Consider this tofu recipe the vegetarian cousin of Chinese lemon chicken. Using both orange and lemon juice gives the glaze an extra-citrusy, puckery flavor. And it’s this aggressive tang makes this dish addictive—doubly so when paired with extra-crunchy tofu. Serve with freshly cooked rice for a satisfying meat-free meal.
- 420g (1 block) firm tofu, frozen & thawed
- neutral oil, for frying
- 1 ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 cup orange juice
- juice from 1 lemon
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp water, divided
- 3-4 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- sesame seeds
- green onions
Drain tofu: Wrap frozen tofu in a kitchen towel. Place both hands on top of the tofu and gently press down to drain it of its water. Once dry, tear the tofu block using your hands into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Prepare for frying: Heat oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot to 350°F.
Prepare breading: While the oil is heating, whisk together all the dry breading ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine all the wet batter ingredients. Whisk together until smooth and well incorporated.
Coat tofu: Toss tofu pieces in the dry breading until lightly coated. Transfer tofu to the wet batter, stirring to coat. Return tofu to the dry breading for a final dredge, tossing until each piece has an even layer of breading.
Fry tofu: Once oil is hot, fry tofu in batches until crispy and golden brown. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a metal rack or paper towel-lined plate.
Make glaze: Transfer frying oil to a heatproof container and set aside. In the same pan, combine orange and lemon juices, ¼ cup water, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Thicken glaze: Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Add slurry to the glaze, stirring until dissolved. Cook until glaze has thickened.
Coat tofu: Scoop out about ½ cup glaze and transfer to a bowl. Add fried tofu and sesame seeds to the remaining glaze in the pan. Toss and stir until tofu is evenly glazed, 1–2 minutes.
Serve: Transfer glazed tofu to a serving platter. Garnish with more sesame seeds if desired. Top with green onions and serve while hot and crunchy.
This recipe makes about ¾ cup of orange-lemon glaze. You only need about ⅓ cup to coat your tofu. Store the extra glaze, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Tearing the tofu with your hands creates a rough and craggy surface area that turns crunchy when fried. It also gives it a meat-like appearance.