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Luke Nguyen's Crisp Tofu in Tomato Pepper Sauce

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Crisp Tofu in Tomato Sauce01

It seems that I was born with an interest in having fried tofu with tomato, yet only realized this not long ago.

Last week, as usual I watched Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam Season 2 on SBS. A side note, Luke Nguyen’s latest released cookbook "The Songs of Sapa" was crowned amongst one of the winners of 2010 Australian Food Media Awards. In the minute I finished watching the show, that he cooked the Crisp tofu in tomato-pepper sauce on a hill top in Vietnam, my urge inside to try his dish was immediately confirmed by my daughter’s suggestion, “Would you cook this, mum? It looks tasty.” This plain, simple question uttered from a meat lover said it all. Without a second thought, I jumped on the bandwagon. The two main ingredients, tofu and tomato are always sitting in my fridge, even when the nearby supermarkets were running short of food supplies during the floods hit our state. Everything is ready and this dish is simple and easy to prepare. The end result was satisfied, fresh with lots of flavour. The crisp tofu was so good in the balanced savoury, sour and sweet sauce.

Recipe from Crisp tofu cooked in tomato-pepper sauce by Luke Nguyen (Printable recipe)

  • 200ml (7 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) silken tofu, drained and cut into 3cm (11/4 inch) cubes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced red Asian shallots
  • 1 birdseye chilli, finely sliced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), cut into 5cm (2 inch) lengths
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to garnish (I didn't use.)
  1. Pour the oil into a wok and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds.
  2. Add the tofu, cooking it in two batches to ensure the oil stays hot, and deep-fry until crisp. Remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and transfer to kitchen paper to drain.
  3. Transfer the deep-frying oil into a deep bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok.
  4. Add the garlic, Asian shallots and chilli to the wok, and stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar and fish sauce. Stir and allow the tomatoes to break down.
  6. Add 100ml (31/2 fl oz) water to the wok, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the crisp tofu, spring onions and black pepper, folding it all together, and simmer for no longer than 1 minute as you want to keep the crisp texture of the tofu.
  8. Garnish with coriander.

Crisp Tofu in Tomato Sauce02


  1. I saw this episode! Looks just as delicious as his but did you have anything comparable to his view when he was cooking this? :) Made me want to book and ticket and fly!

  2. I watched that episode of Luke Nguyen's Vietnam as well. It did look good, and yours look delicious too. I think he's a really talented chef.

  3. It does sound like a delicious tofu dish that a novice at Asian cuisine like me could pull off very easily!

  4. I love crispy tofu - yours look deep fried to perfection!

  5. christine, looking at the ingredients up there, i think i would love this dish, the gravy would be so tasty too, would love to try this one day.

  6. Nice! I'm always looking for ways to change up my tofu.

  7. I thought this is a Chinese style dish; whichever, I like your fried tofu.

  8. It must be a challenge to deep fry the tofu, esp when it is silken.

  9. Sounds like an excellent preparation of tofu, love the texture with deep frying!

  10. This looks so good. I haven't been able to master the art of crispy tofu yet, but I keep trying. Will give this recipe a shot.

  11. this is one og the dish I grew up with :)

  12. Gosh, I just love simple but delicious dishes like this. Homecooked fare is the best!

  13. Mmmm...spicy, healthy and delicious. I will eat ore rice :D

  14. The picture is delicious. I'll just skip the fish sauce and get a vegan version. Thanks.

  15. I made this after seeing the show as well. Delicious! I'm making it again tonight, but baking the tofu. Unfortunately I have no coriander this time...guess I'll have to settle for garlic chives.

  16. @Anonymous
    Oh, good idea of baking tofu, instead of deep frying, save oil and healthier. I want to try next time. :)

  17. Love the simplicity of this dish and I have his book. A very good cookbook to own and have used a lot of it as well :)

  18. I actually love crisp tofu but have yet to cook it. Thanks for this simple yet delicious idea.
    How cute of your daughter to ask that too :)

  19. how many does this serve?

  20. @Anonymous:
    About 3 to 4 people, depends on how hungry they are.

  21. Hi Christine, I just found your blog and thought it was great, especially with the Japanese bread recipes. For this dish, I actually make this often with really good result by pan frying the tofu instead of deep frying. For a delicious variation of this dish, you can also substitute the tofu with salmon, just lightly season the salmon fillets with salt & pepper and pan frying them , then cook like above.

    1. Very good idea of using salmon. Think it'd work well for the dish.
      Glad that you love my bread recipes.