Sambal Tofu

I still remember those hot Friday afternoons when I rush home from school for lunch time, having worked so hard (WELL that’s how I viewed my teen life to be 🙂 ), knackered and super happy its finally weekend!

Malaysian school finishes earlier on Fridays to allow Muslims to observe their Solat Jumaat secara berjemaah – Friday prayers together with other people in the community.
In the northern states of Peninsula Malaysia, Friday is a day off, hence your weekend starts on a Thursday.

Albeit all the traffic jams caused, I often find myself mesmerized at the beautiful sight where you find people coming together in hundreds to join in the Mosques.

Likewise Fridays are a prayer day for Hindus too, and in our household, my mum would typically cook a scrumptious vegetarian meal comprising sambar, two vegetable stir frys and or a sambal dish and a must have deep fried dish.
Appalams (or papadams) , yummy finger licking array of pickles and my sister’s favourite plain yogurt (tairu) serve as glorious extras.

This sambal tofu recipe I’m sharing today is one of our family’s favorite Friday dishes.

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl


Main Ingredients

500g Firm tofu (I used Tofu King brand – Made in UK)
1 ½ medium white onions sliced – (keep a handful aside to add towards the end)
1 ½ large tomatoes chopped
1 clove garlic sliced
1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil
120ml boiling water (Approx. 8 tbsp)
3 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce.
1 tsp. lime leaves chopped (if available) / 1 stick of lemon grass
Handful of coriander leaves chopped
Salt to taste

1-2 star anise
3-4 Cardamoms

Curry powders:
½ tsp. turmeric powder.
2 tsp. chilli powder (adjust to individual heat level as required).
(I use Rajah or East End brand)


Prepare ahead:

Cube the firm tofu, sprinkle some turmeric powder and salt and keep aside for 5 mins.
Deep fry these cubes in vegetaable oil till lightly browned. Watch closely and do not let them overcook.
Remove and set aside.





In a wok:

1. Heat oil, add spices to flavour the oil and brown the chopped garlic and sliced onions.
2. Next add the chopped tomatoes (you could also use tinned chopped tomatoes) and saute.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste, cover and cook for a few more seconds.
4. Add the turmeric and chilli powder, stir well, again cover and cook in the juices for approx. 15 seconds, before adding half (60ml) of the boiling water. Now cover and leave it to cook in medium heat for a few minutes till it thickens. Stir as necessary.
5. Add the lime leaves (if available) / lemon grass. Add the remaining boiling water, cover and cook in low heat for few more minutes.
6. You can now add the sweet chilli sauce, salt, and the handful of sliced onions you set aside earlier. Cook for a few more minutes, till the gravy thickens, now add in the fried tofu, lower the heat, coat well in gravy before serving.

Garnish with coriander leaves!

For a simplistic meal, serve with white boiled rice and sliced cucumbers.

Best wishes





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