My simplified, plant-based take on the Taiwanese classic: Sweet & Sour Pork (糖醋里肌). Made vegan with crispy baked tofu and sweet, juicy lychee.
The dish is typically made with the addition of pineapple (if any fruit is added), but I prefer using lychee. The bulbs of lychee are like pockets of surprise that burst with sweetness — they really compliment with the flavors of the acidic “sweet & sour” sauce and provide great textural contrast with the crispy tofu.
Twice Frozen & Thawed Tofu — Baked Version
As the name suggests, “Twice Frozen & Thawed Tofu” is a technique that involves freezing tofu completely, thawing it completely, freezing it again, then thawing it completely again (all in its original container). What happens when you freeze the tofu is that the liquid inside the tofu crystallizes and forms large clumps. And when you thaw the tofu, the ice crystals will melt but the space they have taken up will remain there, creating many cracks and tears on the tofu. Doing this process two times simply magnifies its effect.
For this recipe, I chose to tore the tofu into sphere and square-ish shapes. This is to give the chunks tofu that that typical look of traditional sweet & sour pork.
These tofu bites are then coated in cornstarch and baked to have a crispy, golden-brown exterior yet tender, juicy interior. Alternatively, you can fry these tofu bites to get that typical “fried” taste (see notes below for instructions).
Then they are tossed with an ultra-easy sweet & sour sauce along with fresh, sweet lychee that is just the perfect compliment to an acidic sauce.