Easy Tofu Stir-fry in Spicy Vegetarian Sambal

Malaysian sambal typically includes blended anchovies or shrimp. The reason for the addition of some kind of seafood is that it helps to create a deeper and more complex flavour. But if you are avoiding meat of any sort or just prefer lighter flavours, give this tofu stir fried in vegetarian sambal a try. It’s simple to make and perfect on days when you’re craving something spicy and just want to whip up something quickly.

Simple and Easy Spicy Tofu Stir-fry


  • 5 pieces firm fresh tofu, cut into four
  • Tamarind paste in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tomato cut into 6 slices
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Ingredients for Sambal Blend:

  • 10 to 13 pieces dried chillies
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tbsp water


  1. Finely blend the dried chillies, garlic and chopped onion. Add 2 to 3 tbsp water to the mixture if the blend is too thick and does not mix properly. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a medium sized sauce pan. Add cut tofu and fry until it is golden brown. Remove the tofu from oil and set a side. Note: You can place the tofu on a paper towel to dry the excess oil.
  3. Remove some of the oil from the pan so that there is about 1/4 cup oil left. Now add the blended chilli mix to the pan. Fry for 5 minutes. Add sugar and salt. Continue cooking until it is aromatic. About another 3 minutes should do it.
  4. Add tamarind water through a sieve so seeds don’t end up in the pan.
  5. Chuck in the fried tofu, tomato and the rest of the sliced onions. Stir. Note: If you find it too thick, you can add 1/4 cup water.
  6. Cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.
  7. Serve with a plate of hot steaming rice. Yum.

Everything Sambal

Malaysians love sambal. We have so many varieties and can get quite creative adding whatever favourite main ingredient into it, whether it be a vegetable or meat. Check out some other sambal based recipes we have featured on Butterkicap such as Spicy Prawn and Petai and Diana Chan’s Baby Octopus Sambal.

We’re always on the lookout for great new recipes. Do contact us if you have any to share. After all, Malaysian food culture really is all about sharing. Whether you have tips, places to recommend or recipes, do contact us anytime as we love hearing from our community of foodies.

Butterkicap Team

We're just a small group of friends who love food, culture and Malaysia. We saw the rise of mediocre food, deteriorating relationships and missed the good old days of Malaysia where food was good, homes were warmer and full of friends and family. So we rolled up our sleeves, and made Butterkicap with the hope that it will bring people and flavors home.

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