Chao (Fermented bean curd, Fermented tofu)
Traditional Chao (Fermented bean curd, Fermented tofu) is an essence of Vietnamese cuisine. Fermented bean curd is considered as Asian cheese. This food is popular in Central and South Vietnam. According to most of Vietnamese people, Chao is buttery and salty. In addition, it has good smell which attracts dinners. Fermented bean curd helps to excite taste buds.
Fermented tofu is a form of processed, preserved tofu used in Vietnamese cuisine. Process of making this fermented food as below:
Boil tofu in 2 minutes, dry it using cloth, cut into cubes;
Toast salt, mix salt with chili powder;
Cover tofu cubes with mix of chili and salt;
Put banana leaves into a jar, then tofu cubes and banana leaves on top of tofu;
Tighten the jar, dry the jar under the sun (optional), wait for 2-3 days;
Get tofu cubes out of the jar and put them into another jar with salt water;
Fermented tofu is ready after 10-15 days, ready tofu cubes must be floating.
Chao is a favorite of both vegetarians and non-vegetarians in the country. Vietnamese people use this food as dipping sauce. They usually eat steamed rice with raw Chao or dip boiled vegetables in raw Chao. They can also cook raw Chao with spices (sugar, garlic, chili) for a few minutes to receive a Fermented tofu sauce. This kind of sauce is a good choice to dip boiled vegetables, grilled goat meat, hot pot with goat, salads with fish…
Vietnamese cook also marinate meat, fishes, seafood with Fermented tofu. Some delicious foods cooked from Chao are:
- Roasted chicken in fermented bean curd;
- Stewed duck in fermented bean curd;
- Hot pot with duck and fermented bean curd;
- Stir-fried morning glory with fermented bean curd, Stir-fried egg and bitter melon with fermented bean curd, Stir-fried ground pork and luffa with fermented bean curd;
- Braised tofu and vegetables with fermented bean curd.