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Vietnamese Tofu in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Vietnamese Tofu in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

This dish is the reason I started to like tofu. In Vietnam I was having it at least once a day. It was my go-to breakfast when there weren’t any proper breakfast options for me. It was my favorite lunch option! It was something I was always craving so, I would order it as a side dish to something else. Crazy, right?


The most amazing thing about it is simplicity. It requires no efforts. The only thing that can put you off is the time that it takes to remove water from your tofu. But without it, you wouldn’t get that perfect crisp and it would not be the same! But you can always prep your veggies in a meanwhile and the time will be well spent!

Firm tofu chunks

Firm tofu chunks

Patience is the key to the perfect crisp!

Patience is the key to the perfect crisp!

Remove the excess oil.

Remove the excess oil.

The recipe says - “Spicy Tomato Sauce” and this is due to the amount of garlic and chili. If you aren’t too keen on spicy food, you can remove the seeds from the chili before you use it, and it won’t be so strong. Or vise versa, add some extra chilies!


The recipe is pretty straight forward otherwise, so I will stop at here and will let you enjoy the flavors and hopefully you can become friends with tofu as well!


Vietnamese Tofu in a Spicy Tomato Sauce


Sunflower oil for frying (amount depends on the size of your pan)

1 block of firm tofu (450g)

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper, chopped into little squares

1 big shallot, sliced

5 cloves of garlic, grated

Big chunk of ginger, grated

1 red chili pepper, chopped

2 Tbsp of vegan fish sauce (use can use soya sauce too)

1 tsp brown sugar (or any other sweetener)

1 Tbsp coriander powder

1,5 cans of crushed tomatoes (about 600g)

Chopped parsley for topping

Salt & Pepper


1.  Open your tofu package and squeeze out as much water as you can with your hands.  Place some paper towel sheets on a cutting board, place your tofu on it, then some more paper towels on the tofu. Add a smaller cutting board (or a plate) on top of tofu with something heavier so that it would squeeze out the rest of the moisture from the tofu. Let it sit for about half an hour.

2. Cut your tofu into chunks.

3. Pour some sunflower oil into your pan. As much as it needs to cover the whole surface of your pan.

4. Once oil is heated (really hot!!) place tofu chunks. Don’t overcrowd the pan and don’t touch it! Let it cook until you really see that one side is starting to crisp up and then turn it over. Be patient. For me it takes about 5 minutes on each side.  Season with some pepper and salt on each side while its cooking.

5. Once both sides of tofu chunks are crispy, take it out of the pan and place it on some paper towels to remove all the excess oil.

6.  While Tofu is resting, add ginger, garlic, shallot and chopped chili into the same pan and cook for few minutes.

7.  Add the bell peppers and cooks some more while stirring.

8. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, coriander, sugar and vegan fish sauce and stir well. Lower the heat a bit and let it simmer and reduce water while occasionally stirring. The more you leave it to simmer, the more flavor it will develop.

9. Taste the sauce, if you are satisfied – add your tofu chunks to it, stir well so that tofu absorbs all the flavors and gets remoisturized. Let it simmer for couple of minutes.

10. Serve together with some rice and, of course, chop sticks!


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