Try this sweet and sour tofu recipe from the 'Tiffy Cooks' cookbook

A tasty tofu recipe to make for dinner this week

Image for Try this sweet and sour tofu recipe from the 'Tiffy Cooks' cookbook
Images provided by Penguin Random House.

In a world that's chock full of plant-based "meats" and "cheeses", we've always appreciated the unadulterated nature of a block of tofu. Be it soft, medium-firm, firm, smoked, or otherwise, the best thing about tofu is that it works with, well, virtually any flavour profile.

As popular blogger and TikToker Tiffy Chen will remind you with this recipe from her upcoming cookbook Tiffy Cooks: 88 Easy Asian Recipes from My Family to Yours, tofu is the perfect blank-canvas ingredient to have on-hand at all times.

"One thing I always have in my fridge is tofu. Tofu is such a great protein because it’s healthy and really soaks up flavours. It also cooks fast and is super versatile," says Tiffy Chen in the introduction to this recipe in her debut cookbook.

"I created this recipe for a friend of mine in university who had never had sweet and sour chicken because she was vegetarian. I will never forget my friend’s reaction when she took her first bite—she was blown away by all the flavours and even packed up all the leftovers to go," she says.

Tiffy Cooks' sweet and sour tofu recipe

1 package (1 pound / 450g) medium-firm tofu, cut into bite-size cubes

2 tablespoons salt

1 ½ cups tapioca starch

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 cup canola oil

1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce

1 tablespoon plum sauce

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions (green part only), for garnish


In a medium bowl, soak the tofu in the salt and 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Make sure all the tofu is covered in water. The brine will draw out excess moisture from the tofu, helping it become crispy and flavorful when cooked. Drain the tofu and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a large bowl, stir together the tapioca starch and white pepper. Add the tofu and gently toss to coat completely. Let the tofu sit in the mixture for 5 minutes to ensure the coating sticks.

Heat the canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until crispy and golden brown all over. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the tofu to a large plate. Pour out the oil and wipe the pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, ketchup, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, plum sauce, and sugar.

Add the sauce into the same pan and simmer over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until it thickens. Add the crispy fried tofu, increase the heat to high, and sauté for 1 minute, turning to coat with the sauce.

Transfer to a plate and garnish with the sesame seeds and scallions. Serve immediately.

Serves 2