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Week 21 - Veggie Chinese dinner

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

#vegetarian #vegan #Chinese #sweetandsour #tofu

Sweet & sour tofu with special vegetable rice and a side dish of garlicky, sesame green beans.

Basic ingredients (4 people)

300g block of firm tofu

1 red onion

1 brown onion

Bunch spring onions

2 carrots

1 bag of fresh green beans

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

2 big vine tomatoes

Frozen peas

Small tin of sweetcorn

Tin of pineapple chunks (~400g, save the juice 150ml)


75g brown sugar

Basmati rice

Oils and sauces: sesame oil, soy sauce, 60ml rice wine vinegar / apple cider vinegar

Herbs & spices: Fresh ginger, garlic, turmeric, curry powder, fresh coriander, chilli

Luxury ingredients (optional)

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Sesame seeds

Selection of meals prepared by the foodies in this week's class

Sweet and sour sauce

Nearly all sweet and sour sauce recipes call for ketchup - this recipe uses fresh vine tomatoes and tomato puree for a healthier version. The sweetness comes from the pineapple juice and the brown sugar: with 18g sugar/per person, this is still 2/3rds of an adult's recommended daily allowance so feel free to reduce this if you like.

In a saucepan on a medium heat, put:

  • 150ml of pineapple juice (saved from the tin earlier)

  • 2 chopped vine tomatoes

  • 75g brown sugar

  • 60ml apple cider vinegar/rice wine vinegar

  • Splodge of tomato puree

  • 2tbsp (30ml) of soy sauce

Let that simmer for about 10 mins, then blend to smooth.

Tip: let your sauce cool a little first so it doesn't explode in your blender!

Mix 1.5tbsp of cornflour with 2tbsp water. Stir this into your smooth sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Now taste and adjust for salt, sweet, sour.


Squeeze out as much water as you can from your block of tofu using a press, or by putting the block between two tea towels and placing lots of heavy books on top (at least 30 mins).

The trick to giving tofu flavour is to SEASON it first!

Sprinkle a few tablespoons of cornflour into a bowl and add some spices to taste: onion powder, celery salt, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, chilli etc.

Coat your tofu in the spiced cornflour and then shallow fry in sesame oil on a high heat until crispy.

I intentionally went for the charred looked. Ahem.
Sweet & sour vegetables

Fry a chopped green pepper and sliced red onion until softened, then add in lots of garlic and cook for around 30 seconds until fragrant.

Next throw in your chilli, fresh ginger (grated) and cook through. Add in your pineapple chunks and then keep everything warm until you're ready to serve.

Serving, mix the tofu and vegetables together and stir in your S&S sauce (you might also like to keep it separate for people to add sauce to their liking).

Special veg rice

A healthy version of fried rice made by sautéing the veggies then adding them to steamed/boiled rice.

  • Step 1: cook your rice according to packet instructions (or your skill) with 1tsp of turmeric

  • Step 2: In a mixture of vegetable oil (1tbsp) and sesame oil (1-2tbsp), sauté 2 diced carrots, 1 diced red pepper and a bunch of chopped spring onions (save a few onions for garnish) for around 6 minutes.

  • Step 3: Add lots of garlic to taste (cook 30 secs), chilli powder to taste, 1tsp curry powder, 1tsp turmeric and sizzle for a minute or so.

  • Step 4: Add in your peas and sweetcorn, warm through.

  • Step 5: Tip veg into cooked rice. Use a good few dashes of soy sauce to deglaze the veg pan, then tip into the rice and stir well.

Sesame green beans

Fry a sliced onion in a mixture of vegetable oil (1tbsp) and sesame oil (1-2tbsp) on a medium-high heat while you top and tail the beans.

Then add the beans to the frying pan and sauté for a few minutes.

Put a few glugs of apple cider vinegar / rice wine vinegar and some soy sauce into the frying pan with a dash of water (~30ml). Put a lid on and let the veggies steam for a few minutes.

Then continue to stir fry until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are done to your liking.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot.

Join us for a future Tuesday cooking class.

Tag us on Instagram if you use any of these recipes and we'll add you to our story! @cookwithkelly

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