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Tofu / Bean Curd (Dau Hu)

Make Tofu (Dau Hu) at Home with this Simple Recipe | recipe from runawayrice.comFragrant and delicious,¬†tofu is so easy to make at home with this simple 3-ingredient recipe. Talk about goodness that’s so much fresher and healthier than the store-bought versions. There are no preservatives or ingredients you can’t pronounce in this tofu. If you’re familiar with making Soy Milk, you’ll find this recipe to be a cinch! Hope you give this recipe a try and share your results with me! ūüôā

 Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Use organic soybeans if possible.

To cut the soaking time of the beans in half use hot water.

I do not recommend using store-bought soy milk. Some of the milks have stabilizer and preservatives which prevent the milk from separating into the curds and liquid whey.

If fresh soy milk is available, you can start with this instead of making your own from the soybeans. Simply add 2 cups water to the milk and follow the remaining instructions.

I use distilled white vinegar with an acidity of 5%. You can substitute the vinegar for the same amount of lemon or lime juice but you will have to use more of the coagulant to get the separation.

Cheesecloth comes in different grades. I am using a double layer of grade 90 cheesecloth. The grade 60 cheesecloth, commonly sold at the grocery stores, will work just fine too.

Make sure the heat is Low when adding the coagulant. Do not allow the milk boil or this will break up the curds.

If after adding 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp coagulant you still don’t see the separation, continue adding 1 Tbsp and letting it rest for 3 minutes. Repeat this process until you see the separation.

You can change the firmness of the tofu by adding more coagulant. More coagulant will make larger curds resulting in a firm tofu. Also increasing the pressing time will also yield a firmer tofu. Below are some guidelines:

10-15 minutes = Soft
20-25 minutes = Medium
30+ minutes = Firm

Soaking the tofu in ice water helps to firm up the tofu. If you prefer a soft tofu, you can skip this step.

Some other things you can use to make your own tofu mold: take-out food containers, plastic baskets for fruits and berries, disposal foil pans, plastic food storage containers. Optionally you can just buy a tofu maker. (This one is fairly inexpensive.)

If not using right away, store the tofu immersed in water in the refrigerator. Change the water daily to keep it fresh. The tofu is best consumed within 1 week.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Soy Milk (Sua Dau Nanh) and Yogurt (Yaourt).

Ingredients

1/2 lb (approximately 1 1/3 cups) organic soy beans
10 cups water
1 cup water + 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar (Note: Used in this recipe is 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp)

Other Items
4 cup tofu mold or container with holes throughout
cheesecloth (Grade 90 or 60)
object weighing 2-3 lbs (soup can, small box salt, sugar, etc)

Directions

Sift through the dry soy beans and remove any which are mis-shapened or covered with dark spots and discard.

Wash the soybeans by swirling around in cold water for 1 minute and then pouring off the cloudy water. Repeat this process 2 more times making sure the final wash water is clear. Soak the beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight.

Wash the beans one more time and then drain well.

Transfer the soybeans into a blender. Add 2 1/2 cups water. Starting first on Low speed, gradually increase to High speed. Blend for 1 minute. Add another 2 1/2 cups water and continue blending on High speed for another 30 seconds.

Pour the soy milk into a nut milk bag. Firmly squeeze the bag extracting the soy milk into a large bowl. Pour the soy milk into a large saucepan.

Transfer the soy pulp back into the blender. Add 5 cups water. Blend on High speed for 30 seconds. Again pour into the nut milk bag, extract the milk and then pour into the saucepan.

Make the coagulant by combining 1 cup water with the 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar. Set aside for now.

Cut a double layer of cheesecloth to fit the tofu mold. Wet the cheesecloth and then wring out the water. Line the tofu mold with the cheesecloth.

Invert a small bowl or dish inside a large dish or pan. Place the tofu mold on top.

Warm the soy milk over Medium Low heat. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from burning on the bottom. Skim off the foam and discard. When the milk comes to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to Low. Quickly stir the soy milk a few times to get it swirling. Slowly Add 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp coagulant by drizzling it into the soy milk. (You should see bubbles forming and the milk starting to curdle.) Stir gently in a back and forth motion to distribute the coagulant. (Small curds should be visible in the milk now.) Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.

Check to see if the liquid has separated into curds and liquid whey. If it has not, drizzle in another 1 Tbsp coagulant and stir gently. Let rest for another 3-4 minutes.

The milk liquid should separate into curds and an opaque liquid (liquid whey). Using a slotted spoon, transfer just the curds into the tofu mold.

Use a spatula to evenly distribute the curds into the mold. Fold the cheesecloth covering up the tofu. Add the lid and place a weight on top. Allow the tofu to be pressed for 20 minutes.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Invert the tofu into the cold water and remove the mold. Unwrap the tofu and remove the cheesecloth. Allow the tofu to rest in the ice water for 15 minutes.

