Orange chicken was always one of my favorite things to order as takeout from Chinese restaurants, it makes me so happy that I have now created a better, healthier, oil free, and cruelty free version of an old favorite!
When I set out to make this vegan alternative I knew the most important things would be getting the texture right and the sauce perfect. Using firm or extra-firm tofu that has been pressed and drained gives you a good texture that holds up well to the breading and the sauce in this recipe. Using a combination of orange and lemon juice gives the sauce just the right balance of sweet and tart that you look for in an orange sauce. The use of sugar and cornstarch helps to give the sauce that perfect thick consistency that sticks right to the tofu.
For the Tofu:
½ block firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup water + 1/2 Tbsp.
½ Tbsp. sriracha (optional)
½ – 1 cup panko bread crumbs
For the Orange Sauce:
½ cup orange juice or juice from 2 oranges
½ lemon, juiced
½ Tbsp. soy sauce
1 ½ Tbsp. coconut sugar (can sub for brown sugar)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. grated ginger
pinch of onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 420°F.
After tofu has been pressed and drained, break into chunks. Whisk together flour and water to form a liquid batter, add in sriracha. Coat each tofu chunk in flour, water, and sriracha batter and tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess. Coat each battered chunk in panko breadcrumbs and place on a parchment paper lined cookie tray. Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes, flipping the tofu half way through.
While tofu is cooking add orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, coconut sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and onion powder to a small pot. Heat on medium and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl whisk together water and cornstarch to create a “slurry.” Once sauce has begun to boil add in cornstarch slurry while stirring constantly. Cook for about 30 seconds more, the mixture while thicken immediately.
When tofu is complete take out of oven and dip each chunk into orange sauce mixture* and place on a new parchment lined sheet on a cookie tray. Put back in the oven and cook for 10 minutes more flipping each piece half way through.
Serve over steamed rice using the rest of the orange sauce to drizzle over the rice and tofu.
Makes 2 servings.
*Alternately, you could pour the orange sauce over tofu when it comes out of the oven and eat it that way.