Đậu hũ nhồi thịt sơt cà chua (tofu stuffed with meat/pork braised in tomato sauce) is one of my favorite dishes to make—it’s really simple, doesn’t require a ton of fuss, but tastes good. This is an adaptation of my mom’s recipe. Normally the tofu is fried but I didn’t do that here (it’s too warm for that right now!). I also added in straw mushrooms. I’m a believer in the “never-too-many-mushrooms” school of culinary arts.
You don’t need any special tools for this. I used a simple stainless steel sauce pan from IKEA. If I were frying the tofu, I’d use my wok. Or you could buy pre-fried tofu if you’re in an area with a large East or Southeast Asian population.
This is also my first blog post with pictures! For now I’m committing directly into the repo. It’s on my to-do list to use S3 or something and a CDN to deliver images but for now this suffices.
Fair warning, I don’t really measure things out when cooking traditional Vietnamese food. This is the sort of recipe where the exact proportions don’t really matter anyway.
- Firm tofu blocks
- 5-6 Roma tomatoes per block OR a can of chopped tomatoes per block (I use canned tomatoes)
- Fish sauce
- Brown or cane sugar
- Ground pork (substitute with a medley of chopped shiitake and oyster mushrooms if you don’t eat pork; I use a pound of ground pork for every two block of tofu)
- Brown or cane sugar
- Ground black peppercorns
- Shallots (I don’t believe in too many shallots, but you could aim for 5-6 medium sized bulbs per pound of tofu)
- (optional but recommended) MSG
- Nấm rơm (straw mushrooms) (you’ll likely only find these in cans if you’re outside of Asia; I usually use a can per every two cans of chopped tomatoes)
- Green onion (garnish)
- Cilantro (garnish)
Filling the tofu
Again, the exact proportion doesn’t matter so much. If you really want a rough amount, about a teaspoon of sugar and black pepper, half that for salt, and maybe a quarter teaspoon of MSG, with a few dashes of fish sauce. When I make this, I use a pound of ground pork at a time, as ground pork comes in packs of a pound in my monthly meat share.
You could substitute sweet onions and garlic for the shallots if those aren’t available near you.
- Slice the tofu and fry if desired
- Rough chop the shallots
- Mix together ground pork, most of the shallots, salt, sugar, black pepper, fish sauce, and MSG
- Slit the tofu and stuff with the filling
Braising the tofu
- If using raw tomatoes, quarter the tomatoes
- Use the reserved shallots and fry in oil for a bit
- Add the stuffed tofu to the pan
- Once the meat has begun to brown, add in the quartered tomatoes, a bit of salt, sugar, and fish sauce; you can add a bit of water here if there are parts of the pan that look dry
- Bring to a boil
- Once boiling, drop the heat and simmer for around fifteen minutes (until meat is cooked and tomatoes are soft)
- If adding in straw mushrooms, add them here
- Turn off the heat and let sit, stirring once in a while
I’ve always eaten this with jasmine rice, but if you’re making the version stuffed with pork, I do think it’s substantial enough to stand on its own. Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro to taste.