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chinese orange tofu and broccoli recipe–better and cheaper than the takeout stuff

June 15, 2009

Anyone who knows me knows I gotta get my weekly (bi-weekly?) fix of Chinese food.  The Americanized stuff, that is.  Now, authentic Chinese cuisine is equally as delicious, but that’s another topic for another day.

While Americanized Chinese is the cheapest food you can find outside of the McDonald’s dollar menu, you certainly make up for it with questionable ingredients (meow), heavy oil use, poor nutrition, etc.  Rolling up my sleeves I created this delicious and nutritious Chinese orange tofu and broccoli recipe that’ll give any Chinese takeout joint a run for its money.  Bonus points as no cats or other domesticated animals were harmed in the making of this recipe.


Soy sauce.  Naturally brewed, please.

Zest and juice of one medium sized orange (I like navel as they don’t have any seeds)

5 TBS water

2 cloves of minced garlic

A half inch nub of minced ginger

2 tsp Chinese red chili sauce or red pepper flakes (optional but recommended)

Chinese hot chili sauce

Chinese hot chili sauce -use if you can find

2 tsp sugar or agave nectar

1 package of firm or extra firm tofu

Florets from one head of broccoli

1 TBS vegetable oil


Chinese five spice powder –a potent, tasty mixture of spices used in Chinese cuisine (optional but recommended)

Directions, broccoli:

Steam the broccoli until desired tenderness.  Set aside.

Directions, orange sauce:

Add and mix 3 TBS soy sauce, the zest and orange juice, water, garlic, ginger, Chinese red chilis/red pepper flakes, sugar, and 1.5 TBS of cornstarch to an easy pour dish.  Taste for seasoning, etc.  Set aside.

Chinese orange tofu and broccoli sauce

Chinese orange tofu and broccoli sauce

Directions, tofu:

Whenever cooking tofu I follow these four steps:

  1. Drain.  Tofu is around 50% water (or something like that) and if you don’t drain it well it’s not going to crisp up.  So, pour off all the water in the package, place the uncut tofu between paper towels, and weigh everything down with a can or the like.  Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours.  After draining cut into cubes or triangles.

    Draining the tofu. Don't let the neighbors see.

    Draining the tofu. Don't let the neighbors see.

  2. Marinate:  To bring some flavor to the party drizzle just a bit of soy sauce and five spice powder to the sliced tofu.

    Marinating the tofu

    Marinating the tofu

  3. Cornstarch:  When ready to cook coat the sliced tofu in a thin layer of cornstarch –this will help facilitate a nice, crispy texture.
  4. Nonstick:  Unless you’re looking for a mess, headache, and lackluster meal only cook tofu in a nonstick pan.

Directions, actual cooking

Add the vegetable oil to a NON STICK pan over medium high heat.  Once hot add the cornstarch coated tofu (see above) and cook for 4-7 minutes per side, or until brown and crispy.  NOTE:  Separate any tofu pieces that stick together.

Brown n crisp tofu

Brown n crisp tofu

Add the steamed broccoli to the pan.

MIX the orange sauce and add to the pan, shut off the heat, and cook until the sauce thickens and everything is evenly coated (should happen very quickly).

Total price: $5.00 (not including ordinary household items like soy sauce, sugar, etc.)

Serve with:

Brown rice, steamed dumplings, and Tsingtao.

Finished product -worth the effort

Finished product -well worth the effort

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2009 3:03 pm

    That looks amazing! I’m making this tomorrow.

  2. February 20, 2012 4:53 pm

    Similar to the Lazy Dog Cafe wok tofu w/orange, broccoli & water chestnuts.

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