Muop Tau Hu Xao Recipe (Vietnamese Loofah and Tofu Stir-fry)
Mướp tàu hũ xào (loofah squash and tofu stir-fry) is a standard in Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine. Mướp (Vietnamese Loofah) is stir-fried along with tofu in black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce. The dish is seasoned with soy sauce and fried garlic. I also added straw mushrooms as a foil to the loofah. It's a very quick and easy dish I often make when I'm in a rush and I want a tasty, healthy meal.
Vietnamese loofah is a very common vegetable in Vietnam that is also used a lot in making canh ("soup" in Vietnamese) because of its natural sweetness and tender texture. You won't be disappointed by this, and if you like it, it’s easy to put together non-vegetarian versions.
Yields: 6 servings1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
3 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, cut into thirds
2 teaspoons black bean sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon blossom honey (or any sweetener)
1 large loofah (see tips)
1 (10-ounce) can straw mushrooms, drained and quartered lengthwise
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
½ cup vegetable broth (or water)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Prepping the loofah: Trim and peel the squash. Slice it in half, lengthwise and cut horizontally into 1"-chunks.
Prepping the tofu: Cut the tofu into ½-inch slices. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Pan-fry the pieces of tofu on both sides until slightly golden. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Once the tofu pieces are cool enough to handle, dice them. Set aside.
In the same wok, add the rest of the oil. Once it's hot, add the garlic. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, add the tofu and stir fry until fragrant. Transfer the tofu and garlic to a platter, leaving as much oil as possible in the wok.
Add the straw mushrooms stems and loofah. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the vegetable broth (or water) and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Toss well, lower to a gentle simmer and cook until the water evaporates completely. Check the softness of the vegetable (it should be tender and look a little translucent). If not fully cooked, add more water and cook a bit longer. Transfer to a platter.
Return the tofu and garlic to the wok. Add honey, black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce and the remaining soy sauce. Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Return the loofah and mushrooms to the wok with a drizzle of sesame oil. Stir constantly.
Check seasoning. Add more soy sauce (if necessary) and black pepper. Add cilantro. Toss well.
Cover until you're ready to serve.
Serve warm with steamed rice and nước chấm dipping sauce on the side.
I used Vinh Khang brand tofu, which is freshly made daily, in San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is excellent. Their factory makes all kinds of tofu textures (silken tofu, fried tofu, sweetened and unsweetened soy milk and tofu dessert). Be sure to ask for the firm type. I found two locations in the Bay Area: Vinh Khang Tofu, 141 Dixon Road, Milpitas, CA 95035 and 2955 Senter Road #80, San Jose, Ca 95111.
I used store-bought black bean and chili garlic sauce like the one from Lee Kum Kee. If you're looking to make chili garlic sauce, you can check the recipe of tướng ớt, literally "spicy dipping sauce" in Vietnamese; it's ultra easy.
If you like meat, you could add sautéed chicken breasts or strips of beef.
Mướp (Vietnamese loofah squash) doesn't stay fresh for very long. So work with it quickly; otherwise the skin will change color, wrinkle and start spotting. I would recommend storing it in the refrigerator no more than 2-3 days.
You can find all the ingredients listed in most Asian stores.Published By: on October 7, 2011.