Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu

Make this sweet and sour tofu in minutes and forget about the takeout!

It took me a long time to warm up to the idea of tofu. I pretty much thought all versions of it were like the slimy disgusting stuff you find in the warmed up toilet water they call miso soup. Once I realized Chinese takeout is probably not the best barometer for judging a food’s potential, however, the world of crispy pan fried tofu squares opened up.

Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu

There were a few mishaps along the way to a decent tofu meal like buying the silken kind by accident instead of extra firm. Or, being lazy and not spending a few extra minutes to press the water out of it before cubing, figuring it couldn’t make that much of a difference. But now I know.
Sweet and Sour Tofu
And now, when I forget to take something out of the freezer to defrost for dinner, I almost always have a package of tofu in the fridge as a protein packed, vegetarian backup plan.
Crispy Tofu
The super firm tofu from Wildwood I used for this sweet & sour tofu was one of the best I’ve tried. It’s legitimately firm and almost needed no pressing, and I loved that it’s made with sprouted soybeans. I’m somewhat conscious of the amount of soy and grains I eat and try to eat sprouted varieties whenever possible so this was a definite plus. So while I stand firm in my distaste for miso soup (seriously, I’ll never understand you people who slurp that stuff up), I do love a good sweet & sour Chinese takeout dish which is exactly what I wanted to recreate with this pan fried tofu. It’s sweet from the honey, sour from the squeeze of lime juice, salty from the soy sauce and caramelizes into a delicious sticky coating on the tofu when it’s all tossed together at the end. The trick to the crispiness is to leave the tofu alone once you put it in the pan and the trick to the sticky sauce is a hot pan. Simple enough, right? Serve it over some sticky white rice and you’ve got yourself a way better for you version of takeout.
Crispy Tofu
Serves 4     adjust servings

Crispy sweet & sour tofu

Cook Time 10 min Prep Time
Preparation 10 min Cook Time
Total Time 20 mins Total Time

Make this sweet and sour tofu in minutes and forget about the takeout! The outside is super crispy and glazed in sweet and sour sauce. Perfect with some white rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed & cubed
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint

Instructions

  1. Toss the cubed tofu with the corn meal and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add the tofu and let cook for about 5 minutes per side until golden brown.
  4. Flip each cube over and cook again until the other side is browned.
  5. While tofu cooks, make a paste out of the garlic and ginger, add to a small bowl.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and whisk together.
  7. Remove the tofu to a plate.
  8. Add the sauce from the bowl to the hot skillet and let cook for about 30 seconds.
  9. Add the tofu back to the skillet and toss until fully coated with the sauce.
  10. Serve with white rice and garnish with scallions.

144 Comments

  1. Erika

    Great idea! I love using tofu to re-create my favorite chinese takeout recipes. I would make mongolian tofu – one of my favorites at our local chinese restaurant.

    Reply
  2. Emily

    I’m mildly obsessed with BBQ so my go-to tofu recipe involved grilling or baking BBQ tofu. I only buy the sprouted kind as well, I don’t restrict myself in terms of soy but I’m aware of it. This recipe looks delicious :)

    Reply
  3. Kelly D

    I would like to try the Wildwood Original Meatless Meatballs and I would make spaghetti and meatballs for my family. My kids would enjoy this meal since they tend to go for simpler yet delicious dinners.

    Reply
  4. Abby

    I would make your recipe because it looks amazing and the only time I have had tofu is at a resturNt and it was not appealing!

    Reply
  5. Anna

    Tofu is great, but only if you prepare it properly. I too made mistakes when I first started cooking with it, but now I love it! I love baking up a batch of marinaded tofu to add to dishes all week long!

    Reply
  6. Adina

    This tofu recipe looks amazing. My absolute favorite way to cook tofu is in the oven though, because I can put it in and forget about it.

    Reply
  7. Kristen B

    I’d love to try this sweet and sour tofu! We also love making asian lettuce wraps with tofu as our protein!

    Reply
  8. Kat

    I’m TOFU retarted when it comes to cooking it and my kid LOVES Tofu. For the record, she loves miso soup tofu :) anywho, I need to make this.

    Reply
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  10. Betsy

    I love tofu – and I’m not a vegetarian! I’d use it to make this sweet & sour tofu, and I also really like it in smoothies.

    Reply
  11. Theresa Rothweiler

    I have a recipe for Pineapple Not So Fried Rice that is extremely good and uses tofu so I would make that!

    Reply
  12. Hj Witzel

    Oh boy, your tofu looks so delicious!!! I LOVE tofu, but my hubby isn’t a fan of it unless it’s crispy outside and not-so-mushy inside. I think I’ll give your recipe a try if (even if I don’t win) I win this giveaway!!!

