Vietnamese (Air Fryer) Tofu in Tomato Sauce

Published: 21 February 2024 by Simon Deane

This Vietnamese Air Fryer Tofu in Tomato Sauce dish is a real treat. Ready in 20 minutes and healthier and cheaper than getting take out. It's also vegan and gluten free.
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It’s great to be have a healthy recipe on hand to make quickly that also tastes really good. This recipe ticks all these boxes, and I recommend giving it a try. Tofu is also high in protein and a good source of calcium and other nutrients. It can be very beneficial for those following a plant based or plant predominant diet.

Ingredients for Tofu in Tomato Sauce:

First of all, you need the following ingredients to make the air fryer tofu:

  • Tofu
  • Oil
  • Corn flour

I like to use sesame oil for this dish but you can also use your regular cooking oil. You can also use regular wheat flour in place of corn flour.

Ingredients to make the tomato sauce:

  • Oil
  • Onion (yellow) – or you can use scallions instead
  • Garlic
  • Chopped/crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Lime Juice
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Maple syrup – or other liquid sweetener or even a little sugar
  • A red pepper – or yellow pepper
  • Tamari – or soy sauce (if you want to make this recipe gluten free, choose tamari)
  • A fresh chilli – for some spice. Feel free to leave out.
  • Grated fresh ginger
  • Cilantro leaves (coriander leaves)

How to Make this Dish:

The timing for this dish comes together quite nicely. Once you get your tofu cooking, then get the rice on, and make the tomato sauce, the tofu is almost ready. Everything should come together from start to sitting down to eat in around 20 minutes.

Cooking the tofu

Before you cut your tofu into cubes I recommend drying it out as much as you can. I like to squeeze as much water out as possible using my hands, being careful not to break the tofu. Some experienced tofu eaters also use a tofu press. You can also leave between two plates for a few minutes with some additional weight on top of the top plate. Or you can remove some water by patting down with kitchen paper.

Then cut the tofu into bite sized cubes and place into a bowl. Sprinkle on the corn flour and add the oil and toss the tofu in the bowl until evenly covered.

Spread the tofu out evenly on the air fryer tray and air fry at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) for around 15 minutes. Open the air fryer once or twice during cooking just to give the tofu a shake to unstick any cubes and help the tofu to cook more evenly.

What if I don’t have an air fryer?

If you don’t have an air fryer you can bake in the oven at the same temperature for around 20 minutes. Alternatively you can fry the tofu in a little oil for around 8 minutes, moving the tofu around a few times to make sure it cooks evenly.

Cooking the rice

Once the tofu is cooking, I suggest getting the rice cooking. For this you can just follow the packet instructions as there can be differences in cooking times depending on the type of rice you are using.

If you are using wholegrain rice, I recommend getting the rice on first as wholegrain rice can take 45 minutes to cook.

Making the Tomato Sauce

To make the tomato sauce, you start by sautéing the onion in a little oil, along with the peppers, ginger, chilli and garlic. Cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft.

Then you can add the rest of the tomato sauce ingredients. These are (hopefully not forgetting anything), the maple syrup, tamari or soy sauce, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes.

tofu in tomato sauce cooking in a pan
Tofu with tomato sauce in the pan

Bring to a a gentle simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly. When the tofu is finished cooking in the air fryer, add to the tomato sauce and stir the tofu into the sauce. Cook for another two minutes to allow the tofu to absorb the flavor from the sauce.

Serve with rice and garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves.

Tofu in tomato sauce served in a bowl

Vietnamese (Air Fryer) Tofu in Tomato Sauce

A lovely simple and tasty Vietnamese Air Frier Tofu in tomato sauce dish. Ready in 20 minutes.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 Servings
Calories 592 kcal


  • 280 g tofu (block)
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion yellow, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • juice from half a lime
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red chilli (chopped)
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves (coriander leaves)
  • 1 tbsp ginger (grated or finely chopped)
  • 140 g basmati rice


  • Chop the tofu into bite sized cubes and place into a bowl. Add a tbsp of oil and sprinkle in a tbsp of corn flour and toss until the tofu is evenly coated.
  • Place the tofu into the air fryer at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes. Stop once or twice during the cooking process to shake the tofu to help with even cooking and prevent sticking.
  • While the tofu is cooking, get the rice on and cook according to the packet instructions.
  • In a pan or wok, sauté the onion along with the pepper, garlic, ginger and chilli in a tablespoon of oil for around 5 minutes until the onion is nice and soft.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, lime juice and tamari. Stir everything in and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Add the tofu to the tomato sauce once cooked and cover with the sauce. Cook on a gentle simmer for another 2 minutes to allow the tofu to absorb the flavor from the sauce.
  • Serve with rice and add some chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves.


Calories: 592kcalCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 21gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 523mgPotassium: 444mgFiber: 5gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 2120IUVitamin C: 113mgCalcium: 236mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Some Other Tofu Dishes to Try

if you enjoyed this type of recipe then I also recommend checking out the following recipes.

Takeaway Style Crispy Chilli Tofu

Awesome Indian Tempeh Curry

The Best Breakfast Tofu Scramble with Spinach

Sticky Tempeh with Vegetables and Rice

tofu served on a plate with rice and veggies
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  • Simon Deane

    My mission is to provide the resources to help people to prepare their own healthy and tasty meals at home and to teach people about nutrition and how to eat healthier...

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