Lenten cuisine: Vietnamese fried tofu in tomato sauce

North Texas Catholic
(Mar 1, 2022) Feature

Vietnamese fried tofu in tomato sauce

Vietnamese fried tofu in tomato sauce (courtesy photo/ScruffandSteph.com)

The Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate, who teach in six of our diocesan Catholic schools and one parish, enjoy this vegan dish so much that they prepare it almost every week, no matter the liturgical season. This simple Vietnamese recipe is quick to cook, perfect on a Lenten Friday after work or school.

Our Thoughts: Savory and satisfying. The fried tofu has a meaty mouthfeel and the flavor of eggs, perfect for the family’s protein lovers. The tomatoes and onions give the dish a fresh, zesty tang.

Vietnamese fried tofu in tomato sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 1 cup rice​
  • 1½ Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 14.5 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp white sugar
  • pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp vegetable stock powder (e.g. Vegeta)
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce (substitute 2 tsp soy sauce for vegans)
  • 8 ounces tofu puff cubes, cut in half *
  • ½ onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  1. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  2. While the rice cooks, add the oil and the chopped garlic to a cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium and allow the skillet to slowly heat up. Let the garlic infuse in the oil for a few minutes but do not allow it to color.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and break them up using a wooden spoon. Cook for one minute.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, water, salt, sugar, pepper, vegetable stock and fish sauce. Stir until combined.
  5. Add the fried tofu puffs and mix in well. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 6 minutes.
  6. After 6 minutes, add the onion wedges and cook 2 more minutes.
  7. Check the seasoning of the sauce. Add more fish sauce/soy sauce for extra salt and flavor, or sugar to counter the tang of the tomatoes.
  8. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped spring onions.

*Fried tofu can be purchased fresh or frozen in many Asian grocery stores. Ambitious chefs can make it themselves by deep-frying firm tofu in hot oil.

More Lenten recipes:

Indian rice porridge from Father Vijaya Mareedu, SAC

Butterfly pasta with zucchini and tomatoes from Father Joe Keating

Slow-cooked zucchini and tomatoes with toasted breadcrumbs from Father Michael O'Sullivan, SAC

Lent, Lenten Cuisine, food, Vietnamese, tofu, Dominican, sisters, trending-english