Lemon tofu with broccoli (Ling Mont Foo + broccoli)

Posted: October 11, 2011 in lacto-ovo vegetarian recipes

This is mighty yummy.

You guys know I’m no cook.  When I started going vegetarian in earnest, I lived in some dorm with my roommate, May.  May was born in the states, but her folks came from Singapore.  Like many first-generation people, May had zero interest in having anything to do with Singapore, including cooking.  But we had no money, and Chicago has two Chinatowns and May’s mom wanted us to eat okay.  So it was May’s mom (who has only ever been known to me as ‘May’s Mom’) who taught me to make perfect rice.

At the time, I was going without red meat, but was still eating chicken.  I made some tasty food that year, and I made some real duds (cajun chicken comes to mind).  The original recipe for this is for lemon chicken, and it’s great as a chicken dish.  The best compliment I’ve ever gotten on my food assemblage was with that dish.  Bex’s husband, Owen, actually licked the plate clean.

For years, I wanted to try the recipe with tofu instead.  This cookbook is actually great, but I use it so little anymore because it has mostly meat dishes.  I rarely take staycations, and half of my vacation is just being home.  Now’s the perfect time to try this experiment.  The recipe I’m giving you is my variation, and it’s imperfect.  For the amount of tofu and broccoli I cooked (which was the perfect amount to feed us two), I didn’t have quite enough batter…make the amount listed plus 50% more, and it’d be just right.

source:  Chopsticks, Cleaver and Wok by Jennie Low

ovo-vegetarian, gluten –

  • 1/2 block extra hard or baked tofu (or 1 whole chicken breast)
  • 1/2 medium lemon
  • 3 c neutral oil for frying (I used canola)
  • about 1 1/2 broccoli crowns, chopped into bite-sized florets


  • egg white from 1 lg egg
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cold water


  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp soy sauce (I used tamari)
  • (1 tsp oyster sauce, which I omitted)
  • 2 tsp white wine (I used cooking sherry cos I had it)


  • 1/3 c cold water
  • 3 tbsp RealLemon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (tamari)
  • 1 tsp catsup (which I forgot)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  • 1 3/4 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tsp cold water

To prepare the batter, lightly beat egg white with a fork.  Add cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder and water.  Mix.  Set aside at room temp for at least 5 hrs, or as long as overnight.  You can refrigerate if more than a day in advance.

Cut the tofu block into bite sized pieces, place in bowl with the florets.  (Skin and bone chicken breast; cut into bite size pieces.)  Add seasoning ingredients to your main course, mix well.

Cut lemon into thin slices, then cut each slice in half.  Combine sauce ingredients into a small pan.  Add lemon slices and bring to a boil.  Add thickener, cook for 30 seconds and set aside.

Heat oil in wok to 325 degrees.  (May’s mom taught me to look for a shimmer over the oil.)  Dip your main course pieces into the batter, and coat.  Carefully place your main course pieces into the oil, turn with tongs or other metal tool to keep them from sticking to the bottom, and brown evenly.  (Jennie Low says 3 minutes.  I didn’t time it, but I know I didn’t cook the tofu and broccoli that long.  I’m sure that’s to make sure you’re not getting salmonella from the chicken.  Tofu is far less likely to give you salmonella….so cook until it’s warmed and nicely browned.)  Remove your main course pieces, and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Meanwhile, reheat sauce to a boil.  Ladle over your main course onto some rice.  Mmmmmmmmm.

For as many parts as it seems to have, you might think this took awhile.  It really didn’t.  Setting the batter aside early was no big deal, and there was maybe 10 minutes of other prep.  By the time your rice is cooked, so is your main course.  Very lemony, fresh, sweet.  Not really low-fat due to being deep fried, but probably less so than your typical sesame tofu.  Nice change.


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