Sweet & Sour Tofu

Sweet & Sour Tofu


The bold flavor of this glaze showcases balance between sweet, acid and spice. With garlic, ginger, chiles, and sake, this dish holds up as a hearty main course.
  • Serves: 4
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
  • Views: 23,858
  • Success Rating: 67% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Baking the Tofu

• 2 blocks extra firm tofu, pressed
• 5 tbsp tamari
• 1 tsp garlic granules (optional)
• 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
• non-stick spray


To bake the tofu, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Slice each block of tofu, width–wise, into 6 slabs. You should have 12 pieces total. Gently toss the tofu with the tamari (and other flavorings, if using).

Spray a baking tray with non–stick spray and place the tofu onto tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on each side.

The tofu is done when it’s golden and slightly firm. Remove and allow to rest while you prepare the glaze.

*NOTE: For a stronger flavor for the tofu, alternatively you can marinate the tofu in the glaze mixture and continue to bake in the marinade. Use the remaining liquid to reduce as the glaze.

Step 2: Making the Glaze

• 2 cups pineapple juice
• 1 cup sake
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 1/4 cup Apricot Paste*
• 3 tbsp honey or agave
• 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 1 tbsp ginger, finely minced
• 1/2 tsp chile pepper, minced
• 2 tbsp arrowroot
• 1/4 cup water


To make the glaze, using a small pot, whisk together the pineapple juice, sake, vinegar, apricot, honey, garlic, ginger and chile.

Bring to a simmer over medium–high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium and let gently simmer for approximately 25 minutes, or until reduced by about a third.

Meanwhile, mix together the arrowroot and water to create a slurry.

Once the glaze is ready, slowly pour in the slurry until you reach a glaze–like consistency. The glaze should nicely coat the back of a spoon. Allow to simmer for another minute or so to cook out the starch flavor. Remove from the heat.

Step 3: Frying the Tofu

• 1/2 cup green onions, finely sliced


Heat a non–stick pan over medium–high heat. Once hot, place the tofu into the pan, making sure there is enough space between the pieces. If needed, cook in 2 batches. Sear the tofu on both sides.

Ladle glaze over each piece, making sure they are generously covered. Flip and repeat with more glaze.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle the tofu with sliced green onions.

If desired, serve with Soba Noodle Salad.

Chef's Notes

*This recipe uses whole food sweeteners. While we’ve used apricot paste, you could also use pineapple or mango paste.

The finished tofu can be put in wraps, rice bowls, or cubed for other stir-fries.


  • Ann D
    Ann D
    what is tamari?
  • Chad S Rouxbe Staff
    Chad S
    Tamari is a concentrated soy sauce, that is a bit richer in taste, and heavier than soy sauce. Both soy and tamari are made from a combination of soy beans and wheat, with a main differentiator being that tamari has little to no wheat in the process. Either can be used in this recipe. Hope thats helpful. Chad
  • Huyen T
    Huyen T
    Can we freeze the sauce? Would it be wise to freeze the sauce before or after adding the arrow root powder?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    I am sure you could freeze the sauce. As for when to store it, I would more inclined to store it before adding the arrow root powder, because once the sauce thaws, it might be runnier anyway, so there is no sense in having to thicken it twice. Hope that helps. Cheers!
  • Omar E
    Omar E
    What would be a good non-alcoholic substitute for the sake? Cornstarch would work well instead of the arrowroot?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Omar- Just a bit of light stock and some lemon juice will be OK, it's a hard thing to substitute since the flavor is so unique. Cornstarch and arrowroot are mostly interchangeable - so that substitution works well. Good luck! ~Ken
  • Karen A
    Karen A
    I was searching for plant strong recipe and this came up. It uses non-stick spray to cook with which I thought was not plant strong.
  • Kirk B Rouxbe Staff
    Kirk B
    Hi there Karen - so great question. There are some cooking sprays on the market that are vegan friendly - look for sprays that use Coconut oil, Olive oil, Avocado Oil or Palm oil. Let me know if this helps...thanks for engaging with Rouxbe! Chef Kirk
  • Vivian V
    Vivian V
    Well, i followed the recipe but am disappointed with the glaze and the soggy way the tofu came out. I had high hopes for this dish but this was not what was expected. I decided to rebake the glazed-over tofu pieces to see if the sogginess can be reduced. i wonder if i am comparing this to one of my favorite dishes in a chinese restaurant in pasadena, Kung Pao Tofu?
  • Kirk B Rouxbe Staff
    Kirk B
    Hi Vivian - thanks for your comments - so sorry the recipe didn't turn out as desired. One thought - most frequently, Kung Pao Tofu is prepared in a very hot wok - which nicely sears the surface of the tofu and prevents it from becoming soggy. I am wondering if you are able to sear your tofu at a higher heat - to be able to withstand the sweet & sour glaze? Another option is the bake the tofu at high heat, separately and then apply the glaze? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks again for engaging with Rouxbe Vivian. Chef Kirk
  • Mims E
    Mims E
    if idont have arrowroot powder in hand, what would be the best substitute? thank you for your time...
  • Kirk B Rouxbe Staff
    Kirk B
    HI Mims and thanks for your question. You can certainly try corn starch for your slurry - that should work just fine! Thanks for cooking with Rouxbe! Chef Kirk
  • Julie B
    Julie B
    I use mirin instead of sake but that is not non-alcoholic.
  • Holly D
    Holly D
    This worked put really well, thanks. I'd rate it 100% if I could! I could only find cheap, sugary pineapple juice in the store. OK, it helps with the sweet and sour but any thoughts for a simple, premium ingredient as a substitute that would change my score to 110%!?

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