Enjoy the tofu fresh or as an ingredient in your favorite dishes.

Yields: 1 lb tofu

Love tofu? Here are some tasty dishes to try:

Tofu in Tomato Sauce (Dau Hu Sot Ca)

Fermented Chili Tofu (Chao)

Lemongrass Tofu and Rice Noodles (Bun Dau Hu Xao)

Braised Tofu and Mushrooms (Dau Hu Kho Nam)

Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry (Dau Hu Xao Sot Chua Ngot)


Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Fresh Tofu (Dau Hu) - Amazing when Homemade, a Must-Try! | recipe from runawayrice.com

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Lemongrass Tofu and Rice Noodles (Bun Dau Hu Xao)

Refreshing vegetarian cold noodle salad...Dig in! | recipe from runawayrice.com One of my all-time favorite dishes is Lemongrass Beef and Rice Noodles.¬† It is so refreshingly light and flavorful¬†with¬†the aromatic lemongrass, fresh greens and herbs and springy noodles.¬† When I decided to focus more¬†on a vegetarian diet, this¬†was one of the first dishes I revamped by substituting the beef for tofu.¬† Believe me, you won’t miss the meat.¬† Using firm tofu makes the dish really hearty and gives it that meaty texture.¬† The seasonings enhance the tofu without making it overly salty and you can still serve it with a dipping sauce.¬† This vegetarian version is just as flavorful¬†as the original recipe.¬† So¬†if you’re looking for a new go-to vegetarian dish, you must give this one a try.¬†¬† Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

14 oz firm tofu
1 small leek
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp minced lemongrass
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetarian stir-fry sauce
4 oz bean sprouts
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
20 oz cooked rice vermicelli/thin rice noodles

1 bunch mint, plucked and washed
1 bunch cilantro, washed
2 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup carrot and radish pickles
red chilies
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

Trim off the end of the leek and discard.  Cut off a 1/2-inch section of leek, white part, and finely mince.  Set aside on a small plate.  Cut off a 2-inch section of leek, green part, and then cut into thin strips.  Set aside on the same plate.

Remove the tofu from its packaging and gently rinse with cool water.  Pat the tofu dry using paper towels.  Cut the tofu into strips.

Heat a wok over Medium High heat and when hot add vegetable oil.  Add the minced leeks and lemongrass and stir-fry for 20 seconds.  Add the tofu and pan-fry for 5-6 minutes or until the pieces are golden brown.

Add the remaining leeks.  Drizzle the soy sauce and vegetarian stir-fry sauce over the tofu pieces.  Toss everything together and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the bean sprouts.  Toss together and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add freshly ground black pepper.

To assemble the dish, put the chopped green leaf lettuce into a salad bowl.  Add a layer of rice noodles and then the stir-fried lemongrass tofu on top of the noodles.  Add fresh herbs and a generous amount of carrot and radish pickles.  Top with the crushed roasted peanuts.

Serve with Honey Soy Dipping Sauce, a vegetarian dipping sauce or salad dressing.

Yields:  4 servings

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Tofu and Eggplant Stir-Fry (Dau Hu Xao Ca Tim)

This scrumptios dish is super easy to make and will become your go-to stir-fry.A vegetarian’s delight, this¬†dish with pan-fried tofu and eggplant is healthy and delicious.¬† (Sorry, this is not the deep-fried and overly saucy dish you find in¬†many Asian restaurants.)¬† It’s a light and flavorful dish that allows you to enjoy the¬†tasty goodness of fresh vegetables without all the oil and heavy sauce.¬† This basic stir-fry is super versatile and works well with most vegetables.¬† Feel free to add more veggies or swap out the eggplant for squash, zucchini or whatever you prefer.

Notes on the recipe, tips and tricks

Feel free to substitute the tofu with seitan or tempeh.  Both are great meat-free alternatives.

If you cannot find Chinese eggplant, the classic Black Bell or Italian eggplant works well too.

Soaking¬†in the salt and lemon juice solution is unique to the preparation of the eggplant as it helps to remove the sap from the eggplant.¬† If you’re using other vegetables, you do not need to soak them.

It you prefer a saucier¬†dish, don’t cook down the stir-fry sauce and this will become more of a braised¬†(kho) dish¬†rather than a stir-fry.

The coconut water is the secret ingredient, so don’t skip it.¬† It makes the eggplant nice and tender and gives the sauce lots of subtle flavor.

Cook the eggplant to the doneness you like.  Some people like the eggplant really soft (cooked about 10-12 minutes).  I enjoy it more on the crunchy side and so cook for 6-8 minutes.

I mentioned this in the video but will re-iterate:¬† it’s normal for both the skin and the flesh of the eggplant to turn brown when cooked.¬† This does not affect the taste and is¬†just the natural oxidation process.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

14 oz firm tofu
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 small onion
1 red bell pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
4 Chinese eggplant (approximately 1 lb)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce
1 cup coconut water
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Remove the tofu from the packaging and gently rinse with cool water.  Dry the tofu using paper towels.  Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Cut each slice into 4 equal pieces.  Lay the tofu pieces on a large plate covered with a paper towel.  Allow the tofu to drain further while continuing with the next steps.