    Reply
  13. Megan

    I’d make this, honestly! Tofu isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about, but your pics look sooooo good! :)

    Reply
  14. marlies

    Yum! I would make miso soup! haha i know you’re not a fan, but i love it! I’ve had sub-par miso soup for sure, but I think when you make it yourself you can do some QC :)

    Reply
  15. Mahdi M

    I’d make broiled tofu. I recently got turned on to it, and it’s really easy! All I do is drain the tofu for about 6 hours in a strainer(just slit the package and let it sit there upside down). Season it how I want, (I like to mix butter and olive oil with different seasonings) and broil it for about 9 minutes on each side for medium sized rectangular cubes in a foil lined pan. So easy and the oven gives it a wonderful flavor that you can’t achieve stovetop.

    Reply
  16. Rachel

    I like making baked tofu, seasoned with some soy sauce and sesame oil. Great on top of salads or with stir fries!

    Reply
  17. Rachel

    I had a lemon tofu at a Korean restaurant. The dish was amazing! It’s similar to lemon chicken. I’ve been trying to recreate it!

    Reply
  18. ALEX

    I love making tofu stirfrys and throwing in whatever vegetables I have to use up, waterchestnuts, and baby corn

    Reply
  19. Madeline

    I’d like to make Peanut Noodles with the Tomato & Herbs Angel Hair (the dish uses ginger, sesame oil, green onions, peanut butter, soy sauce, and of course, noodles).

    Reply
  20. Maya

    I’m pretty appalled that no one has said anything yet about your racist comment that miso soup is “warmed up toilet water.” You’re allowed to personally dislike whatever foods you want but saying that certain foods from non-Western countries are equivalent to sewage is racist. Miso soup is also Japanese, not Chinese, so in the future do your research before you insult ethnic foods in a racist way.

    Reply
  21. Kristina

    Gina, I just made this and it was an absolute hit! I have been trying to make tofu taste delicious at home for a while now, and this was by far the best tofu I have made. I love the trick of coating it in cornmeal, it was so crispy. Then by tossing in the sauce at the end, it kept it nice and crispy and was perfect. Thanks to this new technique, I will be making tofu much more often :)

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      yay! so glad you liked it :) I’m never going back to non-cornmeal crusted tofu after this either, so good, right?!

      Reply
  22. Ally

    I’d probably make this! My usual standby is oven baked tofu with peanut sauce but I looooove a new recipe (:

    P.S. Thank goodness. I can’t stand miso soup either and my friends think I’m crazy.

    Reply
  23. LAMusing

    Meatless meatballs – I can use my fave sweet and sour sauce with them and serve over rice with grilled pineapple.

    Reply
  24. Wild Orchid

    I would love to use the Wildwood Slim Longnoodle pasta with my spaghetti and meatball recipe.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

    Reply
  25. Nicole Larsen

    I would use the Pasta Slim Tofu Spaghetti Noodles to make Spaghetti since that’s one of our favorite dishes!

    Reply
  26. Tabathia B

    I would use the Meatless Crumbles Italian-Inspired and add it to the wildwood spaghetti

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    Reply
  27. Lisa Garner

    I would love to make fish tacos with Wildwood/Emerald Valley Kitchen Organic Salsa.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

    Reply
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  29. Laura

    This is awesome! I am always looking for ways to cook tofu that won’t end up with it being mushy, and this was perfect. My meat eating boyfriend loved the texture too. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
  30. Marie Shanahan

    I just tried to make tofu at home, myself, for the first time tonight and it came out INCREDIBLE!! Thanks so much for your wise council and recipes, they really helped me to figure out how to cook it. It’s a bit “daunting” just in that it’s so watery/squishy and “odd” when you aren’t used to cooking with it. But it came out good. So thank you!

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      Yeah, or use the side of the knife. It doesn’t have to be completely paste like, basically just to mix them together and get it more incorporated than mincing the two would.

      Reply
  31. Brooke Lazor

    Just made this! Adding the cornmeal is such a great idea for the tofu and added some great texture. I would normally crisp the tofu, then just add soy sauce, hot sauce and honey to the tofu while it’s in the pan but it doesn’t exactly coat, become a sauce, or work very well. LOL! Reducing the sauce really adds to it!

    Thx for the recipe! :)

    Reply
  32. Terrie K.

    I would make crispy Wildwood extra firm tofu with schezuan stir-fry broccoli. Thank you for your recipe and all the hints you provided.

    Reply
  33. Jessica

    I literally just made this and I’m sitting here in awe of how crispy the tofu is and how delightfully sticky the sauce it! Thanks for this recipe, it’s a keeper!!!

    Reply
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  35. Kellylynn Vercher Browne

    This is a winner my Pastors wife liked it with a Very Good remark. This is just as good as my Bourban tofu recipe and I plan on making it for our couples meeting.Thanks so much for posting this great recipe sometimes one ingredient can make a world of difference.

    Reply
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  38. vivian

    Made this tonight, and I loved the flavour. Served with rice and stir fried vegetables. i’m so glad there is some left over for lunch tomorrow. Thanks!

    Reply

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