Tuesday, November 14, 2023
HomeHealth CoachCandy And Bitter Tofu | The Choosy Eater

Candy And Bitter Tofu | The Choosy Eater

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This flavorful candy and bitter tofu full of a lot of yummy greens is the right family-friendly meal. Aromatic garlic, candy pineapple, crunchy bell pepper, hearty broccoli, crispy tofu items and brown rice are tossed in a selfmade candy and bitter sauce, making this straightforward recipe style even higher than takeout!

Vegan sweet and sour tofu, served on a white plate with chopsticks.

Selfmade candy and bitter tofu loaded with veggies and a scrumptious tangy sauce over brown rice — what might be extra satisfying? It’s a more healthy model of candy and bitter rooster or candy and bitter pork out of your favourite Chinese language restaurant with all the taste however not one of the guilt.

I really like recreating wholesome, vegan or vegetarian variations of our favourite takeout meals at house, and this recipe isn’t any exception! This vegan candy and bitter tofu recipe is tremendous straightforward to make, so colourful and satisfying, and has turn into a staple at my home and one my complete household enjoys.

Sometimes, candy and bitter recipes are full of sugar — in spite of everything, that’s the place the “candy” comes from. However I found out a technique to recreate that basic taste with method much less sugar than the standard model!

Utilizing tofu as a substitute of meat is one other wholesome vegan-friendly swap, and pan-frying it with a little bit of oil (olive oil or vegetable oil) offers it nice texture with out the added fats of deep-frying.

The tangy-sweet taste of this candy and bitter stir fry pairs completely with brown rice, and I assure it can depart your total household wanting extra!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love This Candy And Bitter Tofu

  • Packed With Veggies: Getting veggies into choosy eaters is difficult, even when these choosy eaters are adults! The thick candy and bitter sauce coats the peerlessly cooked veggies and makes them extra palatable on this straightforward recipe. You’ll positively need to add this recipe into your meal plan rotation!
  • Loaded With Plant-Based mostly Protein: Searching for a good way to get extra protein into your loved ones? Tofu has loads of protein, however the different plant primarily based components have protein too, making this recipe for candy and bitter tofu with greens one you’ll need to make repeatedly.
  • Easy And Cheap: This candy and bitter veggie stir fry consists of cheap components like tofu, veggies, and brown rice. You could even have all of the sauce components stocked in your pantry proper now, making this a budget-friendly dish.
  • Versatile: Swap out the veggies for no matter you may have readily available, serve over noodles or white rice as a substitute of brown, or change the protein to one thing like tempeh or a store-bought meat various. One among my favourite issues about this recipe is how customizable it’s!

Newest Recipe Video!

🥘 Components

This tofu candy and bitter recipe accommodates healthful easy components so you possibly can be ok with cooking it for your loved ones. If that is your first time attempting tofu, I wager you’ll adore it and begin on the lookout for extra tofu recipes after this!

Ingredients for sweet and sour tofu recipe on a white background.
  • Tofu: I like to recommend further agency tofu as a result of it has the perfect meaty texture. If you’ll find tremendous agency tofu that comes vacuum-sealed (as a substitute of packed in a bathtub of water), you don’t even must press it! I don’t advocate silken tofu or comfortable tofu on this recipe.
  • Onion, Garlic And Ginger: These aromatics add tons of taste to this candy and bitter tofu with pineapple and greens! You should utilize a purple or yellow onion.
  • Veggies: I used purple bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and bok choy — however you should utilize any veggies you may have readily available!
  • Pineapple: Non-obligatory, however I really like the feel of it on this stir fry and it provides to the candy and bitter really feel of this recipe!
  • Olive Oil, Salt To Style: Vital for any dish!
  • Inexperienced Onions: For garnish and crunch. You can too use toasted sesame seeds for a beautiful crunchy and nutty taste.
  • Sauce Components: You’ll want lemon juice, soy sauce, some form of sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar or coconut sugar), candy chili sauce, cornstarch and water.
  • Brown Rice: I exploit about 1/4 cup of cooked brown rice per serving — it’s an incredible accompaniment to this dish!

