Hittin’ The Sauce

I watch an embarrassing amount of television.

Specifically the Food Network.

But in my defense, I’m not always watching Food Network.

I also watch the Cooking Channel.

But seriously, I’m not sitting on the couch all day watching tv.

It just needs to be on while I do house-ly things.

Like make dinner.


I like to listen to people make food while I’m making food.

Since I’ve seen or heard every show on both channels at least twice, I decided to get a little crazy and watch some HGTV.

I like to watch HGTV while NOT doing house-ly things.

Like updating my bathroom from 1967.

Or wiping the weird squiggly water marks off of the ceiling.

In the middle of an episode of Color Splash, David Bromstad described his latest design as

“Asian but not to0 Asian.”

Is that like having a touch of the flu?

Or being a little knocked up?

How can something be not too Asian?

It would seem that it is or it isn’t.

 I switched back to Food Network while I made a meal that ironically ended up being Asian but not too Asian.

I mean, it had some Far East inspiration but I’m sure it’s not a traditional Asian meal.

Not that I would know what traditional Asian is.

I mean, I just found out there is Asian food outside of sweet and sour chicken.

Which could probably be described as

chicken….but not too chicken.

Not wanting to stray too far from almost Asian cuisine, I decided to make broccoli and tofu in an orange sauce.

After looking at a few recipes, I was horrified.

One recipe called for 3/4 of a cup of sugar.

For two people.

That’s the sugar equivalent of 4 Snickers bars.

Asia would be so disappointed.

Get take-out if you’re craving a thick coating of sticky, sweet sauce on your food.

Make this lightened up sauce using mandarin oranges, soy sauce, and spices if you don’t want to wake up with the inevitable Chinese food hangover.

Orange Broccoli and Tofu

Serves 4

1 (11 oz) can  mandarin oranges packed in natural fruit juice

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake

1( 16 oz) block extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes

1 large red pepper, cut into chunks

6 cups broccoli crowns

1 tablespoon sesame or canola oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups cooked brown rice

*Tidbit: An easy way to press tofu is to place the whole block between two plates and set a heavy object on top. Any excess liquid will then drain out.

Combine mandarin oranges with juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and red pepper flake in a blender or food processor and blend until liquified.

Place  drained, pressed and cubed tofu in a large zip-lock bag and add orange sauce. Let marinate two hours.

Don't like tofu? Used cubed chicken instead.

Cook brown rice according to package directions and steam broccoli for 4-6 minutes.

Tidbit: If you don't want to steam the broccoli, you can cook it in the microwave with a bit of water to soften it up. You can also cook it in the same pan as the sauce and the tofu, but it will take much longer to cook. Add a lid so your sauce doesn't evaporate!

It should still have some bite to it. Transfer broccoli to a large bowl and set aside.

Pour sesame oil in large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add tofu.

Reserve the marinade!

Add red pepper to the pan and cook until tofu begins to crisp up (about 6-8 minutes).

When tofu is sufficiently crispy, set it aside with the broccoli.

Pour the marinade into the pan over medium heat.

Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to make a slurry.

Pour the slurry into the orange sauce and boil one minute.

Want an even thicker sauce? Add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch.

Add broccoli, tofu, and red pepper to sauce.

Cook until all ingredients are heated through (1-2 minutes).

Serve over cooked brown rice.

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10 thoughts on “Hittin’ The Sauce

    • Do you eat meat? This would be good with chicken or shrimp. Or you can leave it out altogether and have a tasty side dish! I find that I prefer tofu cooked some ways over others. I don’t love it just chopped up and added to salads but i do love it baked or broiled. Try experimenting with different cooking methods since they each change the texture of tofu in different ways.

  1. Oh look at you getting all fancy making a slurry. Yet another reason we should live closer together: I also do not spend a lot of time sitting and watching tv, but have it on (food network or the Rachael Ray show) almost constantly while I’m in the kitchen…we don’t have cooking channel yet here in Canada, and our Food Network is actually Food Network Canada, but it has a lot of the same shows, plus some Canadian originals for good measure. I think we should get together, cook while watching food network, and then look of some diseases for ourselves on Web MD…plan?

  2. Yum does this sauce taste a bit like the sesame chicken in the mall ? would really like to be able to make mall sesame chicken thick and gooey.Not big on too many red pepper flakes though

    • The sauce is definitely not as thick, but could be thickened with more cornstarch. It’s also not as sweet because I didn’t add any sugar outside of the mandarin oranges. So it’s not a copycat recipe, but it’s mighty tasty!

  3. Well, just another reason for you to come visit – our Canadian content is pretty awesome (well, ok, some more than others). I think you may have some of it on Cooking Channel now. Have you seen Chuck’s Day Off? He’s Canadian (and that show was on food tv Canada first, for the record)….Roger Mooking of Heat Seakers and Every Day Exotic is Canadian, Bob Blumer, of the Surreal Gourmet and Glutton for Punishment is Canadian (in fact he went to my university and I’ve heard him speak).

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