Braised Eggplant and Tofu in Caramel Sauce

Cà Tím Dậu Hủ Kho

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine And Culture In Southern California's Little Saigon

Little Saigon Cookbook

By Ann Le

Published 2011

  • About

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that practically “melt” after a long cooking process, which is why it is so often found in slow-cooked Vietnamese dishes like a curry or a stew. For this dish, the cooking time must be close to an hour in order to achieve the velvety texture of an overcooked eggplant. This is not the most attractive-looking dish, however, so be sure to chop plenty of Thai basil to garnish it.

Ingredients

  • 2 large Asian eggplants (or 2 globe eggplants)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 6 ounces(1 package) firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, quartered, and separated
  • 4 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 anise seed pods
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ½ fresh Thai bird chile, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup Coco Rico coconut soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped

    Method

    1. Wash, pat dry, and peel the eggplants. Cut them into 1l/2-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a colander or on a baking sheet and generously sprinkle them with the 3 tablespoons of salt to sweat out the bitter juices. Let stand for about 20 minutes. If you are using globe eggplants, increase the salting time to 35 minutes.
    2. Rinse the salt off the eggplant cubes and pat them dry. Place the cubes in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    3. Cut the tofu into cubes about 2 inches thick.
    4. In a clay pot or saucepan, carmelize the sugar. Then, add the eggplant and coat. Add the onion, garlic, anise pods, and a pinch of salt to the eggplant.
    5. Add the tofu, fish sauce, chile, coconut soda, and black pepper to the pot. Blend all together and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for 1 hour, or until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
    6. Garnish with the Thai basil and serve with steamed rice.