Quick and Easy Vietnamese Steamed Tofu Recipe

Welcome to my Vietnamese Steamed Tofu recipe, where you’ll find a delicious and classic Vietnamese dish that’s easy to make and perfect for any occasion!

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I know that Vietnamese cooking is all about creating bold flavors that excite the palate. Our food is deeply rooted in fresh ingredients, vibrant colors, and aromatic spices that come together in dishes full of taste and heart.

Today, we’re focusing on steamed tofu, a beloved dish in Vietnamese culture. This recipe is a popular vegan option but can also incorporate minced meat for those who prefer it.

Tofu is an excellent source of protein and provides many health benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels and promoting weight loss. With this recipe, we’ll make tofu the star of the show by steaming it to perfection with a flavorful soy garlic sauce.

Whether you’re a fan of plant-based cuisine, looking for a new addition to your vegan pho or trying to switch up your cooking routine with some Vietnamese flavors, this dish will not disappoint!

So let’s gather our ingredients and get ready to experience the tasty rewards of this easy-to-follow Vietnamese steamed tofu recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Steamed Tofu
Vietnamese Steamed Tofu

I know we all have our personal food preferences, but let me tell you something: It’s about time we give tofu the attention it deserves. And this Vietnamese Steamed Tofu recipe is the perfect way to start.

For those of you who are already fans of tofu, you’re in for a real treat. This dish highlights firm tofu that is steamed to perfection, giving it a unique texture that is delicate and silky on the surface but firm throughout. The steamed tofu absorbs the flavors from the delicious soy garlic sauce, making each bite taste like a savory burst of umami goodness. Trust me, every forkful will melt in your mouth.

If you’re new to tofu or have had some less-than-stellar experiences with it in the past, this recipe gives tofu a whole new personality that might just change your mind. The texture makes it a great meat substitute, and it’s packed with protein while being low in fat and calories. And because tofu takes on whatever flavors you introduce into it, this dish will become a tasty canvas for any seasonings you might want to introduce.

So why will you love this recipe? Not only does it taste great and have some serious health benefits, but it’s also super easy to make! With just a little bit of prep and about 20 minutes of cooking (56 calories nutrition), you can have an impressive meal ready to wow your friends and family with skills worthy of Gordon Ramsey himself. So go ahead and try something new – I promise you won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 Silken tofu steams to perfection in a matter of minutes.
Silken tofu steams to perfection in a matter of minutes.

Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious Vietnamese Steamed Tofu recipe:


The star of this dish is, of course, tofu. You’ll need a firm variety for best results. Make sure to slice it into 1/2 inch thick cubes and let it sit on a paper towel to draw out any excess moisture while you prep the other ingredients.


Red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt add a flavorful kick to the tofu, while scallion, rice vinegar, and soy sauce lend classic Vietnamese cooking vibes. Combine the seasonings together in a bowl and set aside.

Protein & Vegetables

For added protein, you can include ground pork which complements tofu excellently due to its mild flavor. Additionally, beanthread noodles and julienned carrots give your dish a crunchy texture. A small shallot also adds an aromatic depth of flavor.

Dried Mushrooms & Silken Tofu

To create a rich umami flavor in your steamed tofu recipe, we are using dried woodear mushrooms that have been rehydrated and sliced into pieces as well as silky smooth silken tofu.

The Recipe How-To

 This bowl of fluffy tofu goodness will satisfy your cravings and keep you feeling light.
This bowl of fluffy tofu goodness will satisfy your cravings and keep you feeling light.

Now, let’s dive into the details of how to make this Vietnamese Steamed Tofu. Trust me when I say, it’s a dish you won’t want to miss out on.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 1 lb firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 stalk scallion, thinly sliced
  • red pepper flakes, for garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin by preparing the tofu. Slice it into cubes or rectangles and place inside your steaming dish that suits its size.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a pot or wok for steaming on high heat. Insert the steamer basket or rack, then place the steaming dish with the tofu onto the rack.
  3. Steam the tofu over high heat for about 10 minutes until cooked through and heated all around.
  4. While the tofu is steaming, prepare your steamed tofu soy garlic sauce. Mix together in a small bowl: soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, black pepper and thinly sliced scallion.
  5. Once the tofu is ready, sprinkle some red pepper flakes all over and pour steamed tofu soy garlic sauce on top of it. Serve hot alongside with freshly cooked rice.

Don’t forget to take care while handling hot steam equipment!

