Sweet tofu with dark soy sauce and preserved vegetable

There are days when I get a yearning for my mother’s home-cooking. With three young kids and a husband to feed, the meals she cooked were often composed of simple dishes she learnt from watching her mother, mother-in-law, family and friends.

This was one she often whipped up when we were growing up. It comprises of just a few ingredients and our fridge always had a packet of special preserved vegetables.

Special preserved vegetables in this case, refers to dried preserved cabbage. Radish and mustard greens might also be used, but it’s predominantly cabbage that is preserved with salt and garlic, and then dried. Traditionally these would come in small earthenware jars, but it’s easily available in plastic bags pre-chopped in small pieces at Asian grocers.

Texture wise, preserved vegetables are crisp and firm, but fairly salty, so when used in cooking, you do not need much and you certainly don’t need to add salt. The product keeps well without refrigeration until opened.

In this dish, the tofu takes on the sweet sauce, but the preserved vegetables provide the good salty crunchy contrast.


Sweet tofu with dark soy sauce and preserved vegetable

Yield: Serves 4

Sweet tofu with dark soy sauce and preserved vegetable


  • 750 gm regular or firm tofu, cubed
  • 100 gm preserved vegetable
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp raw sugar (if using white sugar, use 2 tbsp)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil


  1. Heat a wok with oil until slight ripples can be seen on the oil surface.
  2. Sautee the garlic before adding the tofu, preserved vegetable, soy sauce and sugar.
  3. Stir fry for 5 mins until the tofu leeches out some of its water content.
  4. Serve with rice.