Turmeric Tofu with Dill Recipe

Turmeric Tofu with Dill Recipe Recipe

This tofu dish is my attempt to make the equivalent of chả cá thăng long, which is pan-fried fish in dill, turmeric, galangal and sautéed onions. To mimic the fish, I pan-fried fresh tofu so that the outside has a crispy texture while the outside remains soft. The rest of the dish is similar to the original, but I also added baby asparagus spears for a little color.

The fish version is a bit more complicated because you have to prepare a marinade for the fish. So even if you’re not a vegetarian, consider this version when you’re in a hurry. Eat it with bun (vermicelli rice noodles) and you'll have a delicious, complete meal.


Yields: 8 servings

1 pound baby asparagus spears, blanched and transferred to an ice bath
1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu, drained
¼ cup canola oil
1 yellow onion, cut into small wedges
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (4-inch) chunk galangal
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon black bean garlic sauce
½ tablespoon chili bean sauce
1 lime, freshly squeezed
3 tablespoons fresh dill, coarsely chopped
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts


Prepping galangal: Clean the root and remove any dirt. Peel the galangal with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate about 2 tablespoons of galangal with a fine mesh Microplane. Thinly slice the rest, then cut into long matchsticks.

Prepping the tofu: Cut the tofu into 1" slices, then cut each slice into 1½" sticks. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil.  Pat the tofu dry with paper towels. Pan-fry the pieces of tofu on both sides until crispy golden but still moist in the inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Once the tofu pieces are cool enough to handle, cut them into thirds. Set aside.

Assembly time:

Cut the asparagus into thirds.

In the same wok, add the rest of the oil. Once it's hot, add the garlic and galangal. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, add the end part of the asparagus and stir fry until fragrant. Add the rest of the asparagus and tofu. Sprinkle with turmeric. Stir well; add the black bean sauce and chili bean sauce. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until well distributed. Add the onion wedges and dill, toss well and cook until the onions become shiny but still firm. Lastly, drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle with peanuts. Transfer to a platter.

Check seasoning. Add pepper. Toss well.

Serve immediately with bún.

Bon appétit!


If you can't find galangal, you could use double the amount of ginger. Galangal is whiter in color than regular ginger and it's much more flavorful.

I used Vinh Khang brand tofu. The tofu shop where I buy it is located in San Jose (there's also one in Milpitas and one in LA). Their factory makes all kinds of tofu textures (silken tofu, fried tofu, sweetened and unsweetened soy milk and tofu dessert). Make sure to ask for the firm type. The two locations in the Bay Area are Vinh Khang Tofu, 141 Dixon Road, Milpitas, CA 95035 and 2955 Senter Road #80, San Jose, Ca 95111.

All the ingredients listed above can be found in any Asian store.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on November 5, 2012.


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