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Braised Tofu and Mushrooms (Dau Hu Kho Nam)

Vegetarian's Delight: Braised Tofu and Mushrooms | recipe from runwayrice.comHealthy eating is made easy with this delicious dish of pan-fried tofu cooked in a light and savory sauce. The firm tofu and assorted fresh mushrooms are full of flavor and texture making this dish really hearty and satisfying. Whether you’re a strict vegetarian or like to enjoy an occasional meat-free meal, this is a recipe to bookmark. Enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Firm tofu has a meat-like texture and compliments the mushrooms nicely. If using a softer tofu be gentle when pan-frying and handling so it doesn’t break.

Use any type of mushrooms you like in this dish. If fresh mushrooms are difficult to find, the canned ones work well too. In a pinch, I love the canned straw mushrooms. It’s delish!

When pan-frying, I like to use an oil spray and mister bottle to coat the pan and the tofu. I can coat the tofu evenly without using a lot of oil.

As there’s a lot of tofu in this recipe, you’ll most likely have to pan-fry in 2-3 batches.  Leave room in between the tofu pieces to make them easier to rotate them. I like my tofu to have a crispy, golden brown crust. If you want them less crispy, fry just until they are lightly golden.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Tofu and Eggplant Stir-Fry (Dau Hu Xao Ca Tim) and Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry (Dau Hu Xao Sot Chua Ngot).

Ingredients

2-14 oz packages firm tofu
1 lb Baby Bella mushrooms
8 oz oyster mushrooms
1 shallot
1 cup coconut water
2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Remove the tofu from the packaging and gently rinse with cool water. Blot dry using paper towels. Cut the tofu into 3/4-inch cubes.

Separate the oyster mushrooms by cutting close to the root. For the Baby Bella mushrooms, trim off the end of the stem. Cut any larger mushrooms in half or quarters. Rinse the mushrooms with cool water two times. Allow to drain while continuing with the next steps.

Peel and chop the shallots. Set aside in a small bowl for now.

In a measuring cup, add the coconut water, soy sauce and Hoisin sauce. Stir together combining all of the ingredients well.

Heat a large skillet over Medium High heat. Coat the skillet with vegetable oil and then quickly add the tofu cubes leaving some room in between each piece. Cook on the first side for 5 minutes or until golden. Lightly coat the tofu with vegetable oil. Flip the tofu onto the next side and cook for a few minutes or until golden. Continue cooking until all sides are golden. Transfer the tofu to a clean plate.

Heat the same skillet over Medium heat. Add vegetable oil and the shallots and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes drawing out the liquid.

Increase the heat to High and add the sauce. When the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to Medium and add the tofu. Combine together making sure the tofu is evenly coated with the sauce. Cook for 5 more minutes combining occasionally. During this time some of the liquid evaporates and the sauce will thicken. Add freshly ground black pepper.

Serve hot!

Yields: 4 servings

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Full of flavor and texture: Braised Tofu and Mushrooms (Dau Hu Kho Nam) | recipe from runwayrice.com

Love vegetarian food? Here are a few more dishes to try: Lemongrass Tofu and Rice Noodles (Bun Dau Hu Xao), Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Bi Cuon Chay), Curry Lemongrass Seitan Stir Fry (Mi Can Xao Xa Ot)

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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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Stir-Fried Water Spinach and Beef (Rau Muong Xao Bo)

Delicious and easy to make!Looking for ways to incorporate nutrient-rich leafy greens into your diet?  Then you must try this easy stir-fry dish made with water spinach.  Water spinach (as you may have guessed from its name) is a juicy, leafy green loaded with vitamins A, C, iron and fiber.  With its long tapered leaves and abundant stalks, this vegetable is sturdy and crunchy making it a perfect candidate for stir-frying.  In this simple dish, we stir-fry the water spinach with beef and minimal spices for a really healthy and satisfying dish.  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

1 1 /2 lbs water spinach
1/2 tsp salt

Marinade
6 garlic cloves
1/2 lb beef (top sirloin or flank steak)
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Stir-Fry
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2  Tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Smash the garlic cloves, remove the skin and discard.  Place 5 garlic cloves into a separate bowl and set aside for now.  Mince the remaining garlic clove and place into a medium bowl.

Slice the beef into 1/4-inch thick strips and place into the bowl with the minced garlic.  Add the marinade ingredients:  vegetable oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce and ground black pepper.  Combine well.  Marinate in the refrigerator while continuing with the next steps.

