Lemongrass Fried Tofu Recipe

Lemongrass fried tofu is a recipe I learned from my cousin. She often makes this dish for daily meals, with salty, crispy fried tofu and the impressive aroma from fried chopped lemongrass. The Lemongrass fried tofu recipe takes only 30 minutes to make, and you can enjoy the dish as either a side or main dish.

lemongrass fried tofu

I always enjoy vegan and vegetarian dishes. I consider tofu my top choice to substitute meat 1-2 times a week. Therefore, I have a number of tofu recipes on hand, from fermented tofu and tofu soup to tofu sautéed in tomato sauce. However, these dishes take more time to prepare than fried tofu. I also love the crispiness, which is why I’m into fried tofu. When my cousin introduced fried lemongrass to mix with fried tofu, it became even better!

So, let me walk you through the simple cooking process of lemongrass fried tofu.

Ingredients

As I said, this is a simple recipe that requires only 30 minutes to make, and the ingredients are also simple: lemongrass and tofu.

Tofu

Made from soybeans and originating from China, nowadays tofu is not only a popular ingredient in Asia but also around the world. To make lemongrass fried tofu, I bought a box of tofu from a nearby supermarket, around 375g (more than 13 oz). Indeed, I prefer to homemade tofu because I can adjust its firmness, but it takes around 1 hour to make. I’ll introduce how to make homemade tofu later; this time, I had to select store-bought tofu. You can also use frozen tofu, but the texture will be affected a bit.

This amount of tofu is enough for 2 people. If you would like to prepare the dish for a larger family, just increase it to 2-3 pieces.

Lemongrass

For those who haven’t encountered lemongrass, it is a type of aromatic herb commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. It has a pleasant, citrus-like fragrance and a mild, lemony flavor. Lemongrass has long, slender green stalks, and it is primarily used for its stalks and leaves. I also really enjoy lemongrass essential oil; it makes me feel relaxed, as if I were in a spa.

In cooking, lemongrass is often finely chopped or pounded to release its flavor, and it can be added to noodles and soups (such as beef vermicelli or bun bo), curries, stir-fries, beef marinades, and teas. My family grows lemongrass in the garden, so it’s always ready for many daily and special dishes.

When choosing lemongrass, opt for fresh and bright ones. If you see a dark and dry pack of lemongrass, it’s likely quite old already. You will have to remove 1-2 outer layers before chopping.

Lemongrass fried tofu

When you have these 2 ingredients ready, let’s start making lemongrass fried tofu.

How to make lemongrass fried tofu

Step 1. Preparation

Slice the tofu into small cubes of 1 – 1.5 inches (2-3 cm). The tofu is soft, so for safety, you should place it on a flat cutting board to cut instead of handling it in your hand and cutting it. Unless you are very familiar with tofu, like my mom, you can avoid washing the cutting board by cutting it directly on your hand.

For the lemongrass, pick 2-3 stalks. Observe the outer skin; if it’s dry and tough, remove it before chopping. Cut off the hard ends of the lemongrass, then start chopping them thinly by hand. If you have a blender, it’s even easier: cut the lemongrass into 3-4 small pieces and blend them until chopped.

Lemongrass fried tofu

Step 2. Fry tofu and lemongrass separately

Before you chop the lemongrass, add oil to a skillet or pan and turn on medium heat to save time while waiting for the tofu to fry. Once the oil starts to heat up, add ½ tbsp of salt, then the tofu cubes, and fry all six sides. The salt brings a savory taste to the tofu and helps reduce oil splashing while frying. Note: don’t let the tofu pieces become dense in the pan, or they’ll stick together. Be patient until all sides turn a golden-brown color.

The total frying time is around 20-25 minutes. You can also deep-fry the tofu pieces and finish the dish much faster in only 10 minutes. However, it seems to require a larger amount of oil. When the fried pieces of tofu are done, set them aside.

Lemongrass fried tofu

In the same pan, fry your chopped lemongrass until half-brown and the aroma spreads.

Lemongrass fried tofu

Now return the tofu to the pan. Stir well to coat the fried lemongrass over the tofu; meanwhile, the lemongrass gradually turns fully brown.

Lemongrass fried tofu

Serve the lemongrass fried tofu with steamed rice, soup, and green vegetables such as cucumber, coriander, spring onions, etc. Some eat it with rice vermicelli or as a side dish. The dipping sauce for this dish can be sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, or sriracha sauce.

lemongrass fried tofu

How to store leftover fried tofu

After enjoying hot lemongrass fried tofu, you may wonder how long the leftovers last and how to store them well to keep their crispiness as long as possible. From my experience, the fried tofu at room temperature can remain crispy for 2-3 hours. After that, it may soften due to exposure to air.

To store it for a longer period, you must refrigerate it. Keep the fried tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than 3 days. Unfortunately, when eating, you’ll need to re-fry it not only to reheat it but also to restore the crispiness.

It’s also possible to freeze the fried tofu. To thaw frozen tofu, put it into the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Then, if you would like to eat it crispy, you have to re-fry it.

Variations of fried tofu

Besides frying with lemongrass, you can try many more styles of fried tofu. You can add chopped chilies to make it a spicy dish, spring onions and fish sauce to have Spring Onion Tofu, or add tomato sauce. Plain fried tofu is delicious as well, and it pairs perfectly with rice vermicelli to become “tofu vermicelli” (in Vietnamese cuisine, we call it “bún đậu”).

Be creative; try everything you like and share your experiences!

lemongrass fried tofu

Lemongrass Fried Tofu

Yield: 2 portions
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Lemongrass fried tofu recipe costs you only 30 minutes to make and you can either enjoy the dish as a side or main dish.

Ingredients

  • 375g (13.2 oz) to 500g (17.6 oz) tofu
  • 2-3 lemongrass
  • 1/2 tbsp salt

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • Slice the tofu into small cubes of 1 – 1.5 inch (2-3 cm). The tofu is soft, so for safety, you should place it on a flat cutting board to cut instead of handling it on your hand and cut.
  • Observe the outer skin of lemongrass; if it’s dry and tough, remove it before chopping. Cut off the hard ends of the lemongrass, then start to chop them thinly by hand. If you have a blender, cut the lemongrass into 3-4 small pieces and blend them until it’s nicely chopped.Lemongrass fried tofu

Step 2. Fry tofu and lemongrass separately

  • Before you chop lemongrass, add oil to a skillet or pan and turn on medium heat, to save your time waiting for the tofu to be fried. Once the oil starts to boil, add ½ tbsp of salt in, then tofu cubes, and fry all their 6 sides. Note that don’t let the tofu pieces de dense in the pan or else they’ll stick together.
  • You can also deep-fry the tofu pieces. However, it seems to waste a larger amount of oil. When the fried pieces of tofu are done, set them aside.Lemongrass fried tofu
  • In the same pan, fry your chopped lemongrass until half-brown and the aroma spreads.Lemongrass fried tofu
  • Now return the tofu to the pan. Stir well to coat fried lemongrass over tofu; meanwhile the lemongrass gradually turns brown fully.Lemongrass fried tofu
  • Serve the lemongrass fried tofu with steamed rice, soup, and green vegetables such as cucumber, coriander, spring onions, etc. The dipping sauce for this dish can be sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce or siracha sauce.lemongrass fried tofu
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 200g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 545Total Fat: 40gCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 35g

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