Sweet and Sour Tofu

This irresistibly tangy stir fry recipe from The Plant Power Doctor combines crispy chunks of sweet and sour tofu with fresh, crunchy vegetables for a quick and flavoursome meal.

From the book

The Plant Power Doctor by
The Plant Power Doctor
A British GP breaks down the science behind plant based diets
Accessible information, meal plans, and simple ingredient switches
Tasty, nutritious and easy recipes to fit around your daily life


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.

Makes 4 portions


For the tofu:
1 block of firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
2 tbsp arrowroot
½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
For the sweet and sour sauce:
50ml soy sauce
25ml rice wine vinegar
50ml pineapple juice
1 tbsp apricot jam
2 tsp maple or date syrup
½ tsp Chinese 5 spice
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cornflour
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
100g baby corn
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
15g piece ginger, finely chopped (or a frozen cube)
To serve:
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

Essential kit

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.


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