture for about 10 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, coat the bottom of a large skillet generously with oil and place it over medium heat. Give the oil a minute to heat up.
- Place some cornstarch in a small bowl. Add a few tofu cubes and roll them around to evenly coat them with cornstarch.
- Place the tofu cubes in the skillet with the hot oil, repeating the process for as many cubes as you can fit without them touching each other.
- Cook the tofu cubes for about 5 minutes, flip and cook for about 5 minutes more, until crispy.
- Remove the tofu from the skillet and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat the process until all of the tofu is cooked.
- After the sauce has simmered for about 10 minutes, stir in the cornstarch and orange juice mixture. Bring the sauce back up to a simmer and let it cook for about a minute more, until thickened. Remove the pot from heat and season the sauce with salt to taste.
- Return all of the cooked tofu to the skillet and pour the sauce over it. Add the steamed broccoli and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle the tofu and broccoli with sesame seeds and scallions.
- Serve over rice.