Peel the onion and cut into chunks.  Core the red bell pepper and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Trim off ends of the eggplants.  Cut each eggplant at a diagonal into slices approximately 1-inch thick.  In a large bowl, add the sliced eggplant, salt and lemon juice.  Fill up the bowl with cold water.  Place a plate, slightly smaller than the bowl, on top to submerge the eggplant in the water.  Allow the eggplant to soak for 15 minutes.

In a measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, vegetarian stir-fry sauce and coconut water.   Combine together.

Heat a large skillet or wok over Medium heat and when hot add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.  Add the tofu.  Pan-fry on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.  Transfer to a clean plate and set aside for now.

Drain the eggplant using a colander and then rinse with cool water.  Toss the eggplant in the colander to shake off any excess water.

Heat the same skillet over Medium High heat and when hot add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.  Add the onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add the tofu and stir-fry sauce.  Increase the heat to High and cook until half of the liquid is evaporated, approximately 4-5 minutes.   Reduce the heat to Low, add the red peppers and eggplant and combine together.   Cover the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.   Top with freshly ground black pepper.

Serve over hot rice with a side of soy sauce and chopped red chilies.

Yields: 4-6 servings

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Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry (Dau Hu Xao Sot Chua Ngot)

Most of my favorite dishes are sans meat and given the choice, I will pick a meat-free dish the majority of the time.  And so, I am always looking for delicious and easy to make vegetarian dishes.  My love of veggies and stir-frying makes this Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry one of my go-to dishes.

I had to think long and hard about this recipe because every time I make this dish it’s different. ¬†I vary the veggies based on what I have in my refrigerator and when I stir fry, anything and everything goes! ¬†This dish is probably more aptly named ‘Clean Out the Fridge Stir-Fry’…lol. ¬†So, feel free to use whatever veggies you like. ¬†If you want to save on the prep time, use frozen veggies or the packaged vegetable medleys.

The sweet and sour sauce is what pulls this dish together. ¬†We use pineapple chunks and the juice to make it deliciously sweet. ¬†You may be thinking adding pineapples to a stir-fry is “different”. ¬† Well, I can’t wait until you try it! ūüôā ¬†Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

12 oz extra-firm tofu
2 stalks celery
1 small red bell pepper
1 small green bell pepper
1 carrot
1/4 sweet onion
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms
8 oz can pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

for the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp sugar

Directions

Cut tofu into small pieces approximately 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. ¬†(Don’t cut it too small or it will fall apart when stir frying.)

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.  Gently drop in tofu, a few pieces at a time.  Allow the water to come to a boil again.  Transfer tofu to colander and allow to drain.

Cut celery, bell peppers, carrots, onions and mushrooms to a similar size and thickness.

Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup.  Add in all ingredients for sweet and sour sauce and stir until smooth and well combined.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot.  Add vegetable oil and minced garlic.  Stir fry quickly for a few seconds.  Reduce heat to Medium.  Add carrots.  Add 2 Tbsp of water and stir fry for 3 minutes.  Add celery and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add both kinds of peppers and onions and toss together.  Add 2-3 Tbsp of water to help soften the vegetables.  Stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and stir fry for another minute.  Add tofu and pineapple chunks and gently toss together.  Season with black and red pepper.  Spread tofu and veggies evenly in wok making a thin layer.  Drizzle sweet and sour sauce on tofu coating it well then pour the remaining marinade into the stir fry.  Gently toss together.  Cook until sauce thickens, approximately 3-4 more minutes.

Serve hot over white or brown rice or as a side dish.

Yields: 2-4 servings

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Tofu in Tomato Sauce (Dau Hu Sot Ca)

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 entr√©e.¬† 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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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Vegetarian Cabbage Slaw (Goi Chay)

This recipe is the vegetarian version of the popular Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad.¬† I make it using pan-cooked (not fried!) tofu.¬† It’s a quick and delicious salad I make often for potlucks and get-togethers. Don’t skimp on the herbs–it’s what makes this salad so fragrant and refreshing!

Watch video below for instructions.

Ingredients

8 oz package extra firm tofu
1-14 oz bag of finely shredded green cabbage (6 cups)
1 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup mint, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Vietnamese coriander or cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp black sesame seeds

Dressing
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Directions

Remove tofu from packaging.  Rinse with water and pat dry using a paper towel. Cut tofu into thin slices.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When skillet is hot, place tofu slices into pan.  Cook until golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Cut into thin strips.

Mix dressing and stir until sugar is dissolved. Combine tofu and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing and toss salad well.  When serving, sprinkle more sesame seeds and garnish with fresh mint.

Yields:  8 cups

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