Monday, November 8, 2010

General Tso's Tofu (or chicken)

We don’t remember the last time we had General Tso’s (or General Tsau’s or General Tau’s or General Gau’s or General Gao’s) chicken, but we know it was yummy and extraordinarily unhealthy. We can’t vouch for the accuracy of the General Tso’s taste in this dish, but it’s really tasty (and a hell of a lot healthier than the original deep-fried version).

(Adapted from the Canyon Ranch Demo Kitchen cookbook)

3 tbsp low-sodium gluten-free tamari sauce
6 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce*
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed (or 1 lb. skinless chicken breast, cubed)
¾ cup organic chicken stock
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp canola oil
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 zucchini, diced

1. Combine tamari, vinegar, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Mix well.

2. Place the tofu or chicken in a shallow baking dish or pie plate and combine with ½ cup of the sauce. If using chicken, marinate for 1 hour. If you’re using tofu, 15 minutes’ll do.

3. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir well with a fork.

4. Add the chicken stock and the cornstarch-water concoction to the rest of the sauce. Set aside.

5. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry tofu or chicken until starting to brown (and until chicken is cooked through). Remove from wok and set aside.

6. Re-oil the wok, if necessary, and sauté the red peppers and zucchini until tender-crisp.

7. Add the tofu or chicken and the remaining sauce and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.

*Most store-bought hoisin sauce has wheat in it so we made our own (following a Canyon Ranch recipe):
2 tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch chili flakes
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp low-sodium gluten-free tamari sauce
5 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp water
1/3 cup black beans

1. Combine oil, garlic and chili flakes in a skillet over medium heat. Saute until garlic turns golden brown.

2. Add brown sugar to the skillet and cook until the sugar caramelizes.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet and cook over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Set aside until cool.

4. Transfer sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. (Can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week.)

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