This vegan sweet and sour tofu (or tempeh) recipe reminds me so much of of the sweet and sour pork dish I used to eat in Chinese restaurants growing up. This of course is cruelty-free and made with really simple ingredients!
This is a vegan and vegetarian friendly recipe perfect paired this with rice for a super tasty and satisfying meal!
I also made a tempeh version of this recipe!
The Key to Cooking Crispy Tofu
1 – Make sure to press the tofu to drain out excess liquid.
PREPARING THE TOFU
I like to wrap mine in a towel and then place a heavy flat surface on top. Such as a few more chopping boards.
IF USING TEMPEH, Make sure it’s thawed well if you’re using frozen blocks.
Slice the tofu/tempeh into 1″ (2.5cm) cubes.
Sprinkle the salt on the tofu/tempeh cubes then add the cornstarch. Coat the tofu well. For the tempeh, you can opt to skip the corn starch and pan-fry them without the starch. But I would highly recommend coating these as well.
PAN-FRY THE TOFU/TEMPEH
Set aside once crisp.
For the sauce, mix together:
- 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 tbsp sriracha, optional (just for the added spice!)
- 4 tbsp sugar (I used coconut sugar), adjust according to desired sweetness
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2-1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
*note that some ketchup brands may be less sweet/sweeter so feel free to adjust the sweetness from the sugar depending on your desired taste.
The sauce is easily adjustable to your taste. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, then you can add more sugar to level out the acidity!
Now on to the rest of the prep!
I pan fried the tofu to create the crisp crust before sautéing the veggies and then adding the tofu back in with the sauce.
Pour in the sauce next.
As the sauce cooks down, add the corn starch slurry and allow the sauce to thicken into a glaze to coat the tofu or tempeh.
Add the tofu/tempeh and then coat it in the sauce.
This sweet and sour tofu (or tempeh) is best enjoyed with some rice for a really hearty meal.
The tempeh version:
Check out the full recipe below!
Also, I really enjoy seeing all your recreations so if you make my recipes, let me know or tag me on my Instagram @thefoodietakesflight. Enjoy!
You can also check out my other vegan tofu recipes here or down below:
Check out my tips on how to store tofu!
- Baked Peanut and Lime Tofu
- Pineapple Cashew Tofu Stir-Fry
- Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu
- Black Pepper Tofu Steaks
- Tofu “Chicken” Teriyaki
- Korean Spicy Braised Tofu
- Fried ‘Chicken’ and Gravy
- Tofu Katsu
- Nori-Wrapped Tofu in Spicy Sauce
- Maple Hoisin Tofu
- Orange Tofu
- Pan-Fried Tofu Cakes
- Tofu ‘McNuggets’
Vegan Sweet and Sour Tofu (or Tempeh!)
Pan-Frying and Stir-Frying
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 4 tbsp tomato ketchup see notes
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1/2 tbsp Sriracha optional (just for the added spice!)
- 4 tbsp sugar I used coconut sugar, adjust according to desired sweetness
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2-1 tbsp soy sauce adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce optional for colour
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp room temp. water
- Fresh cilantro or green onions chopped for garnish
- Sesame seeds to topping
- Steamed rice or noodles
- Tofu: Dry the tofu. I wrap the tofu in towels and place a plate on top of it until excess liquid is absorbed by the towels. You can also opt to use a tofu press. Once dry, cut into 1" cubes or your size of choice.
- Tempeh: If using frozen tempeh, make sure it's thawed well beforehand. Slice into 1" cubes or your size of choice.
- Sprinkle the salt on the tofu cubes/tempeh then add the cornstarch. Coat the tofu/tempeh well.NOTE: You can opt not to coat the tempeh with cornstarch and just pan-fry it as is with the salt.
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the sauce. In another small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water for the slurry. Feel free to adjust the sauce to your taste.
- In a large non-stick pan over med high heat, add the oil and then fry the tofu/tempeh cubes until crisp and golden, around 2-3 minutes on each side, 10 minutes total. You will need to turn around the tofu/tempeh cubes to get them crisp on all sides.
- Take out the tofu/tempeh from the pan. Add some more oil then sauté the onion and bell peppers until tender, around 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the sauce mix into the pan. Once it boils, lower the heat and pour in the cornstarch mixture. Mix until the sauce is thick.
- Add in the cooked tofu/tempeh and mix well to completely coat in the glaze. Leave to cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with some salt, to taste, if needed.Turn off then heat then garnish with some cilantro and sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy while hot with some rice or noodles!