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Tofu: Should you can’t discover further agency tofu by you or don’t prefer it, tempeh or a store-bought meat various will work properly on this candy and bitter sauce tofu recipe. I like to recommend steaming tempeh earlier than utilizing it. Should you bought a meat various, put together based on bundle instructions and add to the stir fry close to the tip of the cooking course of.
  • Onion, Garlic, And Ginger: Should you’re desirous to skip a couple of steps, you should utilize garlic powder, onion powder, and floor ginger when you favor. The flavour will likely be barely completely different however it can nonetheless style good. Add these to the sauce components when you select to make this substitution.
  • Pineapple: Be at liberty to go away this out, however I like to recommend you embody it when you can! Contemporary pineapple is greatest to create the candy and tangy pineapple sauce, but when it is advisable to use canned pineapple chunks, simply get the type packed in pineapple juice, not syrup.
  • Olive Oil: Vegetable oil additionally works. I don’t advocate utilizing sesame oil rather than the olive oil, however you can positively add a small quantity (a couple of teaspoon) to the sauce if you need a nuttier taste.
  • Lemon Juice: Acid in some kind is important to the bitter taste a part of candy and bitter sauce. Rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar work properly rather than lemon juice. White vinegar is usually a little too bitter for this dish.
  • Soy Sauce: I used common soy sauce on this recipe, however lowered sodium soy sauce works properly too. Alternatively, coconut aminos are an incredible decrease sodium choice however remember the fact that they’ve a barely candy taste that can have an effect on the sauce. If you would like a stronger soy sauce taste, attempt darkish soy sauce.
  • Cornstarch: Arrowroot powder is a superb substitute for cornstarch. Rice flour or tapioca starch additionally work.
  • Brown Rice: Should you don’t love brown rice, white rice and even quinoa will work tremendous too.

🔪 How To Make Candy And Bitter Tofu

There’s a couple of completely different parts to this scrumptious straightforward candy and bitter tofu recipe, however there’s loads of methods to save lots of time. Hold studying for my favourite ideas and methods!

How To Put together Tofu

Drain The Water: Take away the tofu from the bundle and drain the water. Then, it is advisable to take away as a lot of the water as attainable in order that the tofu cooks up good and agency (soggy tofu shouldn’t be good).

Press The Tofu: That’s why I like to recommend shopping for further agency tofu to begin, so that you’ll have already got a few of the work accomplished for you. To take away the water, you possibly can both let the block of tofu relaxation on a plate on a paper towel, press it with two heavy pans and paper towels, or use a tofu press. Generally I put the tofu between two small chopping boards and put a heavy weight on high of the tofu (like a kettlebell!) to assist encourage the water to empty.

Block of tofu on a cutting board.

Save Time: Don’t need to press tofu? Vacuum-packed further agency tofu (typically labeled tremendous agency tofu or excessive protein tofu) will prevent on prep time as a result of it’s pre-pressed and the surplus water is already eliminated!

How To Make Tofu Crispy

Reduce The Tofu: Reduce the tofu in half, and if wanted, place every half in 2 clear paper towels separately and gently press/squeeze to take away extra saved liquid (with out breaking apart the tofu). Upon getting eliminated the water, reduce the tofu into ½-inch cubes.

Tofu cut into cubes, on a wooden cutting board.

Add To A Giant Skillet: Add the pressed tofu to the massive pan (give just a little respiratory room in between every tofu dice) and pan fry on medium warmth with half a tablespoon of olive oil and a pair sprays of olive oil cooking spray on high of the tofu.

Tofu cubes being pan fried in a pan.

Prepare dinner The Tofu: Combine and switch incessantly (each 2-3 minutes) till all of the water is burned off and the tofu is frivolously golden brown on most sides (make certain to not burn the tofu). I like to recommend not doing the rest whereas the tofu cooks simply because it does cook dinner shortly (additionally be sure that your range is ready to medium warmth, not medium-high warmth). Should you discover that the tofu is sticking to the pan, add just a little extra olive oil cooking spray. Put aside your crispy tofu cubes.

baked tofu on a baking sheet

How To Stir Fry The Veggies

Prepare dinner The Garlic and Ginger: In a big non-stick frying pan or (or a big wok), warmth 1 ½ tablespoons of oil on medium warmth. Add the contemporary garlic and ginger and fry for about 10-15 seconds till aromatic.

