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Pan-Fried Tofu with Spicy Lemongrass Sauce (Tofu Nuong Xa)

Karry Hosford

4 servings (serving size: 4 tofu pieces and 1 tablespoon spread)

The original version of this Vietnamese-style tofu dish calls for deep-frying the tofu. Pan-searing renders a healthier version that's just as delicious. This recipe earned our Test Kitchens' highest rating.


  • 2 (15-ounce) packages water-packed extrafirm tofu
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (such as Three Crabs)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
  • 1 red Thai chile, minced

Nutrition Information

  • calories 180
  • caloriesfromfat 32 %
  • fat 6.4 g
  • satfat 1 g
  • monofat 1.3 g
  • polyfat 3.6 g
  • protein 17 g
  • carbohydrate 14.5 g
  • fiber 0.5 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 3.2 mg
  • sodium 832 mg
  • calcium 82 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cut each tofu block crosswise into 8 slices. Arrange tofu in a single layer on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Cover tofu with additional paper towels; let stand 15 minutes.

  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add tofu; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Set aside and keep warm.

  3. Combine sugar and fish sauce, stirring with a whisk until blended. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add lemongrass and chile; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in sugar mixture, and cook 1 minute. Serve lemongrass spread with tofu.