Thursday, July 12, 2007

Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce (Tau Hu Kho)

We decided to try a new Vietnamese dish, so I picked this one from It had been highly reviewed on the CLBB, so I figured it was worth a shot. I served it with some rice and some asparagus (recipe to follow).

We liked it, but I think I should have cut the slabs of tofu thinner. When they were thin, they got crispier and absorbed more of the flavor, which was very yummy. The thicker slabs tasted like, well, tofu. It's possible that I'll make this again, and if I do, I will cut thinner pieces of tofu.

Braised Tofu in Caramel Sauce (Tau Hu Kho)

Caramelized sugar infuses the sauce with sweetness and gives it a deep mahogany shine.

1 pound firm tofu
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (including tops)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Cut tofu into 2- by 3-inch, 1/2-inch-thick slices and pat dry.

2. Place sugar in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat; shake pan often until sugar is melted and amber colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot water (mixture will bubble vigorously) and stir over medium heat until caramelized sugar is dissolved.

3. Stir in soy sauce, shallots, ginger, and garlic; stir often over high heat until boiling. Lay tofu pieces in a single layer in sauce. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. With a wide spatula, turn pieces over; simmer until hot and coated with sauce, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

4. Transfer tofu and sauce to a serving dish and sprinkle with green onions and pepper.

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