Prepare dinner The Veggies: Add the onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, and broccoli and toss to mix. Combine incessantly and sauté till all of the greens are cooked and tender, but nonetheless stay crispy. Observe that each one the water launched from cooking the mushrooms ought to burn off whereas sautéing the greens. When you’ve got an excessive amount of water, you possibly can let it cook dinner off a bit or you possibly can drain the water, utilizing tongs to maintain the veggies within the pan. Within the meantime, put together the candy and bitter sauce.

sauteed veggies in a wok

To Put together The Sauce

Combine All Components: Whisk all of the sauce components in a small bowl till all of the cornstarch has dissolved. Add roughly candy chili sauce relying in your desire of spice. Style the sauce previous to including it to the dish to be sure you have the correct quantity of sweetness and saltiness.

sauce ingredients mixed in a bow

Ultimate Steps

Add The Cooked Tofu and Sauce: As soon as the greens are tender and crispy, flip the warmth all the way down to medium-low. Add the pan-fried tofu to the greens. Slowly add the sauce and toss with the greens and tofu. After a couple of minute, add the pineapple chunks and chopped bok choy.

tofu added to veggies in wok

Prepare dinner On Medium Low, Then Serve: Combine slowly on medium-low warmth till the sauce begins to thicken and coat the greens and tofu. Make certain to not burn off all of the sauce (this could solely take 5-10 minutes). If for some purpose you may have an excessive amount of liquid, you possibly can sprinkle in a tiny bit extra cornstarch (attempt ¼ to ½ teaspoon as little goes a great distance). Flip off the warmth and add the chopped inexperienced onions. Toss as soon as extra and serve sizzling on a contemporary mattress of rice.

Vegan sweet and sour tofu stir fry in a wok on the stove.

💭 Knowledgeable Ideas

  • Use Totally different Veggies: Be at liberty to substitute in several veggies primarily based in your tastes and what you may have readily available. Simply watch the cook dinner time, as firmer veggies might want to cook dinner longer and softer veggies (like zucchini or squash) will cook dinner a lot quicker!
  • Reduce Veggies Constantly: Attempt to reduce your veggies in comparable sized items so that they cook dinner evenly.
  • Press Extra Water From Tofu: Make sure to get out all the additional moisture from the tofu. It’s going to crisp up higher when the surplus moisture has been eliminated.
  • Pay Consideration Whereas Cooking Tofu: I like to recommend babysitting the pan of tofu whereas it cooks. You’ll need to flip the tofu typically to maintain it from burning, so preserve. I particularly advocate staying by the pan if that is your first time cooking tofu.
  • Don’t Overcook It: It’s essential to not overcook the sauce, tofu, and veggies collectively. The sauce will cut back and burn off shortly when you don’t regulate it. Stir incessantly!
  • Strive Freezing Your Tofu In Advance: Freeze your tofu (within the unopened bundle) in a single day (or longer, as much as 3 months) and thaw within the fridge absolutely. Drain and press as instructed. This technique of freezing the tofu and thawing it will probably change the feel of the tofu, making it meatier and chewier (and helps it crisp up much more). You possibly can freeze and thaw it twice for much more of a chewy and meaty texture when you like.
  • Add Extra Sweetener If You Desire: Whereas every thing is cooking down, rigorously style a little bit of the sauce. Not candy sufficient for you? Add a splash extra and stir properly.

📖 Variations 

  • Candy And Bitter Tempeh: Steam your tempeh block for 10 minutes, then reduce into ½-inch cubes. Pan fry as directed (the identical because the tofu) till frivolously golden brown. Proceed with the recipe or serve straight on high of cooked veggies.
  • Candy And Bitter Veggies: Should you simply need the veggies, you possibly can skip the entire tofu part and simply comply with the remainder of the recipe to make a candy and bitter stir fry.
  • Candy And Bitter Cauliflower: Equally, you can make cauliflower the star of the dish as a substitute of tofu. Cauliflower simply takes on the flavors of the opposite components, and you may pan fry or roast it (much like tofu) to present it that meaty texture.
  • Candy And Bitter Sauce With Tomato: Many candy and bitter sauces include a tomato taste. Some people accomplish this with tomato paste, tomato puree, or tomato sauce. I like my selfmade sauce with out that, however you’re welcome to attempt including just a little and tasting till you get a sauce you’re keen on.

🍽 Serving Strategies

Serve this straightforward candy and bitter tofu as a wholesome and hearty foremost. Listed below are a couple of of my favourite pairings:

