Food Friday: Vietnamese Peanut Rice & Lemongrass Tofu

Original recipe can be found at The Splendid Table. This was such a great find. The flavors of the lemongrass with mint and Thai basil (if you can find it) make this dish so unique and different from the other dishes I usually make. It’s such a treat when I make this dish and I easily gobble up more than I should because of how much I like it.


Carrots, cilantro, and mint
  • Steamed rice for serving (2 servings should do)
  • 1 14 oz package extra firm tofu, pressed for 15 minutes
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • For the peanuts:
    • 1/3 heaping cup unsalted peanuts
    • 1/2 TB white sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Marinade Part 1:
    • 3 lemongrass stalks
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • Marinade Part 2:
    • 1 TB lime juice (or juice of 1/2 a lime)
    • 1 TB white sugar
    • 2 TB water
    • 1 TB sesame oil
  • Salad
    • Fresh herbs, preferably cilantro, mint and Thai basil leaves (AT LEAST get the mint, the dish isn’t the same without it)
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
    • 3 -6 oz tender salad leaves (I like Sprout’s little gem lettuce)
  • 1-2 limes, split in half, to serve


Tofu marinating
  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Cut the tofu into thin slices, then cut each piece into fourths (see picture on right). (Or just cut the tofu however it works for you.) Put in a container.
  3. Remove the outer leaves of the lemongrass and cut in half lengthwise. Press the knife down on the lemongrass to try to squish it a bit. Chop finely (it’s hard to chop lemongrass, just do your best). Mix lemongrass, garlic, and soy sauce together then pour over tofu, marinating for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Coarsely chop the peanuts, putting in a small bowl and mixing in the sugar and salt with the nuts.
  5. Pluck off the good parts of the mint, cilantro, and basil leaves and set them on a plate. Chop the carrot if you haven’t already and set next to the herbs. (See picture above – I prefer to have everything separate so people can choose how much to put on their own plate.)
  6. Fry the tofu in oil in a skillet over medium to medium high heat, 2 to 3 minutes per side (I like this dish with softer tofu, less fried, but you cook it to your taste). Put the fried pieces on a plate.
  7. While the tofu is frying, add the lime juice, sugar, water, and sesame oil into whatever liquid remains from the tofu dish (where it was marinating).
  8. Once all the tofu has been fried and is on a plate, turn down the stove to medium/medium-low and pour the marinade into the pan to heat for 1-2 minutes.
  9. To serve: put rice, peanuts, lettuce, salad fixings, and tofu in a large bowl and top with a bit of the warm marinade dressing. Serve with lime juice if desired. Mix that shit up and enjoy!

Serves: 4 people

Leftovers: Quite tasty, keep the tofu, rice, and peanuts in their own containers and all the salad fixings in a container and you’re set.

2 thoughts on “Food Friday: Vietnamese Peanut Rice & Lemongrass Tofu

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