"These are delicious starters or party snacks and are also fantastic on vermicelli noodle salad bowls, complemented by lovely fruit preserves which play on the perfect Vietnamese balance of sweet, sour, umami and heat."
Vietnamese Vegetarian by Uyen Luu (Hardie Grant, £25), Photography by Laurie Noble.
- 12–15 dried tofu knots, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
For the batter
For the buttery apricot sauce
For the garnish
- zest and juice of 1/2 lime
- toasted sesame seeds
- 10g coriander leaves, chopped
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced at a diagonal
- After soaking, drain the tofu knots in a colander for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the batter ingredients together on a large plate. Then add the still-moist tofu knots onto the plate and evenly coat them in the batter. Get into all the nooks and crannies.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, gently place the tofu knots in the pan and fry for about 5 minutes on one side until golden. Turn on the other side, add the remaining oil and continue frying for another 5 minutes. Then drain off on a paper towel. To keep them warm, leave in a 70ºC fan oven for no longer than an hour.
- To make the sauce, add the ghee and garlic to a small saucepan, and cook over a medium heat until slightly golden, then add the chillies, apricot jam and fish sauce. Mix well together and cook until the jam has dissolved and it is bubbling for a couple of minutes.
- To serve, place the fried tofu knots onto a plate and pour the apricot sauce all over. Squeeze over the lime juice, sprinkle with sesame seeds, the coriander, spring onion, chillies and lime zest.
- Notes: If you can not get apricot jam, I find that more citrusy jams like marmalade and grapefruit work best. Even lemon curd works well. If you can not get tofu knots, use medium firm tofu or coat a variety of vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, aubergine or courgettes.
Uyen Luu is a Vietnamese food writer, blogger and food photographer based in London. She has released two cookbooks to date 'My Vietnamese Kitchen (2013)' and 'Vietnamese (2021)'. She also hosts a Vietnamese supper club in her East London studio where she cooks dishes she learned from her mother.