This Vietnamese classic Dau Hu Sot Ca (Fried Tofu in Tomato sauce)
was made in partnership with Muir Glen!
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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).
Yields 2 servings, or 4 servings if served with other side dishes =P
- **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.