vietnam tofu is tops

vietnam marketIn the markets of Vietnam you will see mounds of fresh and delicious tofu – so many different kinds cooked in every way possible.

Here are a few recipes for you to enjoy at home, to keep your wonderful memories of Indochina on the tip of your tongue…

Tofu Soup (Canh Dau Hu)
3 large dried shiitake mushrooms
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
20 rau ram leaves, plus extra for garnish, or 10 sprigs cilantro, plus extra leaves for garnish
6 ounces baby bok choy, root ends trimmed, and leaves separated, or spinach
10 ounces medium-firm tofu, rinsed, drained, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
coarse sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally

First, put the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water, and set a plate over the bowl to prevent steam from escaping. Let stand until the mushrooms rehydrate, about 20 minutes. Squeeze the mushrooms between the palms of your hands to get rid of the excess water. Using a paring knife, remove any stems from the mushrooms and julienne the caps.

Pour the stock into a pot and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the rau ram leaves, and simmer partially covered until ready to use. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Wash the bok choy under cold running water, then drain. Blanch the leaves in the boiling salted water until cooked but still firm, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, remove the bok choy, drain, and add to the stock along with the tofu. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer over low heat until the tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve hot – in a communal bowl or individual soup bowls – garnish with fresh rau ram leaves and scallion.

Tofu Corn Fritters
6 fresh ears of corn, shucked
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 egg, beaten (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup firm tofu, drained, crushed
2 cups canola oil for deep-frying

Blend the corn, tofu, onion, garlic and egg until finely ground. You can use a blender or food processor if you wish. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and thoroughly mix with the salt, pepper, green onions, coriander leaves and flour. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large wok and drop in a tablespoon of the mixture for each fritter. Deep-fry for 2 minutes or until light golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Peanut Sauce or Soy Lime Sauce.

Tofu with Black Bean Sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons salted black beans (Chinese style)
1 small stalk leek, thinly sliced
1 fresh, hot, red cayenne pepper, sliced
1 pkg. firm tofu (16 oz.), drained, cubed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in a 1/4 cup of cold water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a wok and saute the garlic, ginger and salted black beans for 1 minute. Add the leek, cayenne pepper, tofu, soy sauce, and cornstarch mixture. Stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the sesame oil. Garnish with the green onions and coriander leaves – delicious and so quick to prepare!

Tour Vietnam with Intrepid on trips like these tasty small group adventures:
Vietnam Unplugged – 15 days
Vietnam Family Adventure – 15 days

* photo by Natasha Matthews – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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