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Tender and moist Vietnamese-inspired tofu meatloaf! Packed with wood ear mushrooms, carrots, and green onions, this tofu loaf is often served with rice or as an appetizer. Plant-based, 10 ingredients, high-protein, and so easy to make!

If you are looking for another way to enjoy tofu, this tofu meatloaf won’t disappoint!

This Vietnamese-inspired side is not only easy to make, but it’s also healthy, protein-rich, and delicious! Let’s do it!

📘 About This Tofu Loaf

This classic Vietnamese dish, called “Chả trứng hấp”, is a steamed meatloaf usually prepared with a mix of ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, eggs, and different seasonings. It is served as a side to rice or as an appetizer.

Here, we are swapping the meat for tofu, giving this loaf a moist and slightly spongy texture! It’s tender, peppery, and delicious!

Vietnamese Tofu Loaf (Vegan + GF)

🥣 How to Make Tofu Loaf

This tofu meatloaf requires just 10 ingredients and less than 45 minutes to prepare. Here is what you will need:

  • Tofu – Use medium or semi-firm tofu. Make sure you are not using silken tofu for this recipe.
  • Wood ear mushrooms – You can find wood ear mushrooms sold dried online or in most Asian supermarkets. These add texture and an earthy flavor to the loaf.
  • Carrot – To bring a natural sweetness and more texture.
  • Shallots
  • Salt and pepper – For saltiness and spiciness.
  • Sugar – Just a little bit to balance with the saltiness. Vietnamese cuisine always has a balance of sweet and salty.
  • Tapioca starch – To help the loaf slightly firm up and hold together.
  • Annatto oil – We are using annatto oil as a natural coloring for the glaze. You can learn how to make your own annatto oil here.

This recipe is pretty straightforward; we start by processing the tofu in a food processor until it turns into a smooth cream.

Vietnamese Tofu Loaf (Vegan + GF)

Next, we mix the tofu cream with finely chopped black wood ear mushrooms, carrots, glass noodles, shallots, and seasonings.

Once you have mixed everything together, transfer it to a pan and steam for about 25 minutes.

Vietnamese Tofu Loaf (Vegan + GF)

Note: The classic version of this meatloaf usually uses egg yolks for the glaze. Here, we are replacing eggs by combining a couple of tablespoons of the tofu cream with water, tapioca starch to thicken, and annatto oil to give it a bright orange color.

This topping doesn’t add much to the flavor. It’s mostly for decoration and to add color.

Once your tofu loaf has steamed for 25 minutes, pour a thin layer of the glaze on top of it and steam for another 5 minutes.

Vietnamese Tofu Loaf (Vegan + GF)

Once your loaf is cooked, let it cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting as it will firm up a bit more once cold.

🍚 What to Serve with this Tofu Loaf

You can serve this tofu loaf as a cold appetizer with some soy sauce on the side or serve it as a topping to broken rice or white rice noodles!

📔 Tips

  • Very finely chop the carrot, glass noodles, and mushrooms: this will prevent your meatloaf from being crumbly.
  • Steaming is essential to get a moist and tender texture, I do not recommend baking.
Vietnamese Tofu Loaf (Vegan + GF)

I hope you will love this tofu meatloaf as much as I do! It has a delicate yet slightly crunchy texture and a nice black pepper kick. It’s delicious as is, but can also be served on top of white rice for extra flavor and protein!

🇻🇳 More Vietnamese-Inspired Recipes

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Vietnamese Tofu Loaf (Vegan + GF)
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Recipe

Vietnamese Tofu Loaf

5 from 5 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Vietnamese-inspired tofu loaf loaded with black mushrooms, carrots, shallots, and glass noodles! A delicious topping to white rice or noodles!
Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 25 minutes
Total Time : 45 minutes
Servings 1 Loaf (about 10 slices)
Calories 66 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 14 oz medium tofu
  • 3 tbsp dried black woodear mushrooms soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 cup cooked mung bean noodles about 30g dry (also called glass noodles)
  • 1 small carrot shredded and then finely diced
  • 1 shallots very finely minced
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onions (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch

Glaze

Instructions
 

  • Pat the tofu dry with two sheets of kitchen paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Transfer to a food processor and process until you get a smooth cream. Pour the tofu cream into a large mixing bowl. Save two tablespoons of the tofu cream to make the glaze later.
  • Drain the woodear mushrooms and slice them thinly. Cut the cooked mung bean noodles into 1.5-inch pieces. Add the wood ear mushrooms, noodles, carrot, shallot, sugar (or maple syrup), black pepper, salt, and green onions if using to the tofu bowl. Using a large spatula, mix everything until well combined. If you have gloves, feel free to use one to mix with your hand. Taste and adjust saltiness and sweetness to your liking. Add the tapioca starch and mix again.
  • Line a 7×4-inch pan with parchment paper. Transfer the tofu mixture into the pan and press it down into an even layer. You can also use small ramequins if you don’t have a larger pan.
  • Place a bamboo steamer on top of a pot of boiling water. Put the pan inside the bamboo steamer and steam the tofu loaf for about 25 minutes.
  • In the meantime, mix the 2 tbsp of tofu cream with the anatto oil, tapioca starch, and water. After 25 minutes, glaze the tofu loaf with the mixture and steam for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool completely. This tofu loaf is best eaten at room temperature, or cold, on top of white rice. You can also eat it as is with some soy sauce on the side, or use in sandwiches!
  • This tofu loaf will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

*To make your own annatto oil, heat about 1 tsp of anatto seeds in 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until the oil has turned red. Remove from heat, discard the seeds and store the oil in a clean glass jar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 66 kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.2 g | Protein: 3.9 g | Fat: 2.1 g | Fiber: 1.2 g | Sugar: 0.8 g
Course : Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine : Vietnamese
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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33 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi. I’m in America. I can’t find a 7 x 4 inch loaf pan anywhere. I’m assuming this is a rough conversion from metric measurements to imperial. What’s the next best size? Would an 8 x 5 inch loaf pan be too big for this recipe? Thanks.

    1. Hi Andrea,
      The best size is the size that will fit in your steamer 🙂 I recommend going with at least a 2-inch deep pan though.

  2. Hi, every store bought fermented tofu has a bpa warning on the label even if the packaging is a bottle. Do you think this has to do with the fermenting process and how the product is stored before it’s bottled? I was hoping to have it prepared rather than make my own.

    1. Hi Laura,
      I’m afraid I have never seen a warning on the ones I get. Have you tried checking different brands/stores?

    1. Hi Elayne,
      Chao is always sold as cubes in a brine, all of them are about the same size. I checked and a cube is approximately 17g.

  3. Thomas, thank you for your beautiful blog and wonderful recipes! I just discovered it today, and am completely amazed.

    For this Vietnamese Tofu Loaf recipe, (I’ll sound like a dummy) do you also chop the glass noodles before adding to the mix? Otherwise, it seems they might tear the loaf when you cut it.

    Many thanks!

    1. You’re welcome Yodan! Thanks for your kind words 🙂
      Yes, you should chop the glass noodles as well (about 1/2-inch long).

  4. Hi ya, I don’t have a steamer, will this cook in the oven? 🙂
    Many thanks and LOVE your recipes!

    1. I haven’t tried it honestly, as this kind of loaf is always steamed. It might work if you bake it wrapped in aluminum paper.
      Thanks for your kind words!

  5. I