Spicy Orange Sesame Tofu

After you try this Spicy Orange Sesame Tofu recipe, you may never feel the need to go to Panda Express ever again. Yes, it’s that good. Let me know if I’m right after you make it.

To get an even meatier texture, try freezing the block of tofu and then thawing it twice (freeze and defrost, then freeze and defrost a second time) and your tofu will take on a texture more similar to chicken. This can be done with the tofu still in its packaging.

I can’t wait to hear what you think once you try this recipe!

Spicy Orange Sesame Tofu

For the tofu:
  • 1, 16 oz. block super firm tofu, broken into 1 inch pieces
For the breading:
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 inch piece ginger, minced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek or sriracha
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Order of Operations

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Drain tofu and press out as much liquid from the block as you can. Then use your hands to break tofu into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a large Tupperware with a lid, or ziplock bag, combine the following ingredients:
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  4. Add tofu pieces to the container with the cornstarch mixture and seal well. Gently shake until they are evenly coated.
  5. Transfer the tofu pieces to the baking sheet, making sure that none of the pieces touch. 
  6. Bake the tofu for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. 
  7. While tofu is baking, chop 3 green onions, and mince 6 cloves of garlic and a 1-inch piece of ginger. Set aside.
  8. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together:
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • ¼  cup maple syrup 
    • ¼  cup soy sauce 
    • 3 tbsp rice vinegar 
    • ½  tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chopped green onion (save about 1 tablespoon for garnish), the minced garlic and ginger, and ½ teaspoon red chili flakes. Sauté for about one minute, until very fragrant. 
  2. Stir in the sauce mixture and raise heat to medium-high. Let cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently until sauce has thickened and has a sticky, gravy-like consistency. Remove from heat.
  3. Once the tofu is done baking, remove from the oven and add to the thickened sauce in the skillet. Toss gently to coat thoroughly in sauce. 
  4. Garnish with red chili flakes and sesame seeds and serve over your favorite whole grain.

Grocery Shopping Checklist

  • Super firm tofu, 1, 16 oz. block
  • Green onion, 3 large
  • Garlic, 6 cloves
  • Ginger, 1 inch piece 
  • Orange juice, 8 oz
  • Maple syrup, ¼ cup
  • Soy sauce (sub tamari for gluten-free), ¼ cup
  • Rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons
  • Toasted sesame oil, ½ tablespoon
  • Cornstarch, 5 tablespoons
  • Sesame seeds, optional – for garnish
  • Avocado oil

Dried Herbs and Spices 

  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Red chili flakes (aka crushed red pepper)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Equipment needed for this class:

  • Cutting board & sharp knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large tupperware with lid or gallon-sized ziplock bag
  • Small mixing bowl & fork (for sauce)
  • 1 large baking sheets + silicone mat or parchment paper
  • Large skillet & mixing spoon