General Tso Dipping Sauce

Today, I want to share with you a recipe that will make you want to eat (fried) tofu. Yes, I’m serious.

This sauce got my Dad (“Tofu?! What the hell is that?”), my grandpa (“Where’s my meat?”) and grandma (“Traditional cooking is the best… No need to experiment. Where’s the smetana?”) to eat tofu.

This sauce is absolutely amazing. I make it any chance I see where we could potentially dip food in it. I had it with rolls, tempura and vegetables. All in all, I just REALLY like the taste of this. It tastes like one of those exotic sauces you would get an Asian themed restaurant. It’s sweet and a little spicy, and has an awesome smooth texture. Are you ready to try it out?

This recipe was inspired by General Tso Tofu, and I only made a little variation in it.

First, start off with some chopped garlic and onions (seen in the back); you could use green onions too!

Garlic and the shy onions!

Garlic and the shy onions!

Then you take water, mirin, white vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and chili paste and mix it all together in a bowl.

sauce

The pre-sauce.

Then mix together 1 tablespoon corn starch and 1 tablespoon water to form a paste  in a separate bowl (so the sauce will thicken).

Paste

Finally, get those onions and garlic sauteing on the saucepan! (med heat.) Stir often.

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Sizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzle

After about 1 minute, add in 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger and fry it in oil for a few seconds before adding in the sauce and the paste. Allow the mixture to boil (while stirring intermittently), and then let it boil for 1 minute longer. You will see that the red colour will now switch to a deep, deep red/brown colour. It’s really neat!

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Magic!

Magic!

Take it off the stove and let it cool.

And you’re done! Drizzle it over anything you’d like. My family and I generally eat it with tofu on top of rice!

Looks delicious, no?

Looks delicious, no?

General Tso Sauce (originally by: Stephani Kepman)

  • 3 green onions or 1/2 a small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon red chili paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper (more for more spice)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. mix in the water, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, mirin, chili paste, and red-pepper until sugar is dissolved – set aside
  2. mix corn starch and water to form a paste- set aside.
  3. saute onions and garlic in a saucepan on medium heat for about a minute.
  4. right before adding in sauce, add in the ground ginger and stir for a few seconds.
  5. add in the red sauce, followed by the paste
  6. bring the sauce to a boil and then cook for 1 minute more
  7. remove from stove, and allow to cool.
  8. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite sauce recipe? Please comment and tell me!

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Quick Tips: Coconut Oil Butter

Hello everyone!

I recently read about a new healthy, very hyped about, food item: coconut oil. It’s full of short and medium fatty acids, which are supposed to be good for you. And you know what? It tastes awesome too.

That’s why my quick tip for you today is to substitute coconut oil for butter when you make popcorn! Use it to pop the popcorn and as seasoning! I’ve done it twice already, and I’m sold. If you’re worried that it will taste like coconut- don’t be. It’s ultra subtle; my parents didn’t even realize I was using coconut oil.

Currently, my favorite popcorn seasoning is coconut oil, and salt. What’s yours?

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Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookie

Guys, my jaw is on the floor right now. You will NOT believe what just happened.

Background:

I have been trying to eat well/’clean’, for the past couple of years; it’s still a struggle and a process to find alternatives for refined/processed food, but it’s happening. So, I read about “2 ingredient cookies” by Blogilates (a totally awesome blog, BTW). It sounded too awesome to be true — and, in some respects, it was. The first time I made them, they were mushy and had this weird banana after taste (surprise, surprise?). They were okay, but they weren’t enough for me to give up ‘normal’, full fledged cookies.

Today, I read about reports talking about the dangers of processed white sugar. Apparently, it’s horrible*. I knew that, but now studies are directly linking it with some serious conditions (eg. diabetes, and heart disease). So… I decided to tackle the Blogilates recipe again.

I used her recipe as a base – and I think it’s perfect for that. You have the banana which acts as the glue, and the oats which act like the flour. From that stage, you can add ANYTHING you want!

So, I decided to go and take 1/2 a banana and 1/2 cup of oats together. I then added 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla extract.

That should give it some flavor, but then I remembered how the cookies were a bit soft, and I like crunchy cookies! So I went into our cereal cardboard and got some cereal that had bran flakes, puffed oats etc. and mixed it in. I also remembered that we had sunflower seed butter and decided to add that in to deepen the flavor (I’m sure peanut butter would work the same way).

This is the cookie 'batter'.

This is the cookie ‘batter’.

Finally, I added in a few chocolate chips because I’ve been craving chocolate and knew I would binge on it if I prolonged the torture any longer.

I plopped the (six) cookies on aluminum foil and slipped it into a toaster oven set, preheated 350F, for 20 minutes.

Off they go!

Off they go!

And… Ta-Dah!

The final product!

The final product!

Totally different from the first time, these were crunchy and the cinnamon and vanilla gave it fragrance. The banana was totally hidden and just acted as a binder. (If you don’t want them crunchy, bake for less time.)

Now… here comes the amazing bit.

My brother and his friend are over at my house, playing on the computer downstairs. They paddle upstairs and go into the kitchen looking for chips, cookies and pop. Forcing my brother to eat a salad or oatmeal is like pulling teeth. I told them to try the cookies I made, and they went “okay!”.

them: “Are these homemade?”

me: “yes”

them: “Are they fresh?”

me: “just took them out 2 minutes ago”

(I love how they have such qualifications for the food they eat…)

and then….

“Wow! These are great!”

My eyes went like this: O.O. I thought they were great, a good alternative to ‘normal’ cookies, but definitely not something I saw my brother eating.

I asked them, “you know these are healthy right?”

They both looked at me, “No, but it doesn’t matter… they’re good. Where are the rest?”

(Here I admit that I ate 4 of the 6 and they only had 1 each.)

Then… They asked me to make more.

WHOA. Okay, this is a keeper.

So, I urge you to try and experiment with the base, add in whatever you feel would make them good. You might surprise yourself (and others!).

Cookie Base

makes 1 dozen

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 banana
  1. mash the banana
  2. mix in the oats
  3. bake on an aluminum sheet, in a preheated 350F oven for 15-20 minutes (closer to 20 minutes for crunchy cookies, and closer to 15 minutes for soft cookies)

Here’s my variation:

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookie

makes 6 cookies

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon (any nut) butter
  • 1/8 cup cereal (e.g. puffed rice, bran etc) (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • chocolate chips
  1. mash the banana
  2. add in the vanilla extract and cinnamon, mix
  3. add in nut butter, mix
  4. add in oats, mix
  5. add in cereal, mix
  6. add in chocolate chips, mix
  7. put on aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350F oven
  8. bake for 15-20 minutes (closer to 20 minutes for crunchy cookies, and closer to 15 minutes for soft cookies)

Have you experimented with a recipe like this? What did you come up with?

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*great article, with sources to relevant studies