This Vegan Sweet and Sour Tofu is:
- super easy to make
- packed with veggies
- just as delicious as the restaurant version!
If you’re one of those people who’s unsure about tofu, this dish is sure to be a game-changer. The sauce is salty-sweet, tangy and fruity, and transforms the tofu from bland to incredibly flavourful. It also happens to be refined sugar free and much healthier than traditional sweet and sour sauce.
This dish starts off with crispy-yet-tender cubes of battered tofu. Although battered food always seems like a hassle to make, this battered tofu is super easy – all you need to do is coat some cubes of firm tofu with cornflour (cornstarch), and quickly pan-fry them in just a splash of oil – be careful not to overcook the tofu at this stage, as you don’t want it to become too tough.
Not only is this method foolproof, but it’s also naturally gluten-free, and much healthier than deep-frying.
Now you have your crispy cubes of fried tofu, it’s time to make the sauce!
The recommended cooking time I’ve given for this recipe means that the vegetables are left slightly crunchy, just like how this dish is served in restaurants. I like the vegetables to have a little bite for contrasting texture, but you can cook them for as little or as long as you like.
The sauce boasts a kaleidoscopic array of flavours and textures, thanks to:
- aromatic garlic and ginger
- sweet onion
- crunchy carrots
- crisp red and green pepper
- juicy tomato
- tangy pineapple
- salty tamari (or soy sauce)
- sharp vinegar
- nectar-like agave syrup
Whilst sweet and sour sauce usually includes tomato ketchup, I decided to make a healthier version by using fresh tomatoes instead, which works in a similar way. You can substitute the agave syrup with any other neutral-flavoured sweetener you like.
Then all you need to do is add some cornflour (cornstarch) to the sauce to thicken it up nicely, and you’ll have a beautifully shiny, flavour-packed glaze irresistibly coating each cube of tofu.
I hope you’ll love this Vegan Sweet and Sour Tofu! For more flavourful tofu recipes, check out my:
For even more tofu recipe inspiration, you can check out the National Tofu Day website!
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Vegan Sweet and Sour Tofu (GF)
For the tofu:
- 400 g (14oz) firm tofu
- 6 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or rapeseed oil
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or rapeseed oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cm (½ inch) ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green pepper, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 medium-sized tomato, peeled and diced
- 225 g (1 cup) chopped pineapple
- 3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider, rice or white vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 120 ml (½ cup) water
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
To serve (optional):
- Cooked brown or white rice
For the tofu:
- Drain the tofu, pat dry with a paper towel, and cut into small cubes
- Place the cornflour in a large bowl, take a cube of tofu, coat it in the flour and place on a plate
- Repeat for the rest of the tofu, adding extra cornflour if necessary
- Heat up the oil in a frying pan until hot
- Once the oil is hot, keep it on a medium heat and add the cornflour-coated tofu
- Fry for a few minutes on each side, turning over halfway through (it's easiest to do this using chopsticks). Cook it until it’s crispy and lightly browned, but be careful not to overcook, otherwise it’ll become tough
- Transfer the cooked tofu onto a plate lined with kitchen paper (to drain away the excess oil)
For the sauce:
- Heat up the oil in a frying pan - you can use the same frying pan you used to fry the tofu, or you can start to cook the sauce in a separate frying pan whilst you cook the tofu
- Add the onion, ginger and garlic once hot and fry for a couple of minutes until fragrant
- Add the green pepper, red pepper, carrot, tomato and pineapple and fry for about 10 minutes until softened (more or less time depending on how soft or hard you like your vegetables to be)
- Add the tamari, vinegar, agave syrup and water
- Place the cornflour in a small bowl and dissolve in a tiny splash of water - make sure it has completely dissolved
- Keeping the pan on a low heat, carefully add the cornflour mixture, stirring regularly to avoid clumping
- Keep heating until the sauce is thickened - add an extra splash of water if it’s too thick
- Add the cooked tofu and mix well
- Best enjoyed immediately, but leftovers can be kept covered in the fridge for up to a few days, and can be reheated in a frying pan
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