Vegetarian Chili

Air Fried Orange Tofu

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A simple Asian-inspired dish that is healthy, full of flavor, gluten-free, and so delicious!

One of the most challenging parts about going gluten-free is giving up certain foods. For many, making the switch from wheat pasta and pizza to gluten-free is difficult. For me, it was giving up specific cuisines, like Chinese food. I used to love Chinese food, but going gluten-free made it nearly impossible to eat at a Chinese restaurant since so many dishes call for flour. The only restaurant where I could find gluten-free items was P.F. Chang’s, and I think we all agree that while their food is good, it’s not very authentic.

Going gluten-free also made me realize that most Chinese food isn’t very healthy. I found that if I wanted healthy, gluten-free Chinese-inspired food, I needed to make it myself. Lately, I’ve been craving orange chicken. This Air Fryer Orange Tofu is my take on a healthy, gluten-free version of orange chicken. And wow, did it turn out better than I ever could have imagined it!

The Tofu

Switching out tofu for chicken is an excellent alternative if you’re vegetarian or just trying to cut back on the amount of meat you eat. If you’ve ever cooked with tofu, you know that it can be a little temperamental. The first time I cooked with tofu, it fell apart, and I ended up with a tofu scramble. Since then, I’ve perfected my method for making the best tofu!

First things first, always make sure you buy the extra firm tofu. This consistency helps create the crunchy texture that we want from this dish. Then, drain your tofu and carefully remove it from its container. Next, wrap it in three to four paper towels and place it on a plate. Place something heavy like a book (I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it works) on top of the tofu. Placing something heavy on top of the tofu helps drain any excess moisture. Wait 10 minutes, then cut your tofu into 1″ thick cubes. Once you have your cubes, set the tofu to the side.

Making the Batter

To make crunchy tofu that doesn’t dry out, you need to batter it. The batter will get deliciously crispy while the tofu stays just moist enough. The batter consists of flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. If you want a little heat, try adding cayenne pepper to that mixture! Then, dip the tofu in an egg mixture before adding it to the air fryer.

Air Frying the Tofu

Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes at 350 degrees, then line with parchment paper. Trust me, lining it with parchment paper makes the clean up so much easier! Add your tofu to the air fryer and cook for 20 minutes, tossing halfway. Once done, the tofu should be golden and have a nice crunch to it. If you want it to be extra crispy, cook for 30 minutes instead of 20.

Making the Orange Sauce

Now for the main event, the sauce! This orange sauce is the key to this dish and is one of the tastiest sauces I’ve ever made. The important note here is that once the sauce thickens, you need to keep stirring it. So, what is this famous orange sauce made of? This delicious sauce is made with orange juice, cane sugar, rice wine vinegar, tamari, diced ginger, garlic cloves, red chili flakes, two orange slices, and the zest from one orange. It takes about 20 minutes to thicken up, but once the sauce thickens, toss with the crispy tofu and serve!

What to Serve with the Orange Tofu

I like to enjoy my crunchy orange tofu with fluffy jasmine rice. My trick to the best jasmine rice calls for cooking the rice with coconut milk instead of water. Not only does this add so much more flavor to the dish, but it makes the rice much fluffier. Just remember to wash your rice first!

I like to add chopped green onions and Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s for toppings. Feel free to add sesame seeds or crunchy onions on top too. Or, just top with more orange sauce!

My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish and the ooey-gooey orange sauce. This recipe is perfect for those nights when you crave Chinese food and want to eat a little healthier. Not only does it have all the deliciousness of comfort food, but you’ll feel good eating it! Now, that’s a win-win.

Air Fried Orange Tofu

Recipe by adminCourse: Vegetarian Chili
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal

Ingredients

  • For the Tofu
  • 1 block extra firm tofu

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 eggs, whisked

  • For the Orange Sauce
  • 3/4 cup orange juice

  • 2 orange slices

  • Zest from 1 large orange

  • 1/4 cup cane sugar

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons tamari

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, diced

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

  • For the Tofu
  • Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350 degrees
  • Drain and carefully remove your tofu, then wrap in 3-4 paper towels
  • Place something heavy, such as a book, on top of the tofu to drain the excess moisture for 10 minutes
  • After 10 minutes, cut the tofu into 1″ thick cubes and set to the side
  • To make the batter, combine the cornstarch, flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow pie pan
  • In a small bowl, whisk together two eggs
  • Next, toss the cubed tofu in the flour mixture and coat thoroughly
  • Then, dip the tofu in the egg mixture and set on a piece of parchment paper
  • Once all of the tofu is on the parchment paper, place it inside of the air fryer
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway
  • After it’s reached the desired crispiness, set to the side in a large bowl
  • For the Orange Sauce
  • In a small pot, combine the orange juice, orange slices, orange zest, and cane sugar
  • Next, add the rice wine vinegar, tamari, diced ginger, minced garlic, and red chili flakes
  • Bring to a boil, then turn to medium-low heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes
  • Drain the sauce in a colander, then add the sauce back to the pot
  • Stir in the cornstarch on medium-low heat for 5 minutes until it thickens
  • Once the sauce thickens, pour over the tofu in the bowl and toss to thoroughly coat
  • Serve warm with jasmine rice and enjoy!

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