Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tofu in a sweet and sour sauce

Sweet and sour pork, sweet and sour chicken, and sweet sour everything else are omnipresent in a Chinese take out menu. But not many serve sweet and sour tofu. Being a vegetarian family, we are always looking to convert a meat dish to suit us.

Most sweet and sour dishes, have onions, bell peppers and pineapples. I like pineapples but not in savory foods - hence I decided to omit that from my rendition of this dish. I also don't like to eat deep fried food, which is essentially how this dish starts - lightly battered deep fried meat or fish pieces bathed in a thick sweet and sour sauce - I find more sweet than sour.

For my sweet and sour tofu, I coat the tofu pieces in a light coating of cornflour and saute it in a little oil till it gets a light brown crust and then cook it with the vegetables in the sweet and slightly tangy sauce. Children love this dish since it is not spicy at all. Great crowd pleaser.

Tofu in a sweet and sour sauce
14 oz firm Lite tofu (Nasoya brand – has less fat then regular tofu)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
½ large green bell pepper, cut into ½ inch dice
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch dice
½ medium yellow onion, cut into ½ inch dice
1 large clove of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons canola oil
For the sweet and sour sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon plum sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand)
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
½ tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon sesame oil

  1. Press the tofu with some weights to remove the excess moisture and then cut into 1 inch cubes. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu pieces to coat evenly and then mix in the rice wine to give the tofu a sticky coating.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed wok – I used a non-stick wok – with 4 teaspoons canola oil. Add the tofu pieces and cook for about 2 minutes on each side so that the tofu develops a light brown crust. [If you like, you can also deep fry the tofu pieces – this will give it more of a  restaurant feel]. Remove the browned tofu pieces from the work and set aside.
  3. Add 2 more teaspoons of canola oil to the wok and add the minced garlic and the chopped onion. Sprinkle a pinch of salt to ensure that the onion does not brown. Sauté over medium high heat for a couple of minutes till the onion starts to look translucent. Add the diced bell pepper and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
  4. In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
  5. Add the tofu pieces and the sauce to the onion and bell pepper mixture and mix well. Cook till the sauce is sticky and glossy.
  6. Remove and serve immediately with steamed rice and a vegetable side dish like Asparagus or Eggplant.
Serves 3

1 comment:

  1. Love your tofu recipes!
    This is going be my dinner tomorrow!