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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chao/Doufu Ru (Fermented Bean Curd)

Fermented bean curd, called chao in Vietnamese and doufu ru in Chinese, is a type of pickled tofu. It is sometimes called "Chinese cheese" because of its similarities in smell, texture, and taste to softened bleu cheese. The dried fermented tofu may be pickled with salt, rice wine, or vinegar. Red fermented bean curd has chili peppers. The fermented bean curd is sold cubed with brine, in jars or clay pots.

Chao (Fermented Bean Curd)

It is popular in Vietnamese and Chinese cooking. Fermented bean curd is very strong in flavor so a little bit goes a long way.

I sometimes mash up one cube of chao to eat with a bowl of rice porridge. More likely though, I mash it up and use it to flavor sauces or vegetables.

My recipes with chao/doufu ru (fermented bean curd):  
Rau Muong Xao Toi Voi Chao (Vietnamese Water Spinach Sauteed with Garlic and Fermented Bean Curd)  
Dau Hu Nhoi Cha Tom voi Sot Chao Ot (Vietnamese Shrimp Paste-Stuffed Tofu with Fermented Bean Curd Chili Sauce)  
Yong Tau Foo (Chinese Stuffed Tofu)

1 year ago today, Egg Rolls Stuffed with Bananas and Mangoes with Nutella Dipping Sauce.


  1. I absolutely adore chao! I've always have a back up jar in my lunch bag for work because it's such a great, salty addition to my rice.
    My favorite concoction is chao dip: crushed with chili peppers, sugar, soy sauce and lime. I get some fresh Viet baguettes and dip them in this chao dip and it's the bomb! I got all the girls at the nail shop to crave this stuff, but our salt intake on this is so bad that we limit ourselves to it to just once a month!
    Glad you mentioned chao!

  2. WoRC,
    I like chao too but a back-up jar in your lunch bag is hard core! Mmm. Your dip sounds wonderful. I think I'd dip extra-thick or toasted banh trang in that dip.

  3. Hey WC - This is really good stuff!

  4. I love this in my porridge!!

  5. Kirk,
    Yes indeed!

    Me too! But I love it best with water spinach.

  6. i just had chao for the first time about two hours ago, and my stomach still hurts! i wouldn't feed this to my worst enemy! i can't imagine that any American would ever eat rotten bean mash!

  7. Cheng,
    Haha. Yeah, it's an acquired taste for many people, but I love it. Lots of people love blue cheese and I'd say it's on the same scale.

  8. I love this stuff with rice and sour bamboo shoots... as long as the bamboo shoots are cooked the right way which takes a while haha. this is great stuff!

  9. Chrissy,
    You add the fermented bean curd to braise with bamboo shoots? I'll have to try that one day. I love this stuff too.

  10. Could you please post a recipe for chao? I would love to make it myself, but cannot find any recipes. Thanks in advance.

  11. Mme Moussu,
    I wish! I have no idea how to make it.


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