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Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Tofu (Dau Hu Chien Sa Ot)
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5 from 2 votes

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Tofu

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Tofu (Dau Hu Chien Sa Ot) is a popular vegan Southern Vietnamese dish. Tofu is marinated with a lot of minced lemongrass and bird's eye chili before being fried until golden, crispy and fragrant.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Marinating time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizers and Side dishes, Main Dish
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 108kcal
Author: Sophie


  • 1 lb tofu (medium firm or firm)
  • 6-7 tablespoons finely minced lemongrass (3-4 stalks, white tender part only)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 bird's-eye chili, seeds removed, minced
  • salt
  • cooking oil


  • Pat dry and slice tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices. If your tofu has a lot of excess of water, you may want to weigh the whole block of tofu with heavy objects for a few minutes before cutting into slices.
  • Add tofu slices, minced lemongrass, minced shallots, minced bird's-eye chili and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a mixing bowl. Gently mix to coat tofu with minced aromatics evenly. Set aside for 15 minutes or longer for tastier results.
    Marinate tofu with minced lemongrass, shallots and bird's-eye chili
  • Place a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add cooking oil. Use your finger to wipe away minced aromatics (reserve these in the mixing bowl) from the tofu slices, then add the tofu slices to the pan in single layer. It is fine if some aromatics still stick to the tofu slices. Fry until golden and crispy, flip once or twice.
  • Transfer tofu slices to a clean plate (you may want to line it with paper towel to absorb excess oil). Discard all the oil and all the black bits in the pan.
  • Place the pan back over medium low heat. Add the minced aromatics used to marinate the tofu to the pan. Stir and toast until lightly golden, then add minced garlic and a pinch of salt (to taste). Continue to toast until the minced aromatics are deep golden and crunchy. Adjust heat as needed to avoid burning them. It may take a few minutes.
    Toasting aromatics
  • Place tofu slices on a serving plate and sprinkle all the toasted minced aromatics on top. Serve immediately.


A different workflow you can take is toasting the aromatics first after wiping them off the tofu slices, then fry the tofu. Or fry the tofu in one pan and toast the aromatics in a different pan to speed up cooking process.
Make sure you peel off 1-2 dry outer layers of the lemongrass stalks and discard the green fibrous part. For the toasted aromatics to turn out crunchy, use only white (and very light green) tender parts and mince as finely as you can. Be patient when toasting.
You can serve this dish with some soy sauce on the side as an appetizer or as a light main dishes to eat with rice.
You can half the recipe to make two servings.


Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 2mg