Sweet and sour tofu, what could be more satisfying? You’ve got the crunchiness of the tofu, the crispness of the peppers, the freshness of the pineapple, and the sweet sticky sauce. Oh, the sauce. The perfect balance of sweet and tangy, and made from simple ingredients that everyone has in their pantry.
Quick pan-fried tofu and vegetables smothered in some kind of sauce (like this orange and ginger-glazed tofu) is one of my go-to meals when I haven’t got ideas for dinner, and this sweet and sour tofu has been in heavy rotation since I made it for the first time a couple of years ago.
I originally published this recipe on the blog in 2015 and have been tweaking it ever since. My latest change involves a can of peaches in addition to the pineapple – something that I saw Jamie Oliver do on one of his programs. I love the combination of fruit and vegetables in this dish and I’m keen to try it with mango or other fruits for the next go!
Sweet and sour is one of those classic combinations you’ll find in almost any American Chinese restaurants and for good reason; it’s so addictive! Little did I know, however, that’s it’s super simple to make at home.
The great thing about making sweet and sour tofu at home is that you can get the perfect balance for your taste. Like a little more sour or a little more sweet? No problem, it’s easy to adjust.
You also have total control over which veggies to add. While red and green peppers are the most common for sweet and sour dishes, you can change it up and add broccoli, baby corn, snow peas, asparagus or pretty much anything you could imagine! Get creative with it!
To make sweet and sour tofu I like to first toss my tofu cubes in cornstarch to give them a crispy coating for pan frying. This is something that I started doing after I tried it for my black pepper tofu recipe and it’s sooo good. I haven’t fried tofu any other way since.
After the tofu is nice and crisp, give your aromatics and vegetables a quick stir fry and pour in the sauce. In just a couple of minutes the sauce is deliciously thick and ready to serve. Add back in your crispy tofu, give it a good toss to coat in the sticky, sweet sauce and serve over rice, quinoa or your favourite grain. This sweet and sour tofu recipe is perfect for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner!
15 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
- 450 grams (1 pound) extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) juice from the can of pineapples
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) juice from the can of peaches
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sweetener of choice (brown sugar, maple syrup, agave, ketchup)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
- 1/2 a red pepper, diced
- 1/2 a green pepper, diced
- 1 long red chili pepper (spiciness is up to you)
- 1 cup (about 80 grams) snow peas, halved
- 1 cup (about 150 grams) canned pineapple, diced
- 1 cup (about 175 grams) canned peaches, sliced
- 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
- a small bunch of cilantro or 2 chopped green onions
- Sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
- Drain and press the tofu between absorbent towels under something heavy for at least 15 minutes. Then cut it into cubes and place it in a ziplock bag with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Shake to coat the tofu in cornstarch.
- Heat a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and fry the tofu until crispy and golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- While the tofu is frying, in a small bowl mix together the pineapple and peach juices, rice vinegar, sweetener, and soy sauce. Taste the sauce as each sweetener is different. Adjust the ingredients to reach a good balance of sweet, salty, and tangy. In a separate bowl, stir together the water and remaining tablespoon of cornstarch. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce and set aside.
- When the tofu is ready, remove it from the pan and set aside on paper towels to drain. Add a bit more oil to the pan if you need it and then add the garlic and ginger. Fry for 5 seconds and then add the red, green and chili peppers and snow peas. Stir fry, stirring continuously, until the peppers are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks and peaches. Pour over the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and add the tofu. Stir to coat and allow the tofu to warm for a minute.
- Serve over rice and garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro or green onions and sesame seeds.