This Vietnamese-inspired Braised Tofu & Mushrooms features juicy tofu served in the most aromatic caramel sauce! This clay pot tofu is infused with shallots, black pepper, and vegan fish sauce. Plus, it has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy!
📘 What is Braised Tofu
Called “Đậu Hủ Kho Tiêu” in Vietnamese, this tofu dish consists of fried tofu cooked in a sweet, salty, and peppery fish sauce. It is a very popular vegetarian dish in Vietnam and is often served with white rice on the side.
🍄 Ingredient Notes
This clay pot tofu takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and requires just 9 ingredients:
- Tofu – Use medium to firm tofu. I recommend staying away from extra firm tofu as it would not have a pleasant texture. You want soft and tender tofu.
- Mushrooms – I went with cremini mushrooms, but you can definitely use oysters, white buttons, or shiitake mushrooms.
- Vegan fish sauce – Vegan fish sauce is essential to this recipe if you want to get an authentic flavor. Vegan versions are usually made from fermented soybeans or pineapple. You can get it in Asian stores or make your own vegan fish sauce. If you can’t find vegan fish sauce, simply use soy sauce.
- Green onions
- Ground black pepper
- Sugar – Preferably granulated white sugar since we will make caramel.
- Sweet chili sauce – Optional, but it adds extra sweetness and some heat. You can use your favorite chili sauce, sriracha, or homemade sweet chili sauce.
- Soy sauce – For umami and saltiness.
- Shallots – Feel free to substitute it with onion.
🥣 How to Make Braised Tofu
- Fry the tofu. You can deep-fry or pan-fry it. The goal is to have a golden brown “skin.” Frying the tofu will allow it to absorb the sauce better and prevent it from crumbling.
- Make the caramel. Next, heat a couple of tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan or clay pot to make a caramel. The caramel will add a deeper flavor to the dish as well as a golden brown color.
- Add the aromatics. Once the caramel has a nice golden brown color, add minced shallots and green onions and cook for about one minute.
- Deglaze the pan. Then, deglaze the pan with water and add vegan fish sauce, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and ground black pepper. At first, the caramel might harden but will later melt in the sauce.
- Add the mushrooms and fried tofu, and let simmer for a few minutes to let them absorb the delicious sweet and salty sauce!
🍚 What to Eat With This Braised Tofu
This braised tofu is delicious served over white rice, quinoa, or your favorite grain.
- While I used a clay pot here, you can definitely prepare this recipe in a small cast iron pot or a saucepan. The advantage of the clay pot is that it requires less oil during cooking and keeps the food warm for a longer time.
- Do not omit the frying step. Using white tofu will not work in this recipe as it would not absorb the flavors of the sauce. If you want to save time and omit the frying step, use fried tofu cubes that are often sold at Asian supermarkets.
Yes! We actually air-fried the tofu here. It should take around 15 minutes to air-fry the tofu.
I highly recommend it if you want to get an authentic flavor. Soy sauce can be a substitute, but the flavor of the sauce will be different. You can find vegan fish sauce in Asian stores or online. Personally, I asked my local Asian store, and they were able to order it for me, so if you don’t see it on the shelves, don’t hesitate to ask!
It will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Reheat covered over medium heat before serving.
Yes, this recipe is based on authentic Vietnamese recipes.
I hope you will love this Vietnamese Braised Tofu & Mushrooms as much as I do! The tofu is chewy and juicy, while the sauce has an amazing balance of saltiness and sweetness. Plus, it has a hint of spiciness from the chili sauce and the black pepper!
Update 2021: The recipe, photos, and post have been updated. It’s now even tastier and more saucy! Definitely one of our favorite tofu recipes!
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 tbsp chopped green onions
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp vegan fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce or 1/2 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tsp soy sauce Use Maggi soy sauce for a more authentic flavor
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper more to taste
- 1/2 cup halved mushrooms I used cremini mushrooms
- 10-12 1/2-inch cubes of fried tofu
- Heat the water and sugar in a small clay pot or saucepan over medium heat. Let the sugar caramelize. It should get a golden brown color. Next, add the minced shallot and green onions and cook for one more minute.
- Next, deglaze with the water. Add the vegan fish sauce, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and ground black pepper, and stir to combine.
- Add the fried tofu and halved mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 7-10 minutes. The tofu and mushrooms will soak up the sauce, making them sweet and salty. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, adding more vegan fish sauce for saltiness, or water to dilute if too salty.
- Serve immediately on top of steaming white rice! This braised tofu and mushroom clay pot will keep for up to two days in the fridge. It tastes even better the next day as the tofu soaked up more flavors.