Sweet and sour tofu stir-fry

Yummy sweet and sour tofu stir-fry!

I absolutely love Asian cooking. Sweet and sour tofu stir-fry just happens to be one of the dishes I love to make the most, and it tastes even better made on a barbecue.

For this recipe, I’ve used the barbecue in two different ways: firstly, with the plancha. By using the flat side of the plancha and a good glug of vegetable oil, you can shallow fry the tofu; the cornflour coating allows the tofu to crisp up nicely. Secondly, with the wok. I can honestly say that there is no better feeling than cooking with a wok on the barbecue! With the open fire heating up the oil so quickly, you get a fantastic sizzle as your vegetables hit the pan!

We’re cooking over direct heat, so with a plancha, wok stand, and the wok itself over hot charcoal, you’re good to go! I use Monolith’s wok and wok stand, as the stand is sturdy and the wok is just massive – perfect for making sweet and sour tofu en masse!

Here's the set up we have on our Monolith - wok stand and wok

Serves 4. Prep time (including tofu pressing and marinating): 1 hour 15 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 30g (¼ cup) cornflour
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • A few tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chunkily sliced
  • 1 red onion, chunkily sliced
  • Any other stir fry veg you like! Eg baby corn, mange tout, bean sprouts, broccoli
  • 300g (1⅔ cups) brown rice

For the sweet and sour marinade:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • A thumb sized piece or ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 120ml (½ cup) soy sauce or tamari
  • 120ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
  • 60ml (¼ cup) lime juice
  • 120ml (½ cup) agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 120ml (½ cup) water

Allergens: soy (tofu, soy sauce – as this is a tofu recipe there’s really no getting away from the soy, sorry!), sesame (sesame seeds, sesame oil), gluten (soy sauce – use tamari to make it gluten free).

Minced chilli, ginger and garlic ready to cook

Making the sweet and sour tofu stir fry

Star by draining and pressing the tofu – leave to press for at least half an hour. For this recipe it’s really important to press the tofu well so that it soaks up all the delicious marinade.

In the meantime, for the sweet and sour marinade, pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil into a small saucepan and put it onto a medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and allow them to fry for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour the soy sauce, rice vinegar, agave syrup and sesame oil into the saucepan and mix with the chilli, ginger and garlic. Turn the heat up slightly and bring the mixture to the boil. Keep heating for a further 10 minutes, allowing the flavours to infuse and for the marinade to reduce down a little.

Take the marinade off the heat and set aside to cool. Once your tofu is pressed, cut it into thin squares – just over a centimetre thick, then about 3cm by 3cm wide. Put the tofu into a bowl and, when the marinade has cooled slightly, pour about half of the marinade over the tofu. Leave for about half an hour.

Light your barbecue. We’re cooking over direct heat using a plancha, so just make sure that before cooking your charcoals are hot and that your plancha is warmed through and brushed with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Coating the tofu in cornflour and sesame

Pour the 30g of cornflour and a tablespoon of the sesame seeds into a large bowl, and mix them together. Once the tofu has been marinating for half an hour, take each piece out and roll it in the cornflour and sesame mixture. Once coated, place each piece straight onto the plancha and fry for a couple of minutes on either side, until golden brown. Make sure to constantly keep an eye on the tofu pieces or they will burn! Once cooked, take the sweet and sour tofu off the plancha and set aside.

Shallow frying the sweet and sour tofu on the plancha

If there’s any marinade remaining in the bowl that hasn’t been soaked up by the tofu, pour it back into the pan with the rest of the marinade. Mix together the water and 2 teaspoons of cornflour in a small bowl, then add it to the marinade in the pan.

Cook the brown rice by boiling in water for around 15-20 minutes.

Take the plancha off the barbecue, and replace with the wok stand and wok. Pour another couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil into the wok and allow the oil to heat up for a couple of minutes. Then, throw in all of your stir fry veg and watch them sizzle! Keep stirring the veg for 5-10 minutes, until the onions and peppers have softened.

Sweet and sour tofu stir-fry veg cooking away in the wok on the Monolith barbecue

Pour the remaining half of the marinade into the wok with the vegetables and allow it to come to a boil. Heat for a further 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced down to a thicker, stickier consistency.

Serve the brown rice in a bowl, and top with the stir-fried vegetables and sweet and sour tofu. Pour some of the sweet and sour sauce on top and sprinkle with some sesame seeds to complete your sweet and sour tofu dish. Enjoy!


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