Sunday, June 8, 2008

Panfried Tofu with Asian Caramel Sauce

I am always looking for new ways to cook tofu - we like the taste and are both vegetarian sympathizers (we prefer eating vegetarian meals, but I will never turn a good steak down). I found this recipe and was intrigued by the prospect of making caramel sauce. I have only made caramel once - when I made praline for Thanksgiving and kind of burned it - but I was armed with experience this time and knew to watch the sugar more closely.

If you have never had Vietnamese-style caramel sauce, here is your chance. It is not anything like candy caramel, if you are concerned about that. It is a nice mix of sweet and savory. I didn't have shallots so I substituted the white parts of scallions, which turned out just fine. I skipped the fried shallots/scallions and didn't miss them. I also skipped the fresh basil and mint - I usually have those growing out on my patio, but I got lazy this year. I steamed the bok choy for about five minutes. I have always wanted a steamer but have never gotten around to buying one - then I read a tip online to just use a metal strainer over a pot of water - why didn't I think of that? Well, whoever did - genius! Thanks for saving me money.

We both really enjoyed the flavor of this dish. The bok choy goes wonderfully with the tofu and sauce - I have never made bok choy but I love the flavor. I would make this again, but unfortunately the recipe failed the dishes test. There were too many pots and pans that my husband had to clean, and he was not that thrilled with that. One pot for the sauce, one pot for the bok choy, and two skillets for the tofu (I don't have one that's big enough for all the slices). And of course a chopping board or two. So - when we live overseas and have a househelper to clean our dishes, yes, I would make this one again. Until then I think my hubby would prefer my one-pot meals.

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