Tofu with chunky tomato sambal

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

If tofu is not you, serve the sambal with fried, grilled or roasted chicken instead. In Bali they’d use tempe (soybean cake). The sambal is similar to one known as pecel - and when served with fried catfish, it’s pecel lele (sound familiar? Piccalilli, I’m sure of it).


  • 500 g tofu or tempe, cut into squares and drained
  • salt
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • vegetable oil

Tomato sambal

  • 1 stick lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 3 red chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp palm sugar or caster sugar
  • 4 tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis or dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp tamarind water, or 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp toasted crushed peanuts


To make the sambal, mix together the lemongrass, chillies, garlic and shrimp paste and fry in 1 tbsp oil for about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients, apart from the peanuts, and leave to cool. To cook the drained tofu or tempe, season the squares with some salt and dust with flour, then fry in a pool of oil in a wok until crisp and golden. Drain. Serve the sambal spooned over the tofu, or by itself in a small dish, both sprinkled with crushed toasted peanuts.