You may want to go ahead and double the batch, because boy did my husband and I fight over this one! This super yummy, sweet, and spicy tofu is not only vegan, but it’s gluten free, oil free, refined sugar free, and seriously delicious af. The combo of the chickpea breading and batter makes this so crispy that it’s hard to believe it’s oil free! This is how we made it:
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp date paste or maple syrup
1” piece of ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup chickpea flour
Little extra water
1 package medium tofu (or firm)
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 tbsp rice vinegar
½ cup sparkling water
¼ cup chickpea flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ginger powder
Pinch of cayenne
½ cup chickpea flour
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp almond meal
Green onions for garnish
First, prepare your tofu. I have been super into the Mary’s Test Kitchen method for processing my tofu which is essentially to take a package of medium- firm tofu and place the whole package in the freezer. Once frozen, thaw it. Then freeze it again, then thaw it. Once it’s thawed the second time, squeeze out the water, and you get a super amazing, flaky texture for the tofu. If you do this method, pull apart the tofu into bite size pieces. If you’re using firm tofu, cut it into about 1” cubes.
In a medium bowl, mix together the 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp bragg’s, and 2 tbsp of of rice vinegar. Add the tofu to marinate, and set aside for about 20 minutes.
Next, let’s make the batter. In a small bowl, mix together all of the batter ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.
In another small bowl, mix together the breading ingredients until well blended.
Set up your tofu assembly station with the marinated tofu, batter, breading, and then the tray of your air fryer. If you do not have an air fryer, you can also bake your tofu for longer. I’m not sure how much longer because my husband bestowed me with the gift of oil-less frying for my birthday last year, and I’ve hardly touched my oven since! Pro-tip, if you have an air fryer, I highly recommend buying silicone dumpling basket liners to prevent your food from sticking with no oil or mess!
Dip the tofu into the batter, then cover in breading, then place it in the air fryer basket. You will likely have to work in batches. Once your basket is full, cook the tofu at 370 F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.
While your air fryer is hard at work, let’s put together the orange sauce. In a small saucepan, add the water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, Bragg’s, orange zest, date paste, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
In a small bowl, mix together the ¼ cup of chickpea flour with about ¼ cup of water, or as much as you need to make a pourable paste. Slowly pour the paste into your orange sauce while whisking to make sure there are no lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens, about a few more minutes.
Pour the sauce on the tofu and serve with green onions.