Sweet and Sour Tofu

sweet and tour tofu

Sweet and sour dishes are arguably one of the most popular Chinese dishes in Australia. The key to making a great sweet and sour dish comes down to 

  1. The sauce. The sauce should be pungent and really hit your tastebuds with lashings of sweet and sour. I have made this sauce using no water, water can dilute flavour and for sweet and sour, you need a wickedly punchy kick. 
  2. The protein that pairs with the sauce. I have found tofu to be the best source of protein. Tofu takes on flavour well and it has great versatility, you can serve it up separately that way the tofu retains a nice crunch and contrast to the rest of the dish or, you can bake your tofu before adding it into the sauce to finish off. The result is a similar chewiness that traditional sweet and sour pork is known For. 

With a lot of Asian dishes, comes lots of ingredients. I’ve tried to keep this classic dish simple which uses ingredients that are commonly found in most households. 

You can use fresh pineapple if you wish however I prefer to use the tinned variety as this dish will utilise both the pineapple pieces and reserved juices from the tin. 

I hope you enjoy my simple vegan take on a classic Chinese dish! 

Whichever way you choose to serve up your tofu, you’ll see how the tofu helps to bring the dish together and keeps you feeling full. 

This recipe doesn’t use any oil, and you can easily make it gluten-free by swapping the flour.


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Sweet and Sour Tofu

Course Main Course, Mains, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Keyword tofu
Servings 4 people


Salt and pepper tofu ingredients

  • 500 g firm tofu
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup Cornflour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/3 cup plant based milk

Sauce ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce/ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 slices approx. 25 g fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tsp water
  • 3 spring onions finely sliced

Other ingredients

  • 1 red capsicum cut into 2cm squares
  • 1 green capsicum cut into 2cm squares
  • 1 large red onion cut into 2 cm squares
  • 1/2 cup pineapple pieces


Step 1: Prepare tofu

  1. Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Add the flour, cornflour, salt and pepper to a small dish. Add the milk to another small dish.
  3. Remove tofu from package and cut into bite-sized cubes.
  4. Dip the pieces into the flour, followed by the milk then back into the flour then place on the paper-lined tray. Repeat until all pieces have been coated.
  5. Place the tofu into your oven and allow to cook for at least 30 minutes. Half way through, give the tray a shuffle.

Step 2 Sauce

  1. In a small non-stick saucepan over medium heat, add the ginger and spring onions and cook for approximately 2-3 mins until fragrant.

  2. Add in the tomato sauce and cook for a further minute or two, stirring gently.
  3. Next add the pineapple juice, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and sugar.
  4. Allow the sauce to gently simmer over a low/medium heat for 20 minutes, then add in the cornflour/water mixture - this will thicken the sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3 - other veggies

  1. While your sauce is simmering, add the onion to a medium sauce pan and cook for a few minutes until translucent. I use a non-stick saucepan so do not require oil or water. if your pan is not non-stick you may need to add a drizzle of water to keep the veggies from sticking. Once the onions are softened, add the capsicum and pineapple and continue to cook until the capsicum pieces are soft.
  2. Once soft, add the veggies into the saucepan with the sauce and stir through.

Final step:

  1. Add the tofu into the sauce and stir through, reheat for a couple of minutes before serving with sticky white rice, sesame seeds and extra spring onions.

Recipe Notes

If you prefer crunchy tofu, try frying off your tofu in some sesame oil, prior to adding to the oven, and you may need to reduce the cooking time. Add the tofu on top of the sauce rather than stirring through.

For that authentic chewiness that traditional sweet and sour pork has, try preparing the tofu ahead of time and then placing it in the fridge until completely cool, warm it back up by adding to your sauce for a few minutes at the end.

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