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

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

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.


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

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Nutritional 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


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


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.

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.

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.