Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu. This dish screams color, texture, and humungous flavor! The play on sweet and savory plays so well with the stir-fried vegetables and crisp tofu creating a delightful experience for your taste buds!
Song of the day: “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan.
Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu. If you like Asian cuisine, then do I have a dish for you! It will tantalize your taste buds to no end and you will find that you may feel like you are finished eating, however, it keeps calling you back for just a bit more, similar to eating chips, you can’t just eat one serving!
Where are we this month?
When I heard where we were stopping this month on The Eat the World tour I was so excited. Nicoletta didn’t even rally for wanting to do a recipe, more so, she knew that I absolutely love this type of cuisine, so she bowed out and allowed me to play! However, she did help me with getting the dish together, always working as a team! Today we are traveling to Laos and we are creating Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu!
A bit about Laos
Laos is a Southeast Asian country known for its mountains and lush terrain. Did you know that they say Buddhas Breastbone lays in Laos? Thinking about Laos, all I kept envisioning is color and flavor. Nicoletta and I did some research and came to the conclusion that we wanted something vegetarian and also fun and easy to make. That is why we chose this particular dish. I think you would agree it is colorful and resonates joyfulness, deliciousness!
Prepping the tofu and vegetables
I always say the key to a great stir fry is organization and having all the ingredients ready. The list goes something like this:
- Drain the tofu and cut into bite-size cubes
- Cut up the carrots, celery, peppers, into thin slivers
- Wash and trim long green beans and broccolini
- Chop up the onion and mince the garlic
- Wash and pat dry the snow peapods
It’s all about the sauce!
To get that balance of sweet and sour we need a few things:
- sweet soy sauce
- light soy sauce
- hoisin sauce
- sweet chili sauce
- Chinese five-spice
- white pepper
- rice wine vinegar
Texture is the bomb!
When I eat a stir fry dish like this Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu, I want a nice play in texture: crunch, crisp, succulent, and tenderness!
- First things first, we need to get those lovely cubes of tofu marinated with soy sauce, and then all coated with cornstarch. This will crisp up when we fry them in the hot oil in the wok. After they are nice and crisp onto a paper towel-lined dish they go, to soak up any excess oil.
- Secondly, time to get those veggies cooked up. I use peanut oil and sesame oil in the wok. When it’s nice and hot I begin slowly adding the harder veggies first, followed by the softer one after. Stir-frying demands lots of tossing. We don’t want those veggies steamed, we want that end result of crunch at first bite, followed by some tenderness.
- Thirdly, we toss in our crispy tofu just before the veggies are almost done! A quick toss and we are ready to finish this amazing dish!
It is time to get the flavor into the wok. Before starting, I took all the ingredients for the sauce and whisked it in a bowl. I also mixed up some cold water and cornstarch!
Time to get this mixture into the hot wok. Slowly pour it in and toss and turn, flip with no flop! Wow, the aroma coming off the wok is amazingly sweet, acidic, savory, my stomach is growling!
Do you like what you see?
I am totally proud of how this turned out. It has color, aroma, texture and the addition of the toasted sesame seeds makes it a thing of beauty. Nicoletta is quite excited to try and she is giving me that look, similar to I’M HUNGRY! lol.
So why not, let’s eat!
Where do I start?
My mind is just buzzing. There is so much to try! Honestly, the first thing is that tofu! I love the crispiness of the surface and then you bite in deeper and there is this moist luxurious melt in your mouth creaminess! Then the veggies: the snow peas, crisp, sweet, along with those onions, and slivered carrots, and peppers. I like how the celery offers this nice fresh lightly peppery note to the whole and the broccolini that earthy-sweet deep robust richness we love so much.
Let’s talk sauce!
What really pulls everything together in this Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu, is that sweet and sour sauce. I love how the ketchup is deepened with the hoisin, tamarind, and soy. Then the vinegar comes up with a right hook to your taste buds only to be leveled out by the sugar. It is like a flavor explosion. Absolutely love it!
We always feel so honored to be a part of this fantastic group. Oh, by the way, check out all the wonderful Laotian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Khao Nom Kok (Lao Coconut Cakes)
Pandemonium Noshery: Laotian Party Noodles – Kua Mee
Making Miracles: Lao Grilled Chicken
Sneha’s Recipe Sai Gog Khao Jee
Kitchen Frau: Ping Gai (Lao Grilled Chicken Wings)
Sugarlovespices (us!): Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Pork Larb
Cultureatz: Pumpkin Coconut Milk Custard ( Sang kaya mak eu)
So join all of us in Laos and let’s cook up some of these exotic dishes together!
Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu, This dish screams color, texture and humungous flavor! The play on sweet and savory plays so well with the stir fried vegetables and crisp tofu creating a delightful experience for your taste buds!
- 350 g (1 package) medium-firm tofu
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- salt for seasoning
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
- 1 stick celery, cut into julienne strips
- 1 each small red/ yellow (bell) peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced into julienne strips
- 125 g (8 oz) mangetout (snow peas), trimmed and halved
- 200 g (4 oz) broccolini, trimmed and divided into florets
- 125 g (4 oz) thin green beans, halved
Sweet and sour sauce:
- 1 tbsp each of sweet soy sauce, tamarind sauce, hoisin, tomato ketchup, light soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, sugar, and white rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice
- a pinch of white pepper
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Drain tofu and pat dry with some paper towel, cut into bite-size pieces and toss gently with the soy sauce. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Drain the excess soy sauce and place tofu on a large plate with the cornstarch spread out. Coat the tofu pieces well.
- In a wok heat up vegetable oil to medium-high heat. Do not let it smoke. Shake off the excess cornstarch from the tofu and place them in the wok.
- Fry till nice and golden on all sides then take out and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Continue until all the tofu is done.
- Heat up peanut and sesame oil in a wok.
- Toss in green beans, and broccolini, stir fry for about 2 minutes then add in onion peppers, carrots, celery. Continue stir-frying for about 5 minutes.
- Time to toss back in crispy tofu and toss in the wok so it is well distributed.
The sweet and sour sauce:
- Combine all the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce in a bowl, excluding the cornstarch and water. Whisk until blended well.
- Back to the wok we go, pour in a bit of the sauce at a time until you see the desired sauciness you want. Then mix the cornstarch with the water.
- Create a void in the center of the wok. Pour half the cornstarch mixture in and stir veggies and tofu back to the center. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. If it is still too runny, add in more of the cornstarch mixture, however, just a bit at a time.
- Take wok off heat and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
- Plate and serve.
If you don’t have all these types of veggies just use what you have.
Prep all your veggies ahead of time this will make it easier to prepare later.
You can use tomato paste instead of ketchup.