Additional Tips for Perfect Tofu Results

  • It is important to use firm texture tofu, so that it doesn’t crumble and hold its shape well during cooking and serving.
  • Consider adding more seasoning of your choice such as finely chopped ginger or coriander for extra flavors.
  • In place of water content that will not mix well with sauce flavouring adding seasoning by marinating would be preferred.
  • If you do not have rice vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar instead.
  • If you’re not a fan of spicy food, simply skip the red pepper flakes or add less.
  • The dish is best when served hot, but it can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave before serving.

Now that you have the recipe, ingredients list and robust tips to make this delicious Vietnamese inspired steamed tofu, it’s time to head into the kitchen and give it a try!

Substitutions and Variations

 Brighten up your day with this colorful spread of herbs and vegetables.
Brighten up your day with this colorful spread of herbs and vegetables.

If you’re feeling adventurous and willing to try some tasty variations on this Vietnamese steamed tofu recipe, here are a few suggestions that will help keep your culinary experience flavorful and exciting!

1. Vegetable Variations: If you’re looking to add more veggies to this dish, consider throwing in some sugar snap peas, bean sprouts, or bok choy. Adding these vegetables will bring new flavors and textures to the dish while also increasing its nutritional value.

2. Protein Swaps: As a vegan-friendly recipe, tofu is the main star of this dish. However, for those who enjoy adding different types of protein into their meals, this recipe works well with ground meat options like pork, chicken or beef. When using meat-based substitutes, season the protein beforehand and cook it thoroughly before adding it to the dish.

3. Sauce Selections: If you would like to change up the sauce flavoring, you can try substituting fish sauce for soy sauce or oyster sauce. Furthermore, you can even customize and make your own dipping sauce using rice vinegar blended with soy sauce and chili flakes.

4. Tofu Texture: This recipe calls for firm tofu but can also be done with silken tofu for a less assertive texture that easily soaks up flavorings.

5. Noodle Editions: In addition to beanthread noodles, you could use other similar noodle counterparts such as vermicelli noodles or shirataki noodles that have low carb content and high fiber content.

Whatever variation(s) you try out, don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your food! Remember though an overly complicated mixture of ingredients may spoil your meal’s harmony so choose your additions carefully.

Serving and Pairing

 If you're a tofu newbie, don't worry: this dish is the perfect introduction to this versatile ingredient.
If you’re a tofu newbie, don’t worry: this dish is the perfect introduction to this versatile ingredient.

When it comes to serving and pairing this Vietnamese steamed tofu recipe, you have a variety of options that will perfectly complement it. One of my favorite ways to serve it is with hot steamed rice and freshly chopped herbs such as cilantro, Thai basil, and mint. These fresh herbs add a fragrant aroma and a pop of color to the dish.

If you’re looking for a more filling option, you can serve the steamed tofu alongside stir-fried vegetables or as a side dish to a protein-heavy main course like chicken or beef. This recipe also goes well with vegan pho soup or any other type of Asian-inspired soup.

If you want to take things up a notch, try adding crispy tofu as a garnish on top of the steamed tofu to give some texture to your dish. You can also add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, black pepper, or extra soy sauce for added flavor.

For wine pairings, go for something light and refreshing like a fruity white wine or dry sparkling wine that won’t overpower the delicate flavors in this dish. If you prefer beer, I recommend a crisp lager or pilsner that complements the savory taste of this tofu recipe.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair this Vietnamese steamed tofu recipe, one thing is for sure – it’s sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you feeling full and happy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Steamed to silky perfection, this tofu dish is like a cloud that melts in your mouth.
Steamed to silky perfection, this tofu dish is like a cloud that melts in your mouth.

As a busy chef, I know how important it is to have meals that can be made ahead of time and stored for future use. Vietnamese Steamed Tofu is a recipe that can be easily prepared ahead of time and stored for later use.

Make-Ahead: If you are short on time, you can prepare the tofu steaming sauce ahead of time by combining rice vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic and black pepper together in a bowl. You can also cut the tofu into cubes and julienne the vegetables ahead of time to save yourself extra prep time. Store each component in separate containers in the refrigerator until ready to steam.

Storing: If you have leftover steamed tofu, transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavor will develop over time which makes it perfect for meal preparation or meal planning throughout the week.

Reheating: The best way to reheat your steamed tofu is by steaming it again. Simply place your leftover tofu on a heatproof dish and steam it for approximately 5-7 minutes until heated through. You can also reheat your steamed tofu by microwaving it for 1-2 minutes in a microwave-safe dish.

These make-ahead, storing and reheating tips will save you valuable time while maintaining the delicious flavors of this Vietnamese Steamed Tofu recipe. Enjoy!

Tips for Perfect Results

 With its vibrant colors and bold flavors, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
With its vibrant colors and bold flavors, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

As a chef who specializes in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I have learned a few tips and tricks to ensure that the Vietnamese Steamed Tofu recipe comes out perfect every time. Here are some pointers to ensure that your tofu is steamed perfectly and has the right texture.

