When Speedy tried to cook a Luke Nguyen tofu dish several weeks ago, he tried to fry silken tofu since that was what the recipe called for. But he got the same result that I did every time I tried to fry silken tofu — a terrible mess. So, he substituted firm tofu and came up with a delicious meatless dish. Salty, sweet and spicy. The colors are like a garden in bloom. I’m a serious cilantro lover but if you’re not a fan, you can just substitute onion leaves.
Adapted from Luke Nguyen’s Crisp Tofu Cooked In Tomato Pepper Sauce: Dau Hu Sot Ca
Recipe: Crisp tofu in tomato chili sauce
- a 300-gram firm tofu cake
- about 2 c. of cooking oil for deep frying
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 onion or 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 bird’s eye chili, finely sliced
- 2 to 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 and 1/2 tbsps. of patis (fish sauce)
- 2 to 2 and 1/2 tbsps. of sugar
- about 1/2 tsp. of freshly cracked black pepper
- roughly chopped cilantro, to serve
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan until fine wisps of smoke start to appear.
- Cut the tofu into cubes. How large or how small is entirely up to you. Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
- Pour off the oil except for a tablespoonful or so.
- Heat the tablespoonful or so of oil again. Saute the garlic, chili and onion or shallots until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the tomatoes, fish sauce, sugar and black pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the tomatoes start to soften.
- Pour in about a third of a cup of water. Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered for about seven minutes or until the liquid is reduced. This step will allow the flavors to develop and, at the same time, concentrate the flavors.
- Turn up the heat. Add the tofu cubes. Toss. Cook for 30 seconds to reheat the tofu.
- Turn off the heat. Taste the sauce and add more fish sauce, sugar or pepper, as needed.
- Tip the tofu, vegetables and cooking liquid into a shallow bowl. Garnish with the cilantro. Serve hot.
If your wok or frying pan is rather small, fry the tofu cubes in batches to avoid overcrowding.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2