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Author Notes: Chả hấp chay (steamed tofu pâté) is a vegetarian version of Vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf. Paired with a side of stir-fried water spinach and steamed rice, this dish makes for a satiating meal that is ideal for meatless Mondays. —platedpalate
- 250 grams firm tofu
- 1/2 handful beanthread noodles
- 1/2 tablespoon dried woodear mushrooms
- 1/2 carrot, julienned
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/2 tablespoon fermented bean curd
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (+/- to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 tablespoon tapioca flour
- 1/2 tablespoon annatto seed oil
- In separate bowls, soak the beanthread noodles and woodear mushrooms in warm water. Once softened, drain the mushrooms and noodles and roughly chop them.
- Thoroughly drain the tofu from its liquid and place into a bowl. With a spoon, mash the tofu until it takes on a smooth, paste-like texture. Then, place the tofu in a cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Return the tofu to a bowl and combine with the diced shallots, carrots, beanthread noodles, fermented bean curd, corn starch, salt, sugar, and pepper. Mix until it becomes a homogenous mixture, and add any additional salt if necessary. Transfer the mixture into a cocotte dish, spreading it evenly and pressing firmly into the dish. Steam for 20 minutes.
- While the tofu is steaming, prepare the glaze topping by mixing 1 tablespoon of water with the tapioca flour and annatto seed oil. After 20 minutes of steaming, pour the glaze mixture evenly over the surface of the steamed tofu and continue steaming for another 6-7 minutes. Once the tofu pâté cools, the glaze topping will set.
- Serve with steamed white rice and dip each bite in a mixture of fish sauce + a squeeze of lime juice + chopped bird’s eye chilis. Those who prefer a purely vegetarian or vegan version can dip it in soy sauce mixed with chili peppers instead of fish sauce.