Cheap Chinese Food

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Upon eating it, Kati exclaimed that it was the first WFPB meal she’d eaten that could replace her dark, Chinese buffet cravings! The next day she ate a half block of tofu herself, dipping it in the sauce like an engorged, tofu-hunting lioness. If you’ve been struggling with the smells coming from the nearest frialator vent, give this a try!


  • For the Tofu
  • 8-10 oz extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tb vinegar
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • For the Sauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup fresh orange or pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2½ tsp cornstarch
  • For the Veggies
  • 2 medium onions, julienned
  • 1 large pepper (or one cup frozen pepper strips)
  • ½ cup broccoli, cut
  • ½ cup sliced button mushrooms
  • ½ tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 415°.
  2. Press tofu to extract as much moisture as possible.
  3. Carefully break off chunks of tofu (about the size of a quarter) and place in a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Pour over tofu chunks, gently turning the tofu to coat while being careful not to crumble them.
  5. Pour out tofu onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Space them well to facilitate dehydration. At that point, you can carefully break some of the chunks into smaller pieces.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes at 415°, then reduce to 350° and bake until the tofu has a delightfully crispy texture. This is usually about 15-20 more minutes.
    While tofu is baking, saute veggies, garlic, and ginger over medium-high heat using water or vegetable broth.
  7. Make your sauce by combining all ingredients in a sauce pan and heating to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  8. Combine tofu, vegetables, and sauce. Serve by itself or over a bed of brown rice. For the optimal Cheap Chinese experience, white rice could be used, but that might be taking it too far!


  1. This can be improvised really well too. I used smoked paprika in place of liquid smoke. I used whole pineapple chunks in the sauce instead of juice (they reduce). I left out tomato paste because I hate the stuff. I subbed zucchini for mushrooms, because I was out of the latter. Turned out great! JUST LIKE CHEAP CHINESE FOOD.

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