This sweet and sour Vietnamese style of pan-fried Caramel-Cooked Tofu is from Michael Natkin’s cookbook Herbivoracious.
- ¼ cup rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce (use a wheat-free version for gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu, patted thoroughly dry and cut into 2 x 2x ⅓-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 or more dried small red chilies (optional)
- 5 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- ½ cup thinly sliced white onion
Whisk together the rice wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Lay the tofu squares in the skillet in a single layer (or as close to a single layer as possible). Fry until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes.
Flip the tofu and immediately pour in the sauce; add the white onions and chilies, if using. The sauce will sputter and begin to caramelize. Keep a close eye on it, and move the tofu around a little bit to let the sauce get under it. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and become a fairly thick glaze coating the tofu, about 4 minutes more.
Serve immediately, topped with the scallions.