Chinese New Year is this weekend, and we’ll be welcoming in the Year of the Rooster. According to Chinese astrology, the Year of the Rooster will be filled with integrity and efficiency. It is predicted that this will be a good year for careers and financial investments. It’s also predicted that 2017 will be a good year for love and relationships.
Sweet and sour is actually a generic term that encompasses many styles of sauces and cooking methods. Although we usually think of Chinese food when we think of sweet and sour, it’s been popular in England and throughout Europe for hundreds of years. Many places in China use sweet and sour sauce for dipping their food, rather than as a cooking sauce, as is commonly found in westernized Chinese food.
Most recipes for sweet and sour call for the protein to be battered and fried, and while I do find that tasty, I have found that it often falls apart after it’s mixed with the sauce, and it never reheats well. For my version of Sweet and Sour Tofu, I’ve simply fried the tofu in tamari until it’s crisp and brown, which is one of my favorite ways to cook it. Onions, peppers, and pineapple are then stir-fried and mixed, along with the tofu, in a sweet, sour, and slightly spicy sauce.
Sweet and Sour Tofu is a quick and easy dish that can be served for dinner on busy weeknights. It’s also perfect for a lazy week meal, too. It’s a great dish with which to usher in the Year of the Rooster, too.
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos, divided
- 1 package (14 ounces) firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into small cubes
- ½ cup diced sweet onion (about half an onion)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- 3 tablespoons agave
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 3 – 4 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
- hot sauce, for serving, optional
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of tamari in large pan over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the tofu for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan Add the onion and a pinch of sea salt. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent.
- Add the red and green bell pepper, and the pineapple to the pan. Cook until the peppers have softened, about 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
- Mix together the water and cornstarch.
- Whisk together the remaining tamari, the pineapple juice, agave, rice vinegar, tomato pate, garlic chili paste, garlic, and ginger. Add the cornstarch slurry to the mixture and whisk to combine
- Add the tofu back to pan along with the sauce. Gently stir to combine. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the sauce thickens and is heated throughout.
- Remove from the heat and mix in the sesame oil
- Top with sliced scallions. Serve hot with brown rice.