Saturday, June 9, 2012

Caramel Tofu

Proteins cooked in a caramel sauce is a classic Vietnamese preparation. Typically the meat is lightly browned and then cooked in this sweet, spicy, salty and tangy sauce till it gets a sticky coating becomes sticky. In this vegetarian version, the tofu pieces are cooked till they get a gently crust and then combined with the onions and the caramel sauce. I have made this caramel sauce with chili flakes and with pepper. Both impart a different kind of heat to the dish. You may like to try it with both.
It is a super tasty tofu dish, one that you will want to make again and again. I combine it with the Steamed asparagus and steamed rice for a complete meal any night of the week.

Caramel Tofu

One 14 oz container Lite Firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes (I used Nasoya brand)
1 large yellow onion thinly sliced (more than a cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce (I used Yamasa soy sauce)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes or freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon canola oil
  1. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and salt and set aside.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed non-stick skillet or a wok with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Place the tofu in a single layer so that it develops a light crust. Cook on each side for 2 minutes. 
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon canola oil, the sliced onion, garlic, ginger and chili flakes or black pepper and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the sauce and continue to cook for about 8 minutes over medium heat till the caramel begins to form. [It will not be a thick caramel since I like to have some gravy for the rice].
  4. Serve with steamed rice.
Serves 3 to 4 as part of a multi-course meal.

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