Spring Onion Tofu (Vietnamese Dau Phu Tam Hanh)

Spring Onion Tofu (Dau Phu Tam Hanh) is a simple but delicious dish from Vietnam, especially in the North. Each piece of tofu, after being fried until crispy and still hot, is dipped in spring onion fish sauce. Spring Onion Tofu tastes best when it’s still warm, with the tofu crispy on the outside but soft and tasty on the inside. Let’s make it with just a few simple steps and basic ingredients: tofu, spring onion, and fish sauce. For those who can’t consume fish sauce due to its smell or taste, I suggest substituting vegan fish sauce or soy sauce for fish sauce; it tastes great as well.

Spring Onion Tofu

What is Tofu?

Tofu is a food made from soybeans, which are small, round beans. Originating in China, tofu has been made and consumed for over 2,000 years. From China, tofu spread to other parts of East Asia, such as Japan and Korea, where it became an essential part of their cuisines. Over time, tofu’s popularity grew beyond East Asia, and it eventually made its way to other parts of the world, including Europe and North America. Today, tofu is enjoyed by people from various cultures and is used in a wide range of dishes, both traditional and modern.

To make tofu, soybeans are first soaked in water and then crushed to make a liquid. This liquid is heated and mixed with a natural substance called a coagulant, which makes the liquid thicken and turn into solid blocks. Tofu comes in different textures, such as soft, firm, and extra firm, and it doesn’t have a strong taste on its own, so it can take on the flavors of the foods it’s cooked with. People often use tofu as a meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes because it’s a good source of protein. It’s also a versatile ingredient in many types of cooking. My favorite dishes made with tofu are varied, ranging from simple fried tofu to lemongrass fried tofu or tomato tofu egg drop soup.

Ingredients

To make Spring Onion Tofu, of course you’ll need to prepare tofu, spring onions, and a very Vietnamese sauce, fish sauce. Spring onions have a very distinctive aroma, which will be the key flavor of this dish. Opt for unbruised and vibrant green onions, as these signals indicate that they are fresh and recently harvested. When selecting tofu, cut it into cubes or slices for frying, so choose firm tofu without any cracks. Remember to check the date on the tofu packaging as well. Regarding fish sauce, the protein content and salinity may vary among brands, but don’t worry, as it doesn’t significantly affect the final taste, and you can easily adjust it to your liking.

In case you can’t eat fish sauce or need to follow a diet (e.g., vegan diet), use soy sauce or vegan fish sauce instead. It’s also very interesting. Vegan fish sauce is typically made without any animal products and is designed to replicate the umami and salty qualities of traditional fish sauce. The ingredients of vegan fish sauce include soy sauce, seaweed, mushrooms, and other plant-based seasonings. Some versions may also incorporate ingredients like miso paste, salt, and other flavorings to mimic the complexity of fish sauce.

spring onion tofu

Instruction

Step 1. Preparation

Before cooking, prepare your ingredients. Cut a block of tofu into 1.5-2 inch cubes or 1-inch-thick slices. Cut it carefully to avoid breaking any pieces.

Gently wash the spring onions and chop them into small pieces. Then, set them aside.

Step 2. Frying tofu and make spring onion sauce

In a pan, add 3 tbsp of oil and heat over medium heat. Wait until the oil starts to sizzle, then add the tofu slices to the pan. A small tip to fry without splattering oil is to add a pinch of salt or corn flour/all-purpose flour to the oil. Fry until it turns golden yellow (usually after 8-10 minutes), then flip to the other sides so that all sides become attractively golden. If possible, you can deep-fry the tofu. This will save time and effort since you won’t need to flip them, but it will also require more oil.

Spring Onion Tofu
Fry slices of tofu

While waiting for the tofu slices/cubes to fry evenly, make the spring onion sauce. In a medium-sized bowl, mix water, fish sauce/vegan fish sauce/soy sauce, and sugar together until well combined. Then, add a handful of chopped spring onions and let it rest for a while.

Step 3. Dipping fried tofu to spring onion sauce

Once your tofu slices/cubes are ready, dip them into the spring onion sauce you have prepared. Dip them for 30 seconds to let the fried tofu pieces absorb the sauce, then quickly remove them to prevent the yellow fried skin from losing its crispiness.

Spring Onion Tofu
Dip fried tofu in spring onion sauce

Finally, to serve, place the tofu on a dish and garnish with the remaining spring onions from the sauce on top. Garnish with some chili pieces if desired. It’s best served warm with steamed rice and vegetables.

Storing Spring Onion Tofu (Dau Phu Tam Hanh)

As this dish is best served warm, try to eat it all right after cooking. However, in case you need to save some for later meals, separate the fried tofu from the spring onion sauce. This means you should only dip the tofu pieces you are going to eat right away, and store the rest separately. Preserve the fried tofu in the fridge in an air-tight container and the spring onion sauce in another container.

To reheat, quickly fry the tofu pieces again for 4-5 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Once they become hot and crispy again, dip them into the sauce and enjoy.

Besides, do not store fried tofu in the fridge for more than 2 days, as it will develop an oily smell and begin to deteriorate.

spring onion tofu

Spring Onion Tofu (Vietnamese Dau Phu Tam Hanh)

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Spring Onion Tofu tastes best when it's still warm, with the tofu crispy outside but soft and tasty inside. Let's make it with just several simple steps and basic ingredients: tofu, spring onion and fish sauce.

Ingredients

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • Before cooking, do prepare your ingredients. Cut a block of tofu into 1.5-2 inches cubes or 1-inch-thick slices. Cut it carefully not to break any piece.Spring Onion Tofu
  • Gently wash spring onions and chop them into small pieces. Set them aside.

Step 2. Frying tofu and make spring onion sauce

  • In a pan, add 3 tbsp of oil and turn on medium heat. Wait until the oil starts to boil and add tofu slices to the pan. A small tip to fry without splashing oil is adding a pinch of salt or corn flour/all-purpose flour into the oil. Fry until it turns yellow (usually after 8-10 minutes), and flip to the other sides so that all the sides become attractively yellow. If possible, you can deep-fry tofu. You’ll save time and effort to flip them, but it’ll also consume much more oil.Spring Onion Tofu
  • While waiting for the tofu slices/cubes to be fried evenly, make spring onion sauce. In a medium-sized bowl, mix water, fish sauce/ vegan fish sauce/ soy sauce and sugar together until well combined. Then, add handful of chopped spring onion and let it rest for a while.Spring Onion Tofu

Step 3. Dipping fried tofu to spring onion sauce

  • Once your tofu slices/cubes are ready, dip them into the spring onion sauce you have prepared. Dip them in 30 second minutes to let the fried tofu pieces absorb the sauce then quickly remove not to make the yellow fried skin lost its crispiness.Spring Onion Tofu
  • Finally, to serve it, set tofu on a dish and garnish the rest spring onion in the sauce on top. Garnish with some chili pieces. It’s the best when serving warm with steamed rice and vegetables.Spring Onion Tofu

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 250g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220

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