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Missing your takeout favs? Try this vegan crispy orange tofu over a bed of rice!
This recipe for orange tofu is inspired by orange chicken, which apparently originated over 30 years ago from the creator of Panda Express. Who knew?!
The orange sauce in the recipe is perfect balance of sweet, salty, and acidic. I could drink it in a glass and be happy. But of course, it's best tossed with some tofu and enjoyed for lunch or dinner!
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This recipe has two components: the crispy tofu and the orange glaze sauce.
Reminder: The full detailed recipe is in the recipe card below.
Crispy Tofu Ingredients:
- Tofu: This recipe calls for one block of extra firm tofu, pressed.
- Soy sauce: Tossing tofu with soy sauce adds a little flavor so it's not bland.
- Flour and cornstarch: The combination of these creates the crispy outer edges.
- Oil: For pan-frying the tofu.
Tofu Guide: How to Press Tofu
In this resource, you'll learn 2 easy methods.
Orange Sauce Ingredients:
- Orange Juice: I like pulp-free for this recipe.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar.
- Rice Vinegar: This adds some much needed acidity to balance the sugar.
- Cornstarch: The key to a thick sauce.
- Soy sauce: Adds salt and umami.
- Garlic Powder: You can use a minced garlic clove instead.
- Ginger: I use powdered. Again, you can also use fresh ginger.
- Red Pepper Flakes: This adds a little heat to the sauce! Omit if you don't want spice.
Is Orange Juice Vegan?
Some orange juice is fortified with vitamin D. It can either be vitamin D2 or D3. D3 is sometimes derived from animals. If this is a concern of yours, reach for the carton that is labeled "100% orange juice" and avoid the fortified versions.
Full disclosure: This is not something I worry about. The majority of orange juice is totally vegan and nitpicking vitamins would drive me crazy.
How to Make Orange Tofu
The first step to make the best orange chicken tofu is to crisp up some tofu! There are a couple of tricks to getting super crispy tofu. The big one is to press it and press it good. I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to press tofu here. For this recipe, I recommend pressing for at least 1 hour to get as much moisture out as possible.
After pressing, cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes and toss with a little soy to add flavor in. The second trick to crispy tofu is, tossing with both flour and cornstarch. Make sure the tofu is well-coated, then fry it up in a pan with some oil on medium heat. Cook until golden brown.
Set the tofu aside. To keep your tofu crispy, I recommend laying the tofu out onto a wire rack. This will drain any excess oil without making the tofu soggy.
Clean out the pan. Whisk all the sauce ingredients into the pan before heating it back up to medium heat. Stir frequently until the sauce has thickened.
Toss the tofu in the sauce until well-coated and serve over a bed of rice with some veggies on the side.
- Sugar: I don't recommend completely removing the sweetener from this recipe, but you can use an alternative like maple syrup or agave instead. You can also try halving the sugar amount.
- Gluten-free: Omit the flour and replace with equal parts of additional cornstarch for the tofu breading.
- Soy-free: To make a soy-free orange sauce, use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
- Red pepper flakes: If you don't want any heat in the sauce, just leave out this ingredient. You can also substitute with black pepper if you don't have red pepper flakes on hand.
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Meal Prep Directions
Yes, you can totally meal prep orange tofu!
But I'm not going to make false promises: Fried food loses it's crispiness after reheating. The good news is that crispy or not, this tofu is still absolutely delicious the next day.
You have 2 options: Make the recipe as is and store everything in a container together, or store separately and crisp up the tofu again in a pan before tossing with the sauce. Of course, that'll only work if you have access to a stove at lunchtime.
This recipe will store for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
More Tofu Recipes
Here are some must-try tofu recipes:
- Crispy Sesame Tofu
- Glazed Roast Tofu
- Tofu Tacos
- Baked BBQ Tofu
- Tofu Parmesan (like chicken parm, but vegan!)
Easy Crispy Orange Tofu
- 1 (14-ounce) block extra firm tofu pressed
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1-2 tablespoons oil for frying
- Cut pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes.
- Toss tofu with soy sauce, then with flour, corn starch, and garlic powder until coated.
- Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat.
- Add tofu to the pan in a single layer.
- Cook until golden brown (3-5 minutes) then flip and cook again until that side is browned (another 3-5 minutes.)
- Remove tofu from the pan and set aside.
- In the pan used to cook the tofu, whisk all sauce ingredients together until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Bring to a simmer on medium heat, until the sauce is thickened.
- Turn the heat off. Add the tofu into the sauce and toss until well-coated. Serve as desired.