Friday, 13 April 2018

Sweet and Sour Tofu

My memories of Chinese food when I was young was sweet and sour dishes.  When we went out, there was some sort of meat in crispy batter covered in sweet and sour sauce.  At home, I think the sauce covered chicken.  These days Chinese food is a lot more sophisticated and spicy but when I saw a recipe for sweet and sour tempeh in The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, I had a nostalgic hankering.

As you might have guessed, I did not have any tempeh so I used the tofu at hand.  I made it late at night so it was ready for the next day's dinner after work.  The recipe was unusual in that the sweet and sour sauce used apricot jam rather than pineapple juice.  Fortunately I had some apricot jam that had not been used for a while.  I think of sweet and sour as tending to be quite sweet.  I had to mess about with the spice and vinegar to get the flavouring right.

The sweet and sour tofu was surprisingly good with rice.  I cooked some spring rolls to serve alongside it and the sweet and sour sauce was great for dipping.  You can see from my notes that the recipe needed a bit of tweaking.  I wonder how easy getting the flavours right would be if you did not have a memory of sweet and sour like I do.  I suspect my version is not at all a traditional one but I did enjoy it.

I am sending this sweet and sour tofu to April's Eat Your Greens hosted by Allotment to Kitchen this month (and co-hosted by The Veg Hog).

More sweet and sour recipes from elsewhere:
Cabbage spring rolls with sweet and sour marmalade dipping sauce - Allotment to Kitchen
Easy sweet and sour sauce - Amuse Your Bouche
Sweet and sour chickpeas, pepper and broccoli - Vegan Richa
Sweet'n'sour mock pork - Where's the Beef
Vegan sweet and sour meatballs - Stay at Home Chef

More Chinese inspired recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chow mein (v)
Fried rice with tofu scramble (gf, v)
Lo mein (v)
Mee Goreng (v)
Vegetarian San Choy Bau (gf, v)

Sweet and Sour Tofu
Adapted from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Serves 4

2 tbsp neutral oil (divided)
1 tbsp sesame oil
500g tofu
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger powder
200g (about a cup) apricot jam
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp white miso
4-5 tbsp tamari
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2-1 tsp chilli sauce
1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 red pepper, matchsticks
200g green beans, trimmed and chopped

Fry tofu in 1 tbsp neutral oil and 1 tbsp sesame oil until crispy.  Once done, set aside.

Meanwhile, fry onion, celery and carrots in remaining 1 tbsp neutral oil for about 5 minutes until softened.  Stir in garlic and ginger for a minute.  Add apricot jam and 1 cup water.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

While the onion mixture simmers, gradually mix 4 tbsp of water into 2 tbsp of cornflour until smooth.  Mix in miso and 4 tbsp tamari, cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp chilli sauce.  Add to saucepan.  Check flavours and if required add maple syrup, more tamari, chilli sauce and some rice vinegar.

Add red paper, green beans and fried tofu.  Bring mixture to the boil.  If you are serving straight away, simmer for 5 minutes until green beans cooked.  If serving later, remove from heat and cool.

NOTES: I think next time I would just use rice wine vinegar instead of the cider vinegar which might mean I did not need extra vinegar.  I think I needed the maple syrup because I added too much tamarai, hence reducing it from 5 to 4 tbsp unless needed.  I don't think the jam I used was overly sweet so you might need more tamari if your jam is quite sweet.  I used ground ginger because I did not have ginger.  I kept the spice low because I had hoped that Sylvia might eat it but when she was not interested I added more chilli paste and probably would have added more fresh ginger too.

On the Stereo:
Picaresque: Decembrists


  1. I adore sweet and sour so would be happy to give this a go. The jam is unusual!

  2. I am not really into Chinese cuisine, but hand on heart - I honestly would eat this Sweet and Sour Tofu - i think it appeals because there is an absence of noodles, which I have never got on well with. Thank you so much for sharing this with #EatYourGreens

  3. Long time no sweet&sour dish, that's for sure! This looks so lovely that I also got a bit of nostalgia about that sort of dishes. I think that tofu would go very well in that.

    Thank you also so much for sharing with Eat Your Greens!

  4. Thanks for this lovely recipe. I have the same childhood memories as you of Chinese sweet and sour - I remember it fondly but would much prefer your version now!

  5. you just made my favorite recipe taste more delicious .

    thank you

  6. I also have lots of memories of going to the local Chinese restaurant with my parents and we always had sweet and sour pork that was ridiculously sweet with lots of bilious red food dye in it. Thank God those days are behind us. I recently had a sweet and sour dish and it was so much more sophisticated and a lot less sweet and I really enjoyed it. Your dish looks amazing. I'd be interested to try it with the apricot jam instead of pineapple juice xx

  7. This looks delicious. I love a good sweet and sour combination - and I agree that the apricot jam is an interesting choice. Your version sounds tasty but I think I’d love some chunks of pineapple just to really recreate childhood memories!

  8. Yes! Sweet and sour was always massively sweet and a bright nuclear-meltdown red when I was a kid, and I loved it. This looks just as appealing!

  9. That actually sounds delicious! I do love sweet and sour pork and because the sauce is so strong I think it would go really well with tofu.


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