Spicy Orange-Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

I’m not what you would call a ‘Tofu’ kind of gal. It’s the last thing I would pull off the shelf at the supermarket if I needed to come up with dinner ‘on the fly’.

I mean seriously… like the last thing.

So why it suddenly occurred to me to use tofu in my next udon noodle recipe… I cannot tell you. But I can tell you this: I like tofu. I do. I DO. And I never thought I’d say that.

Tofu is weird. It’s soggy. It’s squishy. It’s flavorless. Sorry… but it is.

My approach to tofu was this: ‘Treat it like a piece of meat.’ Pat dry. Season. Pan fry. Perhaps this is not how you’re supposed to treat it. Or perhaps a lot of people treat it this way? Either way it turned out better than I ever could have imagined. E-VER.

I’m standing by my method on this one.

It really pays to be prepped ahead of time for this recipe. Everything happens really fast in the recipe so you’ll want all your ingredients ready to go. There will be no time to measure, chop, mince, or zest. You need to be ready ahead of time.

So here’s the prep.

Chop some scallions. Mince some garlic. Measure out some red pepper flakes.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

Zest an orange. Maybe 2 teaspoons? Maybe almost a tablespoon-ish.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

I also measured out my soy sauce and orange juice, and I had my honey ready to go.

There now… prep wasn’t so bad… was it?

Now here’s the cooking portion.

Vegetable oil in a large skillet.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

Red pepper flakes.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

You can actually skip the red pepper flakes if you don’t want this recipe to be spicy.

Or you can use less if you want it less spicy.

Or you can use more if you like it over-the-top spicy.

My version was perfectly spicy for me. But I like spicy. Too spicy for my kiddos though! {FYI}

Some like it hot! Some like it not.

Next up… garlic and scallions. I saved the dark green parts for the garnish at the end and threw in the light green and white parts right now with the garlic.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

Then some soy sauce.

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And orange juice.

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Orange zest.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

Honey honey.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

And that’s it!

You just let this beautiful mixture reduce for about 15 minutes. It will thicken slightly and become the perfect foil for your tofu and udon noodles.

Ah tofu.

I bought a couple of blocks so I could really experiment. I’ve NEVER used it before. I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten it before.

I tried a bite straight out of the package. Bleh.

What had I gotten myself into?

I seasoned the whole block it really well on both sides with salt and pepper.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

Then I seared both sides in a large sauté pan where I had heated some vegetable oil.  Then I took it out. I let it “rest” (I don’t think this is necessary with tofu but I went with the ‘treat it like meat’ thing all the way).

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

I cut off a piece to try it. Bleh.

So I tried the same searing method a bit differently.

I cut the large block of tofu into 12 equal… or close to equal… cubes.

Then I seasoned them well on all sides, heated some oil, and seared ALL SIDES of each piece of tofu. This only took about 2 minutes per side over medium heat. Six sides at 2 minutes per side equals 12 minutes total. Who says you don’t do math while cooking? Oh. I guess nobody maybe. But you definitely do use math.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

I was quite pleased with how the tofu pieces turned out! After my first and second bites of the stuff I was pretty doubtful. But I think I’ve actually found a way I can enjoy this strange, squishy food!

What surprised me even more was that my husband liked it too!? He is an adventurous eater, but I never thought tofu would fly with him. He didn’t even say “I like it… but I’d prefer this dish with chicken”. He genuinely liked it!

I think the spicy, strong-flavored sauce really helps the tofu along. The seared tofu by itself wasn’t nearly as good as when you took a bite of it with the udon noodles and sauce.

Speaking of which.

After cooking the udon, I immediately transferred it into the spicy orange-soy sauce. I used a tongs to give it a good toss.

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Then I served myself up a portion, topped it with the tofu, a bit more sauce, and the dark green parts of my scallions.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

Glorious.

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Excuse me. I have some bites to take.

Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com Vegetarian Spicy Orange Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon via applestoziti.com

ENJOY!!

Here’s that printable recipe.

love, jenna

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4 thoughts on “Spicy Orange-Soy Sauce with Tofu & Udon

  1. All of my feeling exactly – re: Tofu! But Dear Jenna – -you sure do make it sound inviting and Wonderfully tasty! Again — Good job!
    GREAT job!

  2. Pingback: Carbonara with a Twist | Apples to Ziti

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