This is one of my favorite childhood dishes–the delicious tofu cooked in a tangy and slightly sweet tomato sauce was pure comfort food. The tofu is commonly deep-fried in this recipe. However, my Mom in all of her wisdom minimized the deep-frying and was always converting recipes to make them healthier and more nutritious. I grew up eating healthy, not familiar with foods drowned in oil, ladened with heavy sauces, and heavily salted or seasoned. To this day, I still enjoy and make this dish my Mom’s way. This tasty dish is super easy to make and you can serve it as a side dish or main entrée. Opt for the vegetarian version by replacing the fish sauce with soy sauce. For the folks not familiar with tofu, the “medium” tofu used in this recipe refers to the density. If you like a softer tofu, feel free to use it. Just be careful when pan cooking it as it breaks easily. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
Watch the video below for instructions.
2-14 oz package medium tofu
1/4 small onion
1 green onion
3 Roma tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
Remove tofu from package, drain and blot dry with paper towels. Cut tofu into small pieces, approximately 1-inch cubes. Lay tofu cubes on a plate covered with a paper towel and allow to dry further while continuing on to next steps.
Thinly slice onions and green onion tops. Place in separate bowls. Slice the tomatoes into thin wedges and then each wedge in half. Combine the tomatoes with the onions.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Coat the skillet evenly with the oil using a brush or paper towel. Place the tofu pieces into the skillet. Leave some room between the pieces as they will stick together if touching. (Cook tofu in batches if skillet is not large enough to cook all at once.) Pan cook the tofu on the first side until golden brown, approximately 8 minutes. Flip the tofu and cook on the other side. Continue cooking the tofu on each side, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. (Be gentle when flipping the tofu as it is soft and breaks easily. If the tofu browns too much, turn down the heat.) Remove tofu and place on a plate.
Heat the same skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp of vegetable oil, minced garlic and tomato paste. Stir fry for 10-15 seconds. Add onions and tomatoes and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add water, fish sauce or soy sauce, sugar and black pepper. Combine everything well. Add tofu into the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and gently flip the tofu coating it with the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Combine everything together again. Remove from heat and top with green onions. Enjoy while hot.
Yields: 2- 4 servings