1. Use firm tofu for better results: Using firm tofu can provide a more solid texture than silken tofu because it can hold its shape even when cooked. Silken tofu, on the other hand, loses its shape more quickly and becomes a softer texture.

2. Cut the tofu into evenly sized cubes or slices: This ensures that they cook evenly throughout the duration of the steaming process. You don’t want chunks to be overcooked while some of them are still raw.

3. Make sure to oil the surface of the tofu before steaming: This prevents the surface from becoming too dry and sticking to the steamer. You can add a touch of oil to your cooking spray, too.

4. Adjust steam levels accordingly: Depending on your altitude or climate control in your kitchen, adjusting levels of steam will make sure your tofu doesn’t overcook or undercook and produces just-right texture.

5. Be careful not to overcrowd the steamer basket: Overcrowding leads to uneven cooking or mushy texture.

6. Use a quality sauce for flavoring: The Vietnamese Steamed Tofu recipe includes sauce made from rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic or scallion, black pepper and red pepper flakes (which adds chili heat). Using good ingredients elevates flavors of dish like this one with simple ingredients.

7. Experiment with different toppings: Adding some crispy onions, fried shallots or extra herbs like cilantro or basil on top of your steamed tofu could give nice crunch or flavor contrast.

By following these tips, you’ll achieve perfect texture and delicious flavor every time you make this Vietnamese Steamed Tofu recipe. Enjoy!


Before we conclude, let’s address some frequently asked questions that may come up while preparing this flavorful Vietnamese steamed tofu recipe. Cooking this dish might seem daunting at first, especially if you’re new to Vietnamese cooking or working with tofu. However, fret not as I’ve got you covered! Let’s dive right into addressing some of the most common concerns and queries around this recipe.

How is tofu used in Vietnamese cooking?

Different cultures have their unique methods of cooking with tofu as an alternative source of protein. In Vietnamese cuisine, a particular type of tofu is commonly used, which is soft and served hot with a syrup infused with powdered sugar, lime juice, and/or ginger flavorings.

What does steaming do to tofu?

To prepare the silken tofu, make sure to drain any remaining liquid. Next, set up your steamer or a pan, depending on your preference. Personally, I opted for a pan and placed a footed serving dish over the water in the pan. This will allow for optimal steam flow and ensure the tofu is cooked evenly.

Do you have to press tofu before steaming?

If you want to add some extra zing to your tofu, here’s a hot tip: by pressing it down, you can get rid of all the excess water. That way, your tofu can really soak up all the flavor of the sauce in the dish, making it absolutely scrumptious. Just remember to only press firm to extra firm tofu, otherwise it’ll be like trying to make a snowball out of slush. In step 2, we recommend steaming the tofu.

Why boil tofu in salt water?

The reason why the brine is effective is because the combination of salinity and heat pulls out moisture from the surface of the tofu, enabling it to brown and become crisp. In addition, the proteins at the surface of the tofu contract as the temperature of the water increases, resulting in the retention of moisture within the tofu.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Vietnamese steamed tofu is a deceptively simple dish that packs tremendous flavor and nutrition into every bite. With its delicate texture and savory soy-garlic sauce, it’s sure to become a favorite among vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. By using the right ingredients, taking the time to steam the tofu properly, and following my step-by-step instructions, you can create a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen.

Whether you’re looking for a healthy weeknight dinner, an impressive party appetizer, or something to impress your vegan friends, this recipe has got you covered. Consider experimenting with different variations and substitutions to suit your taste preferences.

So don’t be afraid to give Vietnamese steamed tofu a try! With its vibrant colors, bold flavors, and subtle contrasts, it’s sure to delight your senses and leave you feeling nourished and satisfied. Bon appétit!

Vietnamese Steamed Tofu

Vietnamese Steamed Tofu Recipe

Altered version of a recipe found in Vegetarian Cooking Around the World cookbook.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 91 kcal


  • 1 lb firm tofu, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (reduced sodium is best)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you prefer less spicy foods)


  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate for up to two hours, covered, to allow tofu to absorb seasonings.
  • Transfer ingredients to a heat-resistant bowl.
  • Fill a steamer with 1/2 c water and bring to boil.
  • Place entire bowl into steamer, cover, and steam over medium heat for 25 minutes. Add boiling water to bottom of steamer if it begins to run low.
  • Best served plain or with steamed brown rice.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 139gCalories: 91kcalCarbohydrates: 3.8gProtein: 10.6gFat: 4.8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 664mgFiber: 1.6gSugar: 1.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, Easy, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Soy/Tofu, Vegan, Very Low Carbs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You