Lemongrass Chili Tofu

Lemongrass Chili Tofu
Photography by Jason Little | Food styling by Johanna Brannan Lowe
The traditional Vietnamese dish Đậu phụ chiên sả ớt usually is deep-fried, but pan-frying tofu makes it just as crispy. Spicy lemongrass topping is the star of this dish! This recipe is part of the 2018 Food & Nutrition cultural competency series, My Global Table.

SERVING SIZE: 1¼ cup (210 grams)
PREP TIME: 18 minutes
COOKING TIME: 22 minutes


  • 1 12-ounce block extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) canola oil, divided
  • ¼ cup minced lemongrass, stems removed (about 3 stalks)
  • ½ cup chopped leek, white part only
  • 1 red chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari, divided
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 cups chopped kale


  1. Cut block of tofu in half and then into ¼-inch thick slices.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add lemongrass, leek and chili. Sauté until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add ½ teaspoon tamari, salt, sugar and turmeric. Stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon canola oil to a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  5. Once oil is hot, add tofu and cook 8 minutes on one side. Flip and cook 3 to 4 minutes on other side, or until golden brown. Set aside on plate.
  6. Add remaining teaspoon of oil to skillet.
  7. Add kale and sauté 2 to 3 minutes until wilted.
  8. Stir remaining ½ teaspoon tamari into kale. Add kale to serving plate.
  9. Place tofu on top of kale, and top with lemongrass mixture. Serve warm.

Nutrition per serving: 176 calories, 12g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 139mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 11g protein, N/A potassium, N/A phosphorus

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Cara Rosenbloom
Cara Rosenbloom, RD, is the president of Words to Eat By, a Toronto-based nutrition communications company specializing in recipe development, writing and nutrition education. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.