Crispy Spicy Fried Lemongrass Vietnamese Tofu Recipe

Learn how to make the best crispy fried Lemongrass Vietnamese Tofu recipe.

This homemade traditional Vietnamese Tofu features lemongrass, red chili, medium firm tofu, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, soy sauce, Maggi sauce, cilantro and peanuts.

Our quick & easy spicy Lemongrass Tofu is a healthy side dish or entree to serve at a Vietnamese dinner party.

It’s an ideal last minute meal to prepare on a busy week night as it takes just 20 minutes to cook!

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What Is Tofu?

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness; it can be silken, soft, firm, extra firm or super firm.

Tofu has a subtle flavour, so it can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish and its flavours, and due to its spongy texture it absorbs flavours well. 

It is a traditional component of East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines, and has been consumed in China for over 2,000 years. In modern western cooking, it is most often treated as a meat substitute for vegan and vegetarian diets.

Our easy Vietnamese Tofu recipe features fish sauce, proving that a delicious tofu dish can be enjoyed by seafood and meat lovers too!

Traditional Lemongrass Vietnamese Tofu recipe ingredients.
Traditional Lemongrass Vietnamese Tofu recipe ingredients.

Travel to Vietnam by Cooking Lemongrass Tofu at Home

I love traveling through Asia.

My first visit to Asia had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.

After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

I spent over a month traveling by bus through Vietnam. I started in the south, spending a few days in Saigon before exploring the floating markets in the nearby Mekong Delta. I then took a series of night buses north making stops in Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi.

What I found most fascinating is Vietnam’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, each town in Vietnam had its own local speciality.

I fell in love with the exciting street food culture found in bustling cities like Hanoi and Saigon. Some of my most memorable meals featured Spicy Vietnamese Tofu gobbled up with chopsticks at a plastic table teetering on the curb of a busy intersection.

Prepare homemade Vietnamese Tofu ingredients by chopping shallots, garlic, chili and lemongrass.
Prepare homemade Vietnamese Tofu ingredients by chopping shallots, garlic, chili and lemongrass.

Where To Eat Vietnamese Tofu

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Southeast Asian restaurant that serves Vietnamese Fried Tofu.

Haven’t traveled to Vietnam before? It may be helpful to first sample Lemongrass Tofu at a local Vietnamese restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can assess the crispy texture of the tofu, ideal spicy heat level and perfect side dishes to compliment the meal.

In Toronto, popular Vietnamese restaurants that may serve their own unique Vietnamese Tofu recipe include Pinky’s Ca Phe, Pho Phuong, Pho Vistro, Anh Dao, Pho Hung, Pho Asia 21 or The Golden Turtle.

In a large mixing bowl toss Vietnamese Tofu ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl tossVietnamese Tofu ingredients.

Health Benefits

Our easy Lemongrass Tofu recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a valuable plant source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese and phosphorous.

Lemongrass is a rich source of antioxidants. It’s an effective antibacterial and anti-fungal agent. 

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Shallots are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Chili has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss. 

A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals. 

Peanuts are rich in protein, fat, and fibre. While peanuts may have a large amount of fat, most of the fats they contain are known as “good fats.” 

In a nonstick skillet fry Vietnamese Tofu until crispy and browned.
In a nonstick skillet fryVietnamese Tofu until crispy and browned.

Vietnamese Fried Tofu Cooking Tips

This yummy Vietnamese Tofu recipe is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time Vietnamese cooks!

  • We suggest using a well-seasoned large wok or nonstick skillet to prepare Lemongrass Tofu as it ensures the delicate cubes do not stick to the pan and break apart.
  • We’ve used Thai red long chilies in this recipe but you can substitue for any of your favorite hot chilies. Remove the seeds if you can’t tolerate spicy foods or add them if you’re keen for a fiery experience.
  • We’ve used medium tofu as we like how the exterior gets crispy and interior remains soft. You can substitue for firm tofu to enjoy a chewier mouthfeel.
  • We’ve used peanut oil in this recipe but you can substitute for coconut oil or canola oil.
  • You can serve vegan or vegetarian Vietnamese Tofu by omitting the fish sauce.
  • The dish is garnished with cilantro but you could substitue for finely sliced scallions if you prefer.
Serve Lemongrass Tofu garnished with peanuts and cilantro.
Serve Lemongrass Tofu garnished with peanuts and cilantro.

What To Serve with Traditional Vietnamese Tofu

Vietnamese Fried Tofu is typically enjoyed as a side dish at a large feast or main course with steamed rice or noodles for a lighter lunch option.

If you’re hosting a Vietnamese dinner party, we suggest pairing Lemongrass Tofu with Bun Cha Vietnamese Noodle Bowls, Vietnamese Grilled Pork “Bun Thit Nuong”, Goi Xoai Vietnamese Mango Salad,  Goi Ga Vietnamese Salad, Shrimp & Pork Vietnamese Egg Rolls, and Vietnamese Crepe Bánh Xèo.

Fried tofu keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container and enjoy as leftovers.

Serve healthy Vietnamese Fried Tofu with steamed rice or noodles.
Serve healthy Vietnamese Fried Tofu with steamed rice or noodles.

You May Also Enjoy Cooking These Asian Recipes…

Serve easy Lemongrass Tofu at a Vietnamese themed dinner party.
Serve easy Lemongrass Tofu at a Vietnamese themed dinner party.
Now you're an expert on how to make the best authentic Vietnamese Tofu recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best authentic Vietnamese Tofu recipe!

Step By Step Vietnamese Tofu Recipe Video

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Spicy Lemongrass Vietnamese Tofu

How to cook traditional Vietnamese Tofu. Our easy crispy fried lemongrass tofu features spicy chili, garlic, fish sauce, peanuts & cilantro.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: Lemongrass Tofu, Vietnamese Tofu
Servings: 4
Calories: 392kcal


  • French knife
  • mixing bowl
  • Nonstick Skillet
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon


  • 2/3 cup Fresh Lemongrass minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Red Chili minced
  • 1 lb Medium Firm Tofu cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove minced
  • 1 Shallot sliced
  • 2 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Maggi Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro garnish
  • 1 tbsp Peanuts garnish


  • To a mixing bowl, add the lemongrass, salt, and red chili. Stir to combine, then add the tofu cubes and toss to coat.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the tofu cubes and saute until golden on all sides. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 5 minutes, tossing the tofu cubes.
  • Add fish sauce, soy sauce and Maggi sauce.
  • Serve the Vietnamese tofu in a bowl topped with peanuts and cilantro.


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 29.3g | Fat: 26.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Sodium: 1036mg | Potassium: 154mg | Fiber: 4.4g | Sugar: 0.8g | Calcium: 415mg | Iron: 7mg

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