We’ve come to know sweet and sour Chinese-style dishes in two basic forms. As a stir fry, floured thin strips of pork or fish are tossed with sweet and sour sauce and some vegetables (often, just added for color). Or the dish can consist of a whole fish that had been deep fried until crisp, laid on a platter, smothered with sweet and sour sauce and topped with finely sliced vegetables.
But those aren’t the only ways to enjoy that ubiquitous, iconic and incomparable sweet and sour sauce. You can make a meatless sweet and sour sauce dish and serve it as a side dish to fried or grilled fish or meat. Or, if you’re into vegetarian dishes, you can serve the meatless sweet and sour dish with steaming-hot rice and you have a complete meal.
Will a meatless sweet and sour dish be as filling as the ones with meat or fish? Sure — if you use ingredients that have enough bulk in them. Like tofu and sweet potatoes.
Recipe: Meatless sweet and sour dish with tofu and sweet potatoes
- about 1 c. of vegetable oil
- about 150 g. of firm tofu, cut into one-inch cubes
- about 1 c. of cubed sweet potato (one-inch cubes to match the tofu)
- about 15 pcs. of chicharo (see snow peas, snap peas, sweet peas, mangetout and edamame), stringed and trimmed, cut in halves if large
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1/2 tsp. of pepper
- 1/4 c. of sweet and sour sauce (get the recipe)
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Fry the tofu pieces until lightly browned. Scoop out and drain on a stack of kitchen paper or in a colander.
- Into the hot oil, add the sweet potato cubes and cook over high heat until the edges are lightly browned. Scoop out and drain as well.
- Pour off the oil, leaving only about a tablespoonful in the pan.
- Reheat the oil and saute the onion and garlic just until fragrant. Add the peas. Cook, stirring often, for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tofu to the vegetables in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir.
- Add the sweet potato cubes.
- Pour in the sweet and sour sauce. Stir. Cook just until the sauce starts to bubble.
- I served my sweet and sour tofu and sweet potato with fried bangus belly fillets.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3