Using scissors, cut the water spinach (leaves and stems) into 3-inch sections.  Discard any leaves or stems that are dry, damaged or eaten by bugs.  Wash the greens in cool water rinsing at least twice.

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid bowl and then add salt.  Immerse the greens in the hot water for 30 seconds.  Drain in a large colander and rinse with cold water.  Toss to remove the excess water.

Heat a large wok over Medium High heat.  When hot, add the vegetable oil.  Add the smashed garlic cloves and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add the beef and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add the water spinach and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Season with oyster sauce and fish sauce.  Stir-fry for another minute.

Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

Serve hot!

Yields: 4 servings

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Pickled Mustard Greens (Dua Cai Chua)

Pickled Mustard Greens (Dua Cai Chua)

Mustard greens are sturdy vegetables and so are really great for pickling. When pickled just right they are crispy and satisfyingly tart.  My Mom use to make jars and jars of these delicious mustard greens around Vietnamese New Year/Tet for our family.  It wasn’t until I tried making them for myself that I quickly learned there is an art to pickling perfection.  If not properly prepared, the mustard greens become soggy or never pickle.  The goal is to have the mustard greens turn a light yellow indicating the fermentation process is successful.  Below is my family recipe and the “secrets” for making the perfect pickled mustard greens.

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Avoid any type of contamination.  Make sure utensils and pots are clean including the pickling jar.  Any unwanted oil or grease will cause the greens to not pickle properly.  I use plastic spoons instead of wooden or bamboo utensils during the preparation process.  Wooden and bamboo utensils have a tendency to absorb oil and other foods from prior cooking.  Nothing is worse than trying your pickles for the first time after waiting for 5 days and finding out they are soggy and wilted.

If your jar has a metal lid, cover the jar first with plastic wrap before using the lid to seal.

On Day 3 you can eat the mustard greens.  They will be crispy, slightly tart and spicy.  The longer the greens pickle the more sour the taste.  I like to pickle my greens for 5 days.  After 5 days, the greens are deliciously crunchy, tart and not too spicy.

To stop the pickling process, drain the liquid and refrigerate the mustard greens.

Once refrigerated, enjoy the greens within the month.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Carrot and Radish Pickles (Do Chua) and Pickled Jalapenos (Ot Ngam Giam).

Ingredients

4 1/2 lbs fresh mustard greens
1/3 medium onion
7 cups water
2 1/2 Tbsp salt
1 heaping Tbsp brown sugar

1 resealable sandwich-sized plastic bag
1 resealable quart-sized plastic bag
1 gallon jar

Directions

Cut off ends of the mustard greens and discard. Trim the greens of areas that are broken, bruised, yellow or eaten by bugs.  Wash the mustard greens thoroughly with cold water and then shake off the excess water.  Place greens in several large colanders or spread on large kitchen towels and allow to air dry overnight.

Bring the water to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan.  Allow to cool for approximately 45 minutes.  The water should be warm for the step below.

Wash the jar thoroughly with soap and water.  Shake off excess water.  Microwave jar (without lid) on High for 1-2 minutes to sanitize and dry completely.

Separate leaves from the stems.  Cut leaves into sections approximately 2-3 inches wide and 1- 1 1/2 inches long.  Place cut leaves in a separate bowl.  Cut stems into small pieces, approximately 1-inch sections.  Place cut stems in another bowl.  Thinly slice the onion and add to the bowl with the stems.

Pour the warm water into a large measuring cup or bowl.  Add the sugar and salt.  Stir to dissolve.

Put a handful of the mustard green leaves in the jar lining the bottom.  Add a thin layer of sliced onions next.  Continue alternating a layer of leaves with a thin layer of the  sliced onions until all leaves are in the jar.  Next, add the stems to the jar.

Fill the smaller re-sealable bag with 1 cup water.  Remove the air from the bag and seal it completely.  Place the water bag inside the larger bag and seal the larger bag securely.

Pour the pickling liquid into the jar covering the mustard greens.  (The liquid may not cover the greens completely but in a few days the water level will increase as the liquid is drawn from the greens.)

Place the water bag inside the jar on top of the mustard greens.  Make sure the bag covers the greens and keeps them submerged in the liquid.  Cover the mouth of jar with plastic wrap and secure with a lid.

Place the jar in a sunny location and allow to pickle for 3-6 days.

Yields: 10 cups

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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! 🙂  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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