“Creating food is a therapeutic process. It’s a way for me to unwind and slow down in this fast-paced world. To see my family & friends enjoy what I create is worth all the effort.” — Melissa Delos Reyes
Ola! I’m Melissa or Mel, the smol lady behind Eats Meru on Facebook and Instagram. I am a social media associate by profession and I freelance in photography and graphic design. Ever since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed cooking, experimenting with food, and following recipes!
I created Eats Meru pre-pandemic to share my food adventures at first. Everything changed when the Covid-19 virus struck. No one was prepared. Businesses were greatly affected, especially the small/start-up local brands. Since then, I’ve converted my goal for Eats Meru as a platform where I can help local MSMEs to share their products especially now that everyone is doing their best to make a living.
For this post in the Auguest series, I chose the color orange. I’ll be sharing a healthy and plant-based version of the famous Orange Chicken that uses tofu as the protein of the dish; it’s sticky, orange-y, tangy, crispy, and tasty too! You can easily make this dish as most of the ingredients can be found in your fridge and pantry. It is also perfect for those busy weeknights as it comes together in 20 minutes.
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 4
For the crispy tofu
- 2 packs firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch size cubes
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp rice flour
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
For the orange sauce
- 1 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 medium-sized oranges)
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp white or rice vinegar
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp cornstarch (2 tbsp for a thicker sauce)
- 1 tsp chilli, minced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, minced (or 1 tbsp grated)
- Spring onion (for garnishing)
- Blanched broccoli
- Crispy Tofu: In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, rice flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well and coat the tofu in the cornstarch mixture.
- In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil (enough to cover the tofu) over medium-high. Carefully drop the coated cubed tofu in the oil and fry until slightly golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pot; work in batches if needed.
- Once done, use a slotted spoon to remove the tofu and transfer to a wire rack or strainer to cool down.
- Orange Sauce: Combine all the ingredients for the orange sauce, except water and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and bring to a boil.
- Mix the cornstarch in the water together to create a slurry and gradually stir it into the simmering sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring well for even thickening. Taste for salt, sweetness, flavour, etc. and adjust as you go.
- Turn the heat off and add the crispy tofu. Toss to evenly coat them with the sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the spring onions. Serve immediately while hot, with rice and blanched broccoli (or any of your favorite greens for that matter). Enjoy!
This Crispy Orange Tofu can be modified for an even healthier option. For this recipe, the tofu is deep-fried in oil, but if you prefer, and have a bit more time on your hands, you can bake the tofu instead. Additionally, you can consider serving it with some cauliflower rice and other greens of your choice.
Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Melissa Delos Reyes (@eatsmeru)
– Melissa Delos Reyes