This Vietnamese classic Dau Hu Sot Ca (Fried Tofu in Tomato sauce)
was made in partnership with Muir Glen!
Thanks for reading and supporting my blog :)
I’ve been on a really big nostalgia kick lately, and I’m not really sure why. But it’s motivating me to bring back some of these childhood classics like this Dau Hu Sot Ca (also known as Vietnamese fried tofu with tomato sauce) so I thought I’d share my recipe with you!
Growing up my family would basically force-feed me to eat fish. Saying it would make me smarter, it would help with my eczema, eat this for me or eat this to be taller or some other thing like that. I didn’t really start to like it until I was older, maybe in the last couple years of high school, or maybe it was when I first started university.
Isn’t it odd, that you start to miss things you didn’t even like that much from home once you leave?
My mom would make this fried fish dish with this incredible tomato sauce on top. The crispy fried fish perfectly contrasted and complemented to tangy, savoury tomato sauce, which of course was served with tender and sweet, fluffy steamed white rice. Mmmm.
Of course, I don’t eat fish anymore (obviously), but not because I didn’t like the taste of it. The environmental and ethical impact of the fishing industry is pretty terrific (and not in a good way), so needless to say, I definitely wanted to veganize it.
Luckily for me, a vegan-friendly version of this dish already exists! Known as Dau Hu Sot Ca (or fried tofu with tomato sauce), it’s not typically made vegan, as it’s usually seasoned with fish sauce. I substituted the umami-rich tamari in to mimic that fermented flavour from fish sauce, but if you have a vegan fish sauce, feel free to use that instead. While it’s not the exact same dish I grew up with, the crisp, chewy edges and the tender, juicy flesh of the fried tofu capture that same nostalgic texture I remember.
The key to this dish is using the most ripe and flavourful tomatoes you can find. Not everyone has access to my grandpa’s bountiful garden that my mom would take advantage of when I was growing up, so I opted for the next best thing, these Muir Glen diced tomatoes.
I’m not one for a green thumb, but what I do know about tomatoes is that in order to grow, sweet, delicious tomatoes, you need sunlight, and lots of it. The more sunlight you can give ‘em, the sweeter the tomatoes will be, and what better place for juicy, sweet tomatoes to grow than sunny California’s San Joaquin Valley? These organic tomatoes have been vine-ripened and harvested at their peak of ripeness and canned within 8 hours or less.
They also have fire-roasted tomatoes (available as crushed and diced) and while I used the classic diced ones for this dish, the fire-roasted ones add an extra dimension of smoky sweet flavour! It’s not traditional to this dish so I left it out, but I definitely will swap it in if I fancy myself some charred action every now and then.
Save yourself the time of washing and dicing your tomatoes for this recipe, and you can pull everything you need to cook yourself a dish from my childhood in under half an hour (even less time if you already have fried tofu).
Vietnamese Fried Tofu with Tomatoes (??u h? s?t cà)
- **1 package of extra firm tofu (or fried tofu if you have access to it)
- Oil for frying (unless you have fried tofu)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil (I used grapeseed, but you can use whichever neutral oil you prefer)
- 1 shallot, diced (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 heaping tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
- 2 cups of Muir Glen diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Green onion for garnish
- Cut tofu into your desired shapes, I chose triangles, which yielded about 16 pieces of tofu. You want them to be about ¾ inch thick (or ~2 cm) so that when you fry them, there’s still some tender tofu to bite into.
- Heat a pot of oil (or use a deep fryer) to 375F. Pat each slice of tofu as dry as you can before slipping them into the oil. Fry until a nice, uniform, golden crust is formed and let drain on some paper towel. Once all tofu is fried, set aside.
- In a pot, cook diced shallot with oil over medium heat until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes to the pot and add tamari and sugar. Lower to a steady simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down a bit and excess water has evaporated. You’ll have some of the tomato juices but you don’t want it to be soupy.
- Depending on how you like your tofu, you can pour this finished sauce over your fried tofu OR you can add the tofu to the pot and cook the tofu in it to absorb some of the tomato flavour. Both are delicious, it just depends on your preference!
- Serve with steamed rice and garnish with slivered green onions!
**You can also air-fry tofu by tossing it in about 2 tbsp oil after you pat the tofu dry and air fry for about 15-20 minutes at 400F until you get that delicious golden crust.
Barbara Gross says
Made this last night and loved it. My sister in law is Vietnamese and I had hers years ago but forgot about it. Thank you for reminding me of this delicious recipe. I love your blog.
Lisa Le says
I’m so glad you loved it!! Thank you so much for the feedback <3
It’s always so interesting to learn about different cuisines and how they can be veganised, especially when the ‘original’ dish contains fish (lol sorry about the accidental rhyme) – I always find that’s the trickiest thing to make vegan! Thank you for sharing this because it looks absolutely delicious and I will definitely be giving it a go :) have a great week x
Lisa Le says
I hope you like it!!
Você sempre surpreendendo com essas receitas vegan saborosas, já tenho várias no meu caderno de receita a maioria já testei e realmente são muito saborosas, essa já vai entrar para lista. Adoro seu site.
My (Vietnamese) Dad used to make the fish version a lot and I loved it – also we used the tomato sauce as a dipping sauce for all kinds of lettuce and herbs. I still make the vegan version a lot and it’s one of my favorite things to eat but I always improvised using my taste-memory – I’m really excited to try out your recipe!
Thanks Lisa, you’re awesome!
I prepared this last night and everyone loved it. This vegan version was just perfect as we had friends who visited. Thank you for sharing. It was very timely. Looking forward to more of your recipes.
This dish is incredibly similar to a Haitian dish I make for my family called poulet en sauce that I learned to make from my wife’s family. (The Haitian dish is spicier (normally made with scotch bonnet peppers) and contains chicken, but I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to veganize it and stumbled on this). Guess I know what I am making for dinner! Thanks for the recipe!
Lisa Le says
Ah that’s so cool!! It’s so interesting that so many cultures have these overlaps in cuisines. Please post it on Instagram and tag me in the photo, I would love to see! (If it’s not too late haha)
I enjoyed this recipe. Improvised with soy sauce instead of tamari and fresh diced tomatoes instead of canned. Thank you so much for giving me a healthy, delicious vegan option for using the tomatoes and tofu languishing in my refrigerator.
Made this and it was so delicious. Thank you for the recipe!! I really like all your article, very clear & useful instruction.