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Vietnamese Caramelized Tofu

with Crispy Asian Slaw


Dinner Tofu Pasta Root Vegetables Leafy Greens High-Protein Gluten-Free Summer Recipes Spring Recipes Seasonal Menu
2 2
35 min


  1. 1 package extra firm tofu
  2. 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  3. Garlic
  4. 1 shallot
  5. 2 tsp soy sauce
  6. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  7. 6 oz rice noodles
  8. 4 oz carrot
  9. 1 scallion
  10. Fresh cilantro
  11. 1/4 cup peanuts
  12. 4 oz red cabbage
  13. 4 oz green cabbage
  14. 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  15. Salt and pepper*
  16. 3 tbsp vegetable oil *
  17. *not included


It's tofu time

Drain the tofu and wrap in paper towels. Gently press out the water with a book or large plate on top. Let the tofu drain until you are ready to cook. Put a large pot over high heat and add 8 cups of water and a pinch of salt.

Gimme some sugar

Pour 1/4 cup water into small saucepan, then sprinkle sugar evenly over it. Cook over medium heat, gently swirling pan occasionally (do not stir) until the sugar melts and the mixture smells of caramel, about 6 to 8 minutes. The caramel won’t thicken much, so look for any darkening in color or toasting scent to know when it’s ready.

Start the sauce

Mince the garlic. Peel and mince the shallot. Stir 1 tbsp of oil, shallot, and garlic into the caramel and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in 3/4 cup of water. Whisk in the soy sauce, 1 tsp of the cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp of black pepper. Return the saucepan to low heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.

Flip out

Halve the tofu lengthwise and then cut each piece into 8 small sticks. Coat each stick in cornstarch. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu and cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until each side is crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season well with salt.

Chop, chop

Put the rice noodles into the boiling water and cook until tender, checking for doneness after 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with warm water. Rinse, peel, and shred the carrot with a box grater. Rinse and slice the scallion. Rinse and chop the cilantro.

Serve it up

This meal is usually served family style on a large platter or plate. Put a heaping pile of the noodles down and top with the peanuts. Put the carrots, red cabbage, and green cabbage on the side, and drizzle with the rice wine vinegar. Then add the crunchy tofu and a small bowl of caramel sauce.