Sweet and Sour Tofu
This plant-based version of the classic Chinese meal has that irresistible tangy sweet-and-sour flavour. I find that baking the tofu in the oven first is the easiest way to get it nice and crispy if you are cooking without oil.
|For the tofu:|
|1 block of||firm or extra firm tofu, pressed|
|½ tsp||chilli powder (optional)|
|For the sweet and sour sauce:|
|25ml||rice wine vinegar|
|1 tbsp||apricot jam|
|2 tsp||maple or date syrup|
|½ tsp||Chinese 5 spice|
|½ tsp||garlic powder|
|½ tsp||chilli powder|
|For the stir-fry:|
|2 tsp||sesame oil (optional)|
|1||red pepper, cut into chunks|
|100g||mange tout or asparagus tips or sprouting broccoli spears – blanch them first, or slice them lengthways|
|2||garlic cloves, finely chopped|
|15g||piece ginger, finely chopped (or a frozen cube)|
|3||spring onions, halved lengthways and shredded|
|A few sprigs of||coriander|
|A few drops of||sesame oil and/or 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)|
|brown rice or noodles|
You will need: a wok
First bake the tofu. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut the tofu into chunks and pat dry. Mix the arrowroot with the chilli powder, if using, and a little salt and toss in the tofu chunks, making sure they are evenly coated. Arrange on a baking tray, making sure they are not touching, then bake for 15–20 minutes until crisp and brown.
Whisk together all the sweet and sour sauce ingredients except the cornﬂour and set aside.
Heat a wok and add the oil, if using. When the air above is shimmering, add the the vegetables, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes. If not using the oil, use 1 tbsp water instead, adding a little more after a couple of minutes if necessary.
Pour in the sauce and simmer for 2–3 minutes until it looks syrupy, then mix the cornﬂour with a little water and add to the wok, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened slightly and is glossy. Add the tofu and simmer for a further minute, then serve sprinkled with the spring onions, coriander and sesame oil or seeds, if using.