"Ethnic minorities in Sapa rarely eat meat; their staple diet is mainly vegetables and tofu. You can find delicious, steaming-hot, freshly pressed tofu being sold at the Sapa markets. If you are not a tofu fan, please give this recipe a go. It will convert you forever." - Chef Luke Nguyen



200ml vegetable oil
500g silken tofu, drained and cut into 3 cm cubes
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon red Asian shallot, finely diced
1 bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 spring onions, cut into 1 cm lengths
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
coriander sprigs, to garnish


Add the oil to a large wok or deep-frying pan and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 15 seconds.

Pat the tofu dry with paper towels. Working in two batches to ensure the oil stays hot, carefully add the tofu to the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Transfer the deep-frying oil into a deep bowl, cool and keep to use another time, leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok.

Add the garlic, shallot and chilli to the wok and stir-fry over medium heat for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar and fish sauce. Stir and allow the tomatoes to break down.
Pour in 100 ml water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the spring onion and simmer for 1 minute more.

Arrange the tofu on a serving plate, then spoon the tomato mixture over. Garnish with coriander and serve.

Recipe from Luke's Book - The Food of Vietnam. Click here to purchase the book now.

Phuong Nguyen