Matzo-Crusted General Gau's Tofu Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Sauce adapted from Popeye Tso's Chicken

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • two (8-ounce) blocks of firm tofu
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 cups matzoh meal (or panko crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 quart oil (preferably peanut, vegetable or canola will do fine)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • A half dozen dried red whole chilis
  • Sliced scallions or chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. To prepare the tofu: Cut the tofu into rectangles about 1- by 3-inches and 1/2 inch wide. Set up a station with the matzoh meal in one bowl and the eggs in another bowl. Working one piece at a time, coat the tofu in the egg, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Transfer to the matzo meal and toss to coat. Transfer coated tofu to a large plate and set aside.

  2. Combine stock, soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin, chili paste, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix with a fork until homogenous. Set aside.

  3. Heat oil to in a large wok or Dutch oven to 375°F. Add tofu and cook, agitating constantly with a wire mesh spider or slotted spoon until deep golden brown and crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a dish lined with paper towels.

  4. Pour used oil through a fine mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Return two tablespoons to the wok and discard the rest (or save for another use). Heat wok over high heat until just smoking. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Immediately add whole chilies and tofu and toss to combine. Add sauce and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened into a thick glossy glaze. Transfer contents immediately to a hot plate, garnish with scallions or cilantro as desired, and serve with steamed rice.