  • With Rice: This vegetarian candy and bitter tofu recipe is paired with brown rice, however white rice can be scrumptious right here and could also be most well-liked by children or choosy eaters. You might additionally attempt it with fried rice like my tofu fried rice for a enjoyable Chinese language meals night time.
  • With Noodles: Strive rice noodles, buckwheat/soba noodles, or your favourite noodles with this dish.
  • With Cauliflower Rice Or Zucchini Noodles: Should you’re watching your carbs, attempt cauliflower rice or spiralized zucchini noodles for simple wholesome consuming. For extra protein, serve it with my strain cooker quinoa.
  • A Fancy Presentation: Need to impress your pals? Serve the candy and bitter tofu stir fry in two hollowed out pineapple halves (reduce the pineapple in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh). Drizzle on further candy and bitter sauce and high with finely sliced inexperienced onions and toasted sesame seeds.
  • For Children: Most children love every thing about this candy and bitter tofu. With the items of pineapple, the tangy sauce, and the general sweetness within the dish, it’s fairly irresistible. Occasionally, you’ll have a kiddo that isn’t an enormous fan, however it’s often as a result of she or he doesn’t like loads of greens. In that case, I like to recommend both chopping up the veggies tremendous small so that they don’t actually discover it, or serving them the tofu + brown rice and giving them a style of the veggies on the aspect. You possibly can all the time make the sauce in a small saucepan to only add sauce for the adults.

🙌 Dietary Diversifications

  • Gluten-Free Choice: To make this recipe gluten-free, use licensed gluten-free tofu and substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce. 
  • Vegan Choice: To make sure this scrumptious recipe is vegan-friendly, use agave or coconut sugar as a substitute of honey to make a vegan candy and bitter sauce.

🫙 Storage Instructions

Right here is retailer and preserve this candy and bitter tofu:

  • Refrigerating: Permit this veggie candy and bitter tofu to chill to room temperature, then place in an hermetic container (a big bowl with plastic wrap works) and retailer within the fridge for as much as 5 days. I don’t advocate freezing this recipe because the tofu will change texture as soon as frozen and reheated.
  • Reheating: You possibly can reheat this tofu dish within the microwave or on the stovetop in a skillet. Use medium warmth on the stovetop and heat till it’s sizzling. Then function you usually would. 

❓Recipe FAQs


Sure, tofu is definitely gluten-free. Nevertheless, some tofu will be uncovered to gluten in the course of the manufacturing and preparation course of. So when you comply with a gluten-free weight-reduction plan, be sure that to buy tofu that’s licensed gluten free.


Sure, you possibly can positively air-fry the tofu. I like to recommend tossing the reduce tofu cubes in just a little little bit of oil and spreading them in a single layer within the air fryer. Prepare dinner at 400 F / 200 C for 10-14 minutes, shaking the basket midway via. Add your air fried tofu to the pot proper earlier than you add the sauce.


Sure! Should you favor baked tofu otherwise you don’t use oil, add the tofu cubes to a lined baking tray in a single layer (house the cubes aside by no less than an inch so that they cook dinner evenly). Bake at 400 F / 200 C for 15-20 minutes, flipping the items about midway via. Add the baked tofu to the pot proper earlier than you add the sauce. 


The quick reply is sure, however typically tofu can stick in a forged iron skillet. Use loads of oil and flip the items typically.

Sweet and sour tofu with veggies, served on a white plate with chopsticks.

🍛 Extra Wholesome Tofu Recipes!

The vegan recipes beneath function tofu in some kind. There’s so some ways to organize this versatile protein!

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📋 Recipe Card

Candy And Bitter Tofu

This flavorful candy and bitter tofu full of a lot of yummy greens is the right family-friendly meal. Aromatic garlic, candy pineapple, crunchy bell pepper, hearty broccoli, crispy tofu items and brown rice are tossed in a selfmade candy and bitter sauce, making this straightforward recipe style even higher than takeout!

Prep Time40 minutes

Prepare dinner Time20 minutes

Whole Time1 hour

Course: Foremost Course

Delicacies: Asian, Vegan

Eating regimen: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 6 servings

Energy: 272kcal

  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free licensed tofu and substitute tamari for the soy sauce. 
  • To make sure this recipe is vegan-friendly, use agave or coconut sugar as a substitute of honey.
  • This recipe will preserve within the fridge in an hermetic container for as much as 4-5 days.
  • Be at liberty to omit the pineapple, or substitute in several veggies primarily based in your tastes and what you may have readily available. Simply watch the cook dinner time, as firmer veggies might want to cook dinner longer and softer veggies (like zucchini or squash) will cook dinner a lot quicker!
  • Make sure to get out all the additional moisture from the tofu. It’s going to crisp up higher when the surplus moisture has been eliminated. 
  • It’s essential to not overcook the sauce, tofu, and veggies collectively. The sauce will cut back and burn off shortly when you don’t regulate it.

Contributed by Vegetarian Gastronomy and modified by The Choosy Eater. 

Energy: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 17g | Fats: 8g | Saturated Fats: 2g | Sodium: 902mg | Potassium: 1691mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10.3g



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