Tofu is a very popular protein in Asian cooking. Those new to tofu can be easily intimidated by the different varieties found in supermarkets: firm, medium, soft…where do you start? There’s also the stigma of tofu as a culinary choice made just for hippies and vegans – aren’t tofu consumers just tree-huggers? Of course not! But all of these things can make entering the culinary world of tofu a bit daunting. Today’s Mom’s 52 recipe is a great way to introduce your family to this healthy protein. Dau Hu Kho Thit – Braised Tofu & Pork is a savory dish and perfect if you’ve been interested in tofu but haven’t found a way to really enjoy it yet. It also eases you into tofu because of the balance of pork in the dish.
To get the best tofu, or Dau Hu, for most Vietnamese recipes, purchase your tofu at a Vietnamese/Asian market where Dau Hu can usually be found in the refrigerated section near the fresh noodles. The best types are plastic-wrapped rectangular blocks that are delivered several times a week by local producers. If you don’t have access to this type of tofu, or you’re purchasing from a larger local market, try soft-to-medium tofu for this recipe. Quality tofu should have no scent at all. Fresh tofu lasts only a few days in the refrigerator, so use it quickly after purchasing.
Dau Hu Kho Thit – Braised Tofu & Pork
- 2 large rectangular blocks of fresh tofu (or 4 large squares, each square the size of the palm of your hand)
- 1/2 C. vegetable oil
- 1.3 lbs. pork loin, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 stalk green onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 3.5 C. chicken broth
- 1.5 tsp. turmeric powder
STEP 1: FRY THE TOFU
This dish has a better texture if you fry the tofu yourself, but an alternative to this step is to purchase tofu that is already fried, if you’re short on time.
- If using large rectangular blocks of tofu, cut them in half to yield two large squares (4 total squares for the recipe).
- Pat the large tofu squares with paper towels to dry them as much as possible to avoid splatters when frying.
- Heat 1/2 c. vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat. Wait about 1 minute for it to get hot.
- Very gently slide each square of tofu into the hot oil. It should bubble immediately. Fry the tofu for 5-6 minutes on each side to lightly brown. It’s okay if there are still areas of white.
- Remove the tofu from the skillet, and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Cut the tofu into 1″ cubes.
STEP 2: BROWN THE PORK
- Discard most of the oil from the skillet used in Step 1 above, leaving only a light film of oil in the skillet. Return the skillet to the heat, and turn the heat up to high.
- Add the pork cubes to the skillet, and stir a few seconds to start browning the pork. Add the sliced green onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam, and 1 Tbsp. sugar to the pork. Continue to stir to finish browning the outside of the pork, about 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the entire skillet contents into a large pot.
STEP 3: BRAISE THE TOFU & PORK
- Add the fried tofu cubes to the pot of pork. Pour 3.5 C. chicken broth into the pot, which should nearly cover the pork and tofu. Add 1.5 tsp. turmeric powder to color the dish a golden hue.
- Adjust the heat to simmer the pork & tofu for one hour, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Remove from heat, and serve with rice. Enjoy!
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