In our household, the lifespan of a recipe is often short lived. It gets made. Photographed. Enjoyed. Posted. And soon thereafter, forgotten, set by the wayside for whatever new batch of recipes we’re making the next week. As good as they might have been, we’re just not in the habit of repeating things (such is the life of a food blogger), and most of the recipes I post here share a similar fate.
This recipe, on the other hand, deserves your full and lasting attention. It was a recipe I expected to like; but it wasn’t something I expected to blow me away. I mean it’s pretty simple, just tofu crusted in panko and sesame and lightly fried, with a sweet and salty Vietnamese dipping sauce. But the fact that we’ve made it four times in the past few weeks says a lot about it.
This recipe has a lot of things going for it: it’s healthy, yet still has just enough fried flavor to satisfy your unhealthiest cravings. It’s ridiculously simple, and (assuming you remembered to get your tofu draining beforehand) only takes about 20 minutes to put together. I’d call that a win-win.
But the dipping sauce is what seals the deal. It’s called nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce made from little more than lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and spicy red pepper. If you’ve ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant, this is the sauce they serve with their crispy egg rolls that makes them so irresistible. On it’s own the fish sauce might be repulsive (I can’t stand the smell and make Taylor do that part always), but combined with the other ingredients and splashed on the crispy bites of fried tofu, it’s perfection. Just the right amount of sugar, salt, tang, and spice.
I need more recipes like this one in my life.
Yield: 2 servings
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen.// All images and text ©