Lemongrass tofu is a very light and flavorful Vietnamese dish that gets ready in just 25 minutes. If you like Asian food and looking for some quick and easy recipes then this vegan tofu stir fry is a must-try recipe.
I had never tasted any Vietnamese dish in my life before traveling to Vietnam, a few years back. After spending around 2 weeks in Vietnam, a new cuisine got added to my list of favorite cuisines.
During that trip, I also attended a few Vietnamese cooking classes. In one such class, all the students were given a small cookery book which I keep going back to whenever I crave Vietnamese food.
Today, I am sharing a simple but very tasty Vietnamese-style tofu recipe from that book called Lemongrass tofu. It has all the flavors- salty, spicy, savory, slightly sweet, and slightly tangy.
It's very easy to make and gets ready in just 25 minutes.
What goes in lemongrass tofu?
To make lemongrass tofu stir fry the ingredients shown below will be needed:
- Tofu: Use firm tofu.
- Lemongrass: Use fresh lemongrass. Dried lemongrass will be too woody for this recipe.
- Chili pepper: Use a hot variety like Thai chili peppers.
- Brown sugar: Finely grated palm sugar can also be used.
How to make?
Bake tofu: Pat dry tofu cubes with a kitchen towel to get rid of extra moisture. You can also press tofu using a tofu press or by pressing it with something heavy.
Cut into medium size cubes.
Put the tofu cubes in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Gently toss.
Spread on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven for 12-13 minutes at 200°C (400°F).
Mince lemongrass: Remove the leaves and woody part of all the lemongrass stalks, we will only use the soft part inside it.
Roughly chop the soft part of the lemongrass and put it in a grinder/ food processor along with the garlic cloves and mince.
Stir fry: Heat oil in a pan. Add sliced onion and minced lemongrass. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add chopped chili pepper, baked tofu cubes, sugar, pepper, salt, and soy sauce. Gently mix. If the lemongrass starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, add 2-3 tablespoons of water.
Cook for 2-3 minutes and then switch off the stove.
Add fresh lime juice and cilantro/ spring onion greens.
Step by step photo instructions
Lemongrass tofu stir fry can be served as an appetizer. Prepare a quick dip by mixing soy sauce, water, palm sugar, lime juice, and chili pepper, to serve on the side with it.
In the main course, this Vietnamese tofu can be served with steamed jasmine rice or sticky rice. You can also enjoy it with rice noodles.
It can also be added to a Vietnamese buddha bowl.
To store, keep in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will be fine for 2-3 days.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Make sure you get rid of all the woody part of the lemongrass otherwise the dish won't be edible.
- Instead of baking you can also shallow or deep fry the tofu cubes.
- You can use more ingredients to flavor tofu cubes before baking like soy sauce, garlic powder, chili flakes, vinegar, etc.
- Add salt carefully and only if required as soy sauce is already salty and we have added salt in baked tofu cubes also.
- Feel free to add some vegetables like broccoli, carrot, or beans to this dish.
Frequently asked questions
To make gluten-free lemongrass tofu, replace soy sauce with a gluten-free option like tamari. Also, make sure to use plain tofu as some flavored tofu have ingredients that are not suitable for a gluten-free diet.
The only heat in this dish comes from the red chili peppers added to it. So, how spicy the dish depends on how many chopped chili peppers you are using.
For less heat, use fewer chili peppers or remove their seeds.
For more heat, add more chilies. You can also add a hot sauce and chili flakes to make spicy lemongrass tofu.
No, dried lemongrass is too woody for this recipe. Even in fresh lemongrass, pick the freshest you can find.
More vegan Vietnamese recipes
If you want to try some more easy vegan Vietnamese recipes at home then don't miss to check the following links:
More easy tofu recipes
Looking for more tofu stir fry recipes? The following links are worth checking:
- Sweet and sour tofu
- Chili garlic tofu
- Tofu with stir-fried mushrooms and bean sprouts
- Tofu with pineapple and peppers
- Tofu broccoli stir fry in peanut sauce
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- 500 grams firm tofu around 3 cups tofu cubes
- 3 stalks lemongrass
- 1 medium-sized red onion thinly sliced
- 4-5 large garlic cloves
- 1-2 chili peppers finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice adjust to taste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil or any neutral-flavored oil
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar palm sugar can also be used
- Salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
For garnishing (optional)
- Fresh cilantro/ spring onion greens
- Pat dry the tofu block with a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Slice into medium size cubes.
- Put tofu cubes in a bowl. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Gently toss.
- Spread on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 12-13 minutes at 200°C (400°F).
- Chop off the leaves of lemongrass and also remove all the woody outer layers. Roughly chop the inner soft part.
- Put the chopped lemongrass and garlic cloves in a grinder/ food processor and mince.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add sliced onion and ground lemongrass. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped chili pepper, tofu, sugar, pepper, salt, and soy sauce. Gently mix everything. If the lemongrass is sticking to the pan, add a few tablespoons of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then switch off the stove.
- Add fresh lime juice and cilantro/ spring onion greens. Enjoy with rice or noodles.
- Take fresh lemongrass stalks and remove all the woody layers otherwise, it will spoil the dish.
- Add salt only if required as the soy sauce is salty too and we have also added salt while baking tofu.
- More recipe tips and tricks are given within the post above. Please follow them to make this recipe.