Lemongrass Tofu is an amazingly delicious food, but might not be on everyone’s radar. But there is no good reason NOT to make this vibrant, fragrant Vietnamese-inspired dish as soon as you get fresh stalks of lemongrass in your little hands. Fresh stalks of lemongrass are easily found at markets here in Hawaii, and they should be available at most natural food stores and Asian markets. Sometimes you can find dried lemongrass, but it just doesn’t have the same POW that fresh does.
If you’ve never used fresh lemongrass before, don’t be intimidated. Simply chop off the roots and all the dry, green parts- you will be left with about 3-4 inches of thick, white stalk (much like a leek). Process all this in the processor until shredded and you are ready to go! If you cannot find fresh lemongrass, dried is often available- just let it soak in the marinade before adding the tofu. You can also use the lemongrass scraps in a tea, which I often drank in Indonesia, where it is called sereh.
Lemongrass Tofu Recipe
two lemongrass stalks, processed as described above
one or two Thai red chilies, minced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar or sucanat
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 (12-14 ounce) block of super firm tofu, chopped into squares
4 Tablespoons oil (peanut or coconut is best)
½ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of Thai basil
Vegetables of choice
- In a large bowl mix together processed lemongrass, chilies, soy sauce, sugar, and turmeric. Mix well and then add tofu, allowing it to marinate for half hour up to six hours.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions, shallots, and garlic, and cook until browned. Add tofu mix and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until it starts to brown. Toss in Thai basil, and cook until wilted. You can also toss in greens, broccoli or other veggies to make it a more colorful meal!
- Serve with noodles, with rice or just as is!