Dau Hu Rang Muoi Recipe (Vietnamese Tofu)
Đậu hũ rang muối is probably my husband Lulu's favorite preparation for tofu. It literally translates to "toasted tofu in salt crust". Indeed, large pieces of silken tofu are covered in tapioca starch, then deep-fried. Finally, a quick stir fry of green onions, freshly sliced red Thai chiles and salt complete the dish.
The simplicity of this dish is what is remarkable about the versatility of tofu. A drizzle of soy sauce and the addition of freshly steamed jasmine rice makes the most delicious meal. Who could ever say tofu is bland and tasteless?
Yields: 6 servings2 (12.3-ounce) packages silken tofu
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ cup green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon red Thai bird chile, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly cracked
½ cup vegetable oil, as needed
¼ cup soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
For the seasoning mix: In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar and white pepper.
For the soy sauce: In another bowl, combine the soy sauce and lime juice.
Preparing the tofu: Drain the liquid from the package of the tofu. Cut the piece of tofu into half, crosswise. Place on a plate and warm in the microwave for 20 seconds to remove any moisture. Using a fine mesh strainer, dredge the tofu in tapioca starch on both sides. Gently shake any excess.
In a large wok, heat the oil over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu pieces. Make sure the tofu pieces don't touch each other. Pan-fry for about 5 minutes until very crispy and golden; the tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Lift the tofu and check for a golden crust, then flip the pieces. Lower the heat and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Once all the tofu pieces are fried, remove the oil (if necessary), leaving 1 tablespoon in the wok. Add the green onions. Stir and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chiles and cook until they are shiny. Return the tofu to the wok and sprinkle with the seasoning mix. Quickly stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
Cover a serving platter with Vietnamese herbs and greens. Top with the tofu pieces. Garnish with the greens onions and red chiles.
Once you're ready to serve, drizzle with lime soy sauce.
Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice on the side.
Check out a similar preparation using crab called cua rang muối.
I used silken firm tofu. The texture is very delicate, so handle with care while frying the tofu, or it will fall apart.