This simple, tangy Vietnamese tofu in tomato sauce is a comforting vegan dish that's very easy to make. It's made by adding fried or baked tofu in a simple onion-tomato gravy which can be served with any rice or noodle dish.
Life is so unpredictable, you never know what will happen to you the very next moment. Last year, this time we were busy finalizing our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, not having the slightest hint of how different the following year would be.
To avoid feeling gloomy and depressed during the quarantine, I thought of re-living our time in Vietnam by cooking a simple dish on which we survived a lot of days during our two-week meat-free trip to Vietnam last year.
Vegetarian/ Vegan food in Vietnam
Finding Vegan or Vegetarian food in Vietnam is not very tough as there are quite a few restaurants providing the options.
Because of Buddhism, most people understand the meaning of Vegetarian food. You just need to remember the word 'Chay' with the correct tone (the Vietnamese language has 6 tones, more than Mandarin which has 4 tones), to communicate your vegetarian food preference.
However, there are only a few main ingredients that will be served to you in different forms if you want to have a meat-free meal in Vietnam. These ingredients were tofu, eggplant, pumpkin, and Vietnamese morning glory.
Of all these ingredients, my favorite was morning glory and I will share its recipe once we get free from this Pandemic and can go out shopping.
Today I am sharing a very simple Tofu recipe which is made by cooking tofu in a simple onion and tomato sauce. We had this dish at least once every day during our trip.
How to serve?
In Vietnam, we were always served this dish with some steamed jasmine rice and I think it tastes the best with it. Just serve some finely chopped chili peppers, calamansi/ lime wedges, salt, and ground black pepper on the side.
Just the thought of those simple Vegan Vietnamese meals makes me hungry.
You can also have it with stir-fried noodles if you want.
Type of Tofu to use
Use firm tofu for this recipe. In Vietnam, we always found this dish with deep-fried tofu cubes but when I make it at home, I prefer baking the tofu. You can choose whichever way you like.
These days a lot of stores also sell fried tofu in packets. To save time you can use that too. However, it won't be a healthy option.
In this recipe, I like very soft and silky tofu so bake it only for a few minutes. But, if you prefer crispy tofu either fry it or bake for a longer period.
More easy tofu recipes
Tofu is one of my favorite things to eat so I keep on making it in different ways. If you are looking for ideas to start adding tofu to your diet, don't miss to check out the following recipes:
More easy vegan and vegetarian tomato recipes
- Tomato puff pastry tart
- Roasted bell pepper and tomato soup
- Bengali style tomato chutney
- Cherry tomato pasta
Step by step photo instructions
Vietnamese tofu in tomato sauce
Ingredients for baked tofu
- 1 cup firm tofu cubes
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder optional
- ½ teaspoon cooking oil
- Salt as per taste
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes fresh or canned both are fine
- 1 medium sized onion sliced
- 3 sprigs spring onion keep white and green part separated
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 Thai red chili finely chopped
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- Salt as per taste
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 cup water adjust to get the desired consistency
- In a bowl toss tofu cubes, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 12-15 minutes or until it starts turning brown.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Add chopped garlic and saute until it starts turning brown. Add chopped red chili and white part of spring onion. Saute for a few seconds.
- Next, add sliced onion and saute until it turns translucent.
- Add chopped tomatoes, salt, sugar, soy sauce, and pepper. Mix and cook for around 5 minutes.
- Pour 1 cup of water into the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Finally add baked tofu, spring onion green, and coriander leaves. Mix and cook for about a minute. Cover the pan and switch off the gas. Don't remove the lid for at least 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with steamed Jasmine or sticky rice.
- Instead of baking you can also shallow or deep fry the tofu cubes.