This sweet and sour dish is one of my favourite ways to cook tofu. It's pretty quick to make - frying the tofu is the most time-consuming part. The sauce can be rustled up quickly using a few basic store cupboard ingredients. All you need then is some tofu and rice or noodles. You can also add a few vegetables here although I haven't included them in the recipe. A few strips of bell pepper or some mushrooms are nice. I often add a little fresh chili too.
For me the key to crispy tofu is to coat it in cornflour or cornstarch before frying and also to have the oil very hot.
1 packet of firm tofu, about 300g or 10½ ounces
2-3 tablespoons of fine maize meal or cornflour (cornstarch)
4 tablespoons of sunflower or canola oil
½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
3 tbsp water
1½ tablespoons of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of ketchup
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon of grated ginger (use about ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger if you don't have fresh)
I usually press the tofu first but this is up to you. At a minimum, drain it very well and pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Cut it into small chunks or thin slices. Now toss the tofu pieces in cornflour (cornstarch) or fine maize meal.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large wok or frying pan until very hot. Fry the tofu until crispy on the outside. Dry on paper towels and set aside. I find a good tongs invaluable for this because it allows you to handle the tofu pieces without breaking them.
Mix the cornflour with the water and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup and sugar.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the wok. Add the onions and stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and the soy sauce, vinegar, wine and sugar mixture. Bring to the boil and cook for about a minute.
Add the cornstarch and water mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened. This should take less than a minute.Add the tofu and stir for a minute just to heat through. Serve straight away with rice or noodles.