The Flaming Vegan

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Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu
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Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

I have a confession: I am a great fan of that ingenious Oriental food import, tofu, and consider it a real godsend to vegans. Maybe that is a surprising statement, considering there are a number of people who think it is “meh”, because it doesn’t really taste of anything, but that is just why I love it: it is so versatile, it soaks up all different flavours, and you can cook it in many different ways. I especially enjoy it when it is cooked to crispy perfection with a spicy sauce, as in this easy and yummy dish.

Tofu (bean curd) is pure protein, so it is a wonderful fat-free replacement for meat or animal products in a lot of dishes.  This classic sweet-and-sour recipe is definitely bursting with flavour, filling and healthy, since the recipe incorporates a lot of vegetables, too (so serve this to someone who thinks that tofu is tasteless mush, and you should find they quickly change their mind). It’s a complete meal with some steamed or boiled rice, and then it will be very low in fat (or you could have fried rice with it, to be a bit more indulgent).

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 large carrot, cut into slivers

6-8 spring onions

100 g (3½ oz) snow peas (mangetout)

2 tablespoons of light soy sauce

1½ tablespoons of caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup

375 ml (13 fl. oz/1½ cups) vegetable stock

600 g (1 lb 5 oz) firm tofu

60-80 ml (2-2½ fl. oz/¼ cup) vegetable oil

185 g (6½ oz/2 cups) bean sprouts or soybeans sprouts, trimmed

90 g (3½ oz) /1 cup) sliced button mushrooms

1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch), dissolved in 2 tbsp. water

80 ml (2½ fl. oz/¼ cup) rice vinegar

 

Method

1) Slice the carrot into thin strips, slice the spring onions diagonally, and halve the snow peas diagonally.

2) Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, tomato sauce and vegetable stock in a small bowl.

3) Cut the tofu in two horizontally, then slice into 16 triangles or cubes in total.  Put a wok on a high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl it around till the base and sides are all coated.  Add the tofu in a few small batches, and stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden. Drain on a paper towel, set aside and keep warm.

4) Wipe the wok clean, then reheat, until very hot. Add the remaining oil and once again swirl around until coated all over.  Add the vegetables and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the sauce and stir-fry for 1 minute more.  Add the cornflour sauce and cook until the sauce thickens.

5) Divide the tofu among the serving bowls and spoon some of the vegetables and sauce over the top. Serve with steamed rice.

 

Picture courtesy of www.domesticallyblissful.com

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