Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lemongrass Tofu with Satay Sauce

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A couple of years ago, I picked up a copy of Keo's Thai Cuisine in a used book store—I bought it specifically for the satay sauce recipe that, besides looking amazing, appeared to be very easy to veganize (traditional satay sauce typically contains milk and fish sauce). I've tweaked Keo's version of satay sauce numerous times and we now enjoy this version with grilled lemongrass tofu.

I really like making the entire menu below during the summer months—all of the components present a perfect blend of fresh, cool, spicy and rich. You can prep everything here in the morning (except for the rice and grilling) to enjoy a light, relaxing and flavorful dinner in the evening. This recipe makes a lot, so it's perfect for sharing with a few people.


For the tofu and marinade:

2 blocks of firm tofu, pressed and sliced any way you like
6 TB vegetable oil
4 stalks fresh lemongrass hearts
(reserve the outer stalks for making tea later)
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 TB curry powder
1 TB agave nectar
TB vegan fish sauce or soy sauce
pinch of dried habanero powder (or more to taste)

For the satay sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, finely diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tsp curry powder
3 TB chopped fresh lemongrass hearts
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 cup almond milk
cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2 tsp tamarind paste
2 TB vegan fish sauce or soy sauce
3 TB dark brown sugar
the zest of one lime, plus the juice
1 cup of chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

For the fruit salad:
2 fresh mangoes, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 lime, zested and juiced

For the rice (not pictured):
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
3 TB raw virgin coconut oil
1 TB ginger, minced
1 tsp fresh
jalapeño, minced (or more to taste)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Place all of the marinade ingredients (except for the tofu) into a food processor and blend for 15-30 seconds. Scrape the marinade into a large pyrex dish, and then place the tofu pieces into it, flipping them around to ensure they are well coated. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to grill.

To make the satay sauce, heat the 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat. Add in the next six ingredients and saute for three minutes. Add the coconut and almond milks and then the rest of the satay ingredients (except for the chopped peanuts), and lower the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

While the satay sauce is simmering, make the fruit salad by tossing together the mangoes, blueberries, lime zest and juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Before you are ready to fire up the grill to make the tofu, place the rice and water into a rice cooker to steam.

Grill the tofu over medium heat for about 7 minutes on each side. Once the tofu comes off the grill, I like to place it back into the pyrex dish to recoat it in any leftover marinade.

Once the rice is ready, saute the coconut oil, jalapeño and ginger over medium-low heat in a medium-sized saucepan for 2 minutes. Toss in the cooked rice and fold in the chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

The satay sauce can be served warm or cold. Sprinkle with the peanuts before serving.


  1. what a lovely meal! thai food is my absolute favorite ;)

  2. sweet jeebus, Erin - dan is going to flip his fork'n lid over this. if there's one food dan puffy hearts the mostest it's lemongrass tofu. yours look especially awesome, and who knew you could use the outer lemongrass stalks for tea. less waste = happyface! your satay sauce sounds downright delightful - now alls i need is kaffir lime leaves to make it happen. w00t!

  3. wow, never thought about making a satay with tofu!!! love the idea :). i wonder if we could skewer them too! hehe.

  4. I love the sound of this meal it has all my favourite things! I have yet to enjoy a dish with tofu in it though, which is strange I know being vegetarian for 25 years. I have always marinaded it but it doesn't seem to soak up the flavour, how long do you marinade it for normally?

  5. foodblodandthedog -- the secret to great tofu is pressing it properly! I posted my method here:

    Pressing it for at least an hour with lots of absorbent towels and 10 pounds of weight will result in super-absorbent tofu.

    I would then marinate it anywhere from 1 hour to overnight on each side.

  6. That looks and sounds spectacular! Lemongrass tofu is a favorite of mine.

  7. This sounds like a wonderful recipe. Beautiful pictures!

  8. Oooh yummers! That looks and sounds delicious - right up my street.

  9. I love tofu. And I bet I'm going to love this!

  10. Ooooh, lemongrass tofu sounds amazing! What a great spread! :)

  11. This tofu looks fabulous & I will be linking to it on Monday's post :)

  12. Love the marinade and the satay sauce! pretty clicks too!
    Richa @

  13. So this was my indulgence for tonight's dinner. Delicious. So fragrant too! My husband is still juicing full time, but when he is done I will have to make this one for him too. I love getting satay (chicken or beef) at the local Thai restaurant. I think the sauce is spot on---and he can add his own icky meat, and I will keep my tofu:) How do you work meat with your husband, Erin? Does he cook his own, or do you cook it for him? Curious...

    1. This is one of my favorites that I'll make again once it's warm enough to sit outside for dinner at the grill. Glad you enjoyed too, Leila!

      Jeff eats mostly vegan dinners throughout the week, but if he wants a steak or something, he makes it himself (in his own meat pan!)


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