|Come dine with me|
First off, being of Asian heritage, I like to act all high and mighty and call Panda Express as purely Americanized Chinese food, not real, and catered to the overly sugary, fatty, and processed American palate. But I cannot deny, I like the taste of it when it comes out fresh. It is delicious because it is so sugary and fatty. Panda Express really hit something with their sauces. And, really, I am such an Americanized Asian that I can't pull off the haughty Asian disdain.
Second, I resist because of the fact that Panda Express is really unhealthy for you. The favorite, orange chicken, is purely battered and fried meat, bathed in a sweet sweet sweet salty and tangy sauce. If 5.2 oz is about half a cup, one serving of orange chicken is 420 calories, 21 g of fat, 18 g sugar. Mmm, deep fried sweet chicken...
Asian Orange Tofu
1 block of extra-firm tofu (prep ahead of time, see directions!)
4 Tbs cornstarch
Salt and black pepper
(optional: celery salt)
1/3 cup 100% orange juice
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
2.5 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp key lime juice
1/2 Tbs sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 to 1 Tbs sambal oelek chili paste (to taste)
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
sesame seeds (optional garnish)
1. Tofu prep: drain tofu. Slice into about 8 rectangles and place between paper towels to dry for 30 mins-1hour. Try to get nearly all the liquid out. Then slice into 1/2" cubes.
2. Combine cornstarch, salt, and black pepper in a big bowl, then toss tofu to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium. Add 1 Tbs oil and layer in tofu. Fry one side of tofu until nice and crisp (don't stir or bother much or you'll break up the tofu!). Flip each tofu block to other side and fry other side till crisp. Fry edges if you want too.
3. Dissolve 2 tsp cornstarch with orange juice. Add to tofu in pan, then add rest of sauce ingredients and cook over low till nice and thick and warm.
4. In another pan, saute yellow onion till soft, then add garlic and cook till brown. Mix in with tofu and sauce.
Cilantro Brown Rice
Combine 1 cup brown rice with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer. Cover and let simmer 35-45 minutes until cooked. Fluff with fork. Chop up some cilantro and green onion and mix in. Add in some (key) lime juice if you want.
Add 3/4 cup of rice to a bowl. Add some tofu, sprinkle on sesame seeds. Serve with steamed broccoli, carrots, or other vegetables.