Another famous Chinese-American takeout that is vegetarian friendly: Vegan Chinese Sesame Tofu. Not to mention it comes with many variations just by using this sticky, sweet, and sour garlic ginger sauce.
Soy-based ingredients are very versatile and rich in protein. That is why it's commonly used in vegetarian cuisines around the world.
Soy-based foods have been on top of the favorite list in Asian cooking for many years. That said you can't skip the famous vegan Chinese sesame tofu; it is no doubt among top choices for any vegetarians out there.
Benefits of soybeans
According to United Soybean Board, soy proteins is the only plant protein that is equivalent to animal protein.
Both proteins and oil from soybeans are used to make a wide variety of food products such as flour, oil, cheese, and milk.
There's a claim from FDA says that: "Twenty-five grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."
Soy is a rich source of phytochemicals which makes it an ideal ingredient for vegetarian cooking.
Types of tofu
There are two types of tofu: cotton tofu and silken tofu. Cotton tofu is the most famous one and used in this Vegan Chinese Sesame Tofu. Both types are made by using different types of coagulants: calcium sulfate (gypsum), epsom salts, nigari, and sometimes lemon juice.
Silken tofu and its family has a silky smooth surface. These tofu have a custard like texture. Because water still remains in silken tofu structure, it requires extra care and patient while cooking this product.
Cotton tofu is solid and commonly available in block. This traditional tofu comes in three styles: soft, firm and extra firm. For this recipe, I recommend you to use firm tofu because it is solid enough to saute and fry. It also absorbs flavors and marinades pretty well compared to the other 2 styles.
Making of tofu
If you ever wanted to broaden your vegan journey by making your own tofu, then this amazing Asian Tofu: Discover the best, make your own, and cook it at home from Andrea Nguyen is my favorite and would recommend you to have one.
Vegan Chinese sesame tofu's variations and related recipes
The ginger garlic sauce used in this recipe actually is from the original General Tso's chicken. One sauce to rule them all, don't you think?
If you happen to also like cooking with soft, silken tofu, this fusion vegetarian fried soft tofu is the one you should pick.
Want to make tofu pudding (dohua) from scratch? An a to z guide of how to make soybean pudding (usually called dohua) will lead you there.
Not a big fan of toasted sesame seeds? Than go ahead and ditch those seeds, keep everything else, you have such amazing vegan General Tso's Tofu.
Or replace those sesame seeds with orange peel, you'll have Orange tofu, another wonderfully famous Chinese-American takeout dish.
Vegan Chinese Sesame Tofu
Ginger Garlic Sauce
- 4 oz light soy sauce
- 1 oz hoisin sauce
- 3 oz sugar
- 6 oz pineapple juice
- 4 oz water or vegetable stock
- 7 medium piece of ginger smashed
- 7 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- ¼ c water
- 1 block firm tofu cut into bite size
- broccoli as needed, boiled
- cauliflower as needed, boiled
- sesame seeds as needed, lightly toasted
- dry chilies or fresh chilies as needed
- vegetable oil as needed, for frying
For the sauce
- In a double bottom sauce pan, combine all ingredients on medium high heat. Bring to boiling point then reduce the heat immediately to medium-low setting, simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Let ginger and garlic steep in the mixture for an hour. Then strain the liquid and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in a fridge.
- Before turn off the heat, at the slurry in and give the mixture a few stirs. The sauce should coat the back of your spoon perfectly. Let ginger and garlic steep in the mixture for an hour. Then strain the liquid and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in a fridge.
- If the sauce becomes too thick after refrigerating or at any point, add 1 to 2 tbsp of water or pineapple juice to thin it out.
For frying tofu
- In a shallow frying pan, add enough oil and bring it to 350F - 375F. Carefully put in cubes of tofu. Work in small batch. Fry approximately 3-5 minutes for each batch.
- Proceed until all pieces of tofu are done with frying.
For sesame tofu
- In a double bottom sauteed pan on medium high heat, add about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, then add few pieces of fried tofu and chilies. Give the pan a few shakes. Add enough sauce to coat tofu pieces evenly. Turn off the heat.
- Serve sesame tofu immediately with boiled broccoli, cauliflower and steamed rice. Enjoy!