Recipe: Lemongrass pork chops and tofu steaks with Nuoc Mam

As I mentioned before on my Facebook page here, I'm a pescatarian while my husband is definitely not.  If I'm not cooking fish, I usually try to accommodate both of our diets by using one marinade that would suffice for two main dishes.  

This week I found some delicious lemon grass at the farmers market AND the price of limes have gone back to normal!  So I knew that I wanted to make lemongrass pork chops / tofu steaks, and re-up on our household staple of Vietnamese cooked fish sauce (nuoc mam).  

Nuoc Mam: 

Essentially sugared water with raw fish sauce from a bottle, as well as lots of lime, garlic and chilies.  I call it the "elixir of life" because Vietnamese people put it on everyTHANG.  The rice, the meat, the tofu, the vegetables, etc.  We would swim in it if it didn't stank so badly.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: makes one small mason jar


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar (I use brown sugar to be a bit more healthy)
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp of ginger
  • (optional) 1 Thai chili


  • Pour the water and sugar into a pot and bring to a boil.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside to let it cool
  • While the sugared water cools, finely chop the garlic and Thai chili
  • Once the sugared water cools, mix in the fish sauce and stir well.  Add in more fish sauce if you feel it needs more tang
  • Add in the lime juice, garlic, ginger and Thai chili, mix - and you're done!


Lemongrass Pork Chops and Tofu Steaks:

Prep Time: 2.5 hours (2 hour marinade time)

Cook Time: 10 minutes (tofu), 20 minutes (pork chops, varies based on thickness)

Serves: 2 people


  • 2 pork chops, bone-in
  • 4 tofu steaks (I like the fried ones, but firm will do as well)
  • Coconut oil
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of ginger
  • 3 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 yellow onion
Marinade Ingredients

Marinade Ingredients


  • Rub coconut oil generously on both sides of the pork chops and tofu steaks and place them into separate dishes
  • Finely chop the lemongrass, garlic and ginger.  Combine them with the soy sauce in a small bowl
  • Dice the yellow onion and set aside
  • Rub the lemongrass/soy mixture on both sides of the pork chops and tofu steaks and place in the fridge for 2 hours to marinade
  • After 2 hours, heat 2 pans simultaneously (or start with the tofu cooking first if you only have one pan).  Once warm, put about a 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil in each pan
  • Distribute yellow onion into each pan and let cook until translucent (about 2 minutes)
  • Cook the tofu until crispy brown on the outside (flipping after about 5 minutes), and the pork chops until cooked through (flip at least once).  
  • Serve with the cooked onions on top of the tofu and pork chops


Finished Tofu Steaks - served with rice and cucumber salad (that recipe coming soon!!)

Finished Tofu Steaks - served with rice and cucumber salad (that recipe coming soon!!)

Finished pork chop!!

Finished pork chop!!