Tomatoes are my forever-loved veggie. Each week I always have to buy a large pack of tomatoes. In Vietnamese cuisine, tomatoes are used frequently in daily cooking, especially during hot summer, tomatoes are often indispensable in sour soups, which help relieve the heat of the summer.
However, I find tomatoes are best in winter when tomatoes are not only cheap but firm and red. The flesh of the tomatoes then is so "sweet" with less seeds. Here, I often see only two kinds of tomatoes. One kind is the normal tomatoes. The other is baby tomatoes such as grape tomatoes – which are called cherry tomatoes here in Singapore. The vine-ripen tomatoes are available at some specialty stores or some big supermarkets, however, they are not cheap and so not affordable for me.
To make this stuffed tomatoes, I used tomatoes of medium size and chose the ripe but firm ones. The soft tomatoes are vulnerable to break apart while braising. And the small ones like these also look lovelier than the large ones.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 150g minced pork
- 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked to soften
- 2-3 black fungus (wood-ear), soaked to soften
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- several medium-sized ripe and firm tomatoes
- vegetable oil, as needed
- cilantro, to serve
- Rinse the mushrooms well. Reserve the soaking water. Chop the mushrooms finely.
- Rinse the black fungus well, then chop finely.
- Combine the pork, mushrooms, black fungus, egg, fish sauce, pepper and shallot.
- Cut out the top of the tomatoes and remove the seeds inside. Stuff the tomatoes with the pork mixture until all the fillings are used.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the tomatoes, concentrate on frying the tops where the pork mixture is present. Fry until the skins start to dry.
- Transfer the fried tomatoes into a saucepan. Add the reserved mushroom-soaking water. If you like, you may add some dried mushrooms and cilantro roots into the saucepan. Braise the tomatoes over medium-low heat for about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve hot or warm with cilantro.