This is a vegan take on ginger beef. It’s not a fake beef; it’s using tofu. I didn’t expect the same texture of beef when replacing it with tofu. That’s fine though, because the real key to this dish is in the sauce. And that, my friends, is amazing.
(Random Disclaimer: Amazing but not really healthy. Fried tofu, sweet ginger sauce, over white rice. Yeah probably not my healthiest dish. But every once in a while, a treat like this is welcomed.)
I have made this a couple times now, with different types of tofu, and cut in different ways because I thought maybe it should sort of look like ginger beef strips. I changed my mind this last time I made it.
Here are your tofu options:
Use firm tofu, press it, and slice it into strips then fry it in the deep-fryer. This will have a chewier texture – perhaps one might call it … meatier. This method of frying it was a hit with the meat-eaters I tested the recipe with a couple weeks back.
Use medium tofu, sliced into strips, gently lay it into the deep-fryer basket (medium tofu is very soft and delicate), then fry it. The tofu will be light and airy in some spots but will crisp up quite a lot. It won’t be chewy like the firm tofu but it will be really crunchy if you’re into that texture. Also was acceptable to those I tested it out on.
Use medium tofu, cut into cubes, then fry it in the deep-fryer. The tofu will be softer and have a smooth texture on the inside. The outside – when browned like shown below – will have a nice crunch to it still. The cubes should be light and airy inside and crunchy on the outside.
My favorite is the last. It’s the easiest. And I like the texture of the tofu the best here.
Doesn’t that texture look amazing? It’s like what you’d get from the restaurants. So, I’m pretty proud of myself right now. And it’s so easy to fry tofu guys. We have a deep-fryer for things like this, falafels, homemade fries, and pakora. If you don’t have a deep-fryer you can likely find fried tofu chunks in the same area as fresh tofu. I’d throw it on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven to help warm it through and crisp it up a bit. (I feel I need to state the obvious – it won’t be the same as frying it fresh yourself.)
Okay so enough about the tofu. I had said the main star of this dish was the sauce. So let’s get right down to it. It’s a super simple sauce. Just a few ingredients, really.
The great thing about this sauce is it sort of soaks up into the fried tofu cubes once it’s all mixed together. It really is an amazing thing. The tofu cubes don’t get soggy or anything, but just pull in enough of that gingery saucy yumminess to soften any extra crispy bits slightly.
(Oh and by the way, the sort of hair-like thing at the bottom left of this picture is not actually a hair. I checked after taking the photo. It does resemble a Sophie hair quite a bit. But no, it’s actually a bit of that fibrous part of ginger that sometimes happens when you grate it. If you don’t believe me, that’s okay too. Dog hair (or my hair, for that matter) in food in this household is not an unusual sight.)
- 2 packages medium tofu, drained
- Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
- 1⅓ cups grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
- 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped (about 6 stalks)
- ½ cup fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Soy Seasoning (or other gluten-free soy sauce)
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons white wine
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ - 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375°F.
- Cut each cake of tofu into 1 inch cubes. Gently place into fryer basket and lower into hot oil. Cover deep-fryer and let fry about 10 minutes until cubes are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Saute grated carrot, chopped green onion, ginger and garlic for about 5 minutes until carrot begins to soften.
- Add Bragg's, apple cider vinegar, white wine, sesame oil, sugar and chili flakes.
- Stir to dissolve sugar and allow mixture to simmer for another 8-10 minutes.
- Add in fried tofu cubes to coat with the mixture.
- Serve hot over rice.