Before I became vegan my favorite thing at the local Chinese restaurant was the crispy shredded beef! I was almost addicted to it!
For years now I have been trying to recreate that dish using a variety of different meat substitues. Nothing ever seemed to work out well and I could never get the same overly crispy texture combined with the sweet sticky sauce. That is until I bought an airfryer! If you don’t have an airfryer you can use the oven but I highly recommend getting one like the family size one we use!
Using the airfryer before cooking in the sauce actually gives the tofu the crispy texture I had been looking for all these years.
Crispy Shredded Tofu over Cabbage
1 block of firm tofu
3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sesame oil or your oil of choice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
1/2 head shredded cabbage
sesame seeds to garnish
First open and drain your tofu. Press out as much water as possible before moving on to the next step (to really improve the texture of your tofu consider buying a tofu press like this one). Cut your tofu into 1/4 inch strips and place in a mixing bowl. Add 1 tbsp of the soy sauce, 1/8 cup of oil, 1/8 cup hoisin sauce, and 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar to the bowl and combine. Set the tofu aside to marinate stirring frequently for even absorption of the sauce. let marinate for at least a half an hour but this can also be done up to a full day in advance.
Next grab your 1/2 head of cabbage and slice it as thin as you can and set aside.
Now take your tofu and throw it into your airfryer on 450 for 8 minutes. Open the airfryer and try to evenly flip all the tofu. Put it back in on 450 for another 8 minutes. Stir again and do a final 8 minutes in the airfryer at the same temperature.
In a large frying pan or wok combine the rest of the soy sauce, five spice, oil, hoisin sauce, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer on medium heat and then add in the brown sugar. when the sugar is dissolved you can toss in the tofu from the airfryer and combine well. Cook until the sauce is as thick as you like. Serve over the shredded cabbage and garnish with the sesame seeds.