Forget the takeaway – make your own sticky orange tofu instead! Crispy tofu pieces are covered in a sweet and tangy sauce to make this Chinese inspired dish.
Our lemon tofu is one of the most loved recipes here on Vegan on Board, so we knew we had to create this version for all you orange fans out there!
This takeout inspired sticky orange tofu has got a comforting, citrusy sauce with a gentle chilli heat to it. It’s the perfect meal for a cosy night in!
Just look at that sweet and sticky sauce…
Here’s what you’ll need for the tofu cubes:
- Extra firm tofu – if your tofu is only firm, then press it for at least 30 minutes to remove excess water
- Cornstarch (cornflour) – this coats the tofu to make it crispy when cooked
- Salt and pepper – for seasoning the tofu
- And vegetable oil – for frying the tofu cubes in
And for the sticky orange sauce:
- Sesame oil – to add it’s characteristic nutty flavour
- Orange juice – you can use either store bought juice or squeeze your own
- Orange zest – ideally from unwaxed/organic oranges
- Garlic – pressed or finely chopped
- Chili flakes – for a nice bit of heat to the sauce
- Rice vinegar – for some tang
- Soy sauce – Clearspring Organic is our fave. We’re so addicted we get it in 1L bottles! A good quality soy sauce tastes so much better.
- And some more cornstarch to thicken the sauce
Step by step
The full recipe is in the card below, but here’s a quick visual guide to making this yummy orange tofu!
Step 1 – Coat tofu cubes in cornstarch and season with salt and pepper.
Step 2 – In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil until hot. Then add the tofu cubes and fry until light golden brown. Use tongs to turn the cubes over. Set the tofu aside.
Step 3 – Heat the sesame oil, add the finely chopped garlic and chilli flakes and fry for 1 minute.
Step 4 – Add the orange juice, zest, sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar and give it a stir.
Step 5 – Mix the cornstarch and water to make a very smooth slurry, then add it in.
Step 6 – Stir well and continue to cook the sauce until it bubbles up and becomes thick and sticky. Add the tofu back in and mix.
Variations & substitutions
If you don’t have extra firm tofu, press firm tofu for at least 30 minutes to get a firmer texture. To press tofu, wrap it in a clean cloth, and place a board with some weights balanced on top. For an easier time, invest in a handy tofu press like this!
As an alternative to pan frying, the tofu can be baked or air fried.
For a refined sugar free alternative, use the same amount of coconut sugar or approximately ¾ the amount of maple or agave syrup.
As oranges can vary in sweetness, you can always adjust the sauce to taste. Add less sugar, or increase the rice vinegar for a bit more tangy sourness.
Rice vinegar is a typical flavour in Chinese cooking, but if you don’t have it apple cider vinegar is a good substitute.
Serve it with
Enjoy your vegan orange tofu with some rice (our Vegan Egg Fried Rice goes great!) or some noodles.
Veggies wise it goes really well with raw red pepper and al dente greens like broccoli, kale or pak choy. Spring onions (scallions) and raw cucumber or carrot is nice too.
A garnish of toasted sesame seeds and some extra zest is our favourite way to finish the dish.
We hope you like our sticky orange tofu! Check out these other tasty vegan dinner ideas:
This veggie packed Vegan Korma
Our homemade Burmese Tofu + a super yummy dipping sauce
And our Easy Vegan Carbonara that you can make in just 15 minutes!
Sticky Orange Tofu
For the tofu
- 1 pack (300 g) extra firm tofu
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Drain the tofu, pat it dry and cut into cubes.
- In a mixing bowl, coat the tofu cubes in the cornstarch and season with salt and pepper.
- In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil until hot. Then add the tofu cubes and fry until light golden brown. Turn the cubes over with tongs, to cook all sides evenly.
- Set the tofu aside on a plate, so you can make the sauce.
- Heat the sesame oil, then add the finely chopped garlic and chilli flakes and fry for 1 minute.
- Next add the orange juice, zest, sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar and give it a stir.
- Mix the cornstarch and water to make a very smooth slurry, then stir it into the sauce.
- Continue to cook the sauce until it bubbles up and becomes thick and sticky.
- Combine the tofu with the sauce and serve with your choice of veggies and rice or noodles.
- Garnish with some extra orange zest or toasted sesame seeds if desired.