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Lemongrass Tofu: A Spicy Vietnamese Inspired Recipe

Spicy, healthy, lemongrass tofu is a Vietnamese-inspired dish that will leave you feeling fresh and energized. Combining a spicy kick with the scented, healthy tang of freshly chopped lemongrass, this is one tofu that will leave you wanting more!

For this simple recipe, you'll need a block of firm tofu, atofu presslemongrass, garlic, chives, and chilis, as well as our homemade stir fry sauce. Serve with rice, and enjoy a taste of Vietnam from the comfort of your home kitchen.

Here's our spicy, healthy, lemongrass tofu recipe!

How to make lemongrass tofu

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large packet of pressed and drained firm tofu
  • 2 ½ tbsp of avocado oil
  • 1 stalk of finely chopped lemongrass
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • Freshly chopped chives
  • Freshly chopped chilis to taste*
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup
  • 1 cup of brown rice to serve 

*The number of fresh chilis you chop for your Vietnamese tofu depends on how spicy you like your food. We suggest 2-3 chilis to start. If you prefer mild dishes, then you can leave the chilis out entirely. 

Directions

  1. Before you begin cooking, you need first to press and drain your block of firm tofu. We suggest placing the block of tofu inside a tofu press before leaving it to drain for 20 minutes. If you don't have a tofu press, then you can wrap your block of tofu in paper towels before pressing down firmly with a heavy kitchen object, such as a chopping board or cast iron wok. Again, leave your tofu to press and drain for at least 20 minutes to remove as much excess liquid as possible. 
  2. At the same time, you will want to start preparing your rice, as this takes much longer to cook than your spicy lemongrass tofu. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare your rice as per the packet's instructions. 
  3. Once you've removed as much liquid as you can, you can chop your block of tofu into small, bite-sized cubes. 
  4. Next, place a large skillet or wok onto the stovetop, and heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in the bottom of the pan. When the avocado oil is hot, place your tofu cubes into the oil and heat them for up to 3 minutes on each side. 
  5. When your tofu cubes are golden brown, lower the heat and add a further drizzle of oil to the pan. You can now heat your chopped lemongrass, minced garlic, and chopped chives. Cook all the ingredients together for 1 minute. 
  6. Now, pour in your soy sauce, oyster sauce, and maple syrup into the pan. Stir all of the ingredients together and allow the sauce to cook through for 1 or 2 minutes on low heat. 
  7. Remove your lemongrass tofu stir fry from the pan and serve with rice and some extra chopped parsley or a dash of chili sauce for garnish!

Lemongrass tofu recipes FAQ 

That's it for our simple lemongrass tofu recipe. It shouldn't take you any longer than half an hour to prepare, but you'll be pleasantly surprised just how complex the flavors are!

You can keep reading to discover the answers to the most commonly asked questions we receive about this recipe, including a look at the health benefits of lemongrass and tofu!

What does lemongrass actually taste like?

Lemongrass is a fragrant, lemon-scented plant that has uses in both cooking and medicine. In Asia, lemongrass is traditionally used to treat stomach pains and other minor ailments while also being a popular addition to many different sauces, curries, and stir-fries.

Our dish is inspired by Vietnemaes recipes that make use of finely chopped lemongrass. This releases that fragrant, almost zesty taste that gives this dish such a lovely flavor. We should also note that lemongrass isn't an overpowering ingredient either, despite its zestiness, which is why we added fresh chilis to give it a contrasting kick!

Lemongrass is also used in other ways. For example, in Southeast Asian soups, entire sticks of lemongrass are placed in the broth, while in Thai cooking, lemongrass paste is an essential base for many classic dishes such as Green Curry. 

Is lemongrass tofu healthy?

Lemongrass tofu is an incredibly healthy dish, offering a low-calorie meal that's packed full of nutrients and health benefits. 

For starters, tofu has a low-calorie count but a high protein content. For vegans and vegetarians, it's the perfect meat-substitute. Lemongrass is also a fantastic ingredient, working as an antioxidant and reducing pains, swellings, and inflammation in the body. 

You can make the dish even 'healthier' by switching the white rice for brown rice or any other whole grain rice. If you're cutting down on carbs, skip the rice entirely, and serve your lemongrass tofu on a bed of leafy green salad instead. 

What tofu is best for lemongrass tofu? 

For lemongrass tofu, the best option to use is firm tofu or extra firm tofu. For this recipe, you need your tofu to hold its shape when it's stir-fried in the oil, and so you need tofu with a firm consistency.

There are several other types of tofu that you'll see for sale at your local store, including soft or silken tofu. These types of tofu are far too soft, however, for our purposes. Soft or silken tofu quickly falls apart and turns to mush when it's subjected to stir-frying. 

Why do I need to press my tofu?

It's important that you don't skip over the pressing stage when you're putting together your lemongrass tofu dish. Tofu has high water content, and we need to remove this excess water before we start cooking with it. 

Pressing the tofu removes the liquid from the block, allowing the tofu to keep its shape better when it's being cooked while also allowing the tofu to absorb the flavors of the lemongrass and chili (if you don't press the tofu, it will merely taste watery).

As we suggested in the recipe, the best way to do this is by using a tofu press. This does all the hard work for you. If you don't have a tofu press, then the next best thing to do is to press down using a heavy object!

What can I serve with lemongrass tofu? 

Rice is the classic accompaniment to lemongrass tofu, but there are a few other creative options you can try as well. Lemongrass tofu can be served alongside spring rolls, or you could even prepare it as the filling for healthy Vietnamese style spring rolls (not the deep-fried kind, but the fresh variety!).

You can also add extra sauces to the dish when you serve, for dipping or a garnish. Sweet chili sauce is a classic, but you can try simple soy sauce or a spicy hot sauce too. 

Lemongrass tofu is an easy, healthy stir fry dish that you can prepare at home for lunch or dinner. Why not bookmark our lemongrass tofu recipe for next week's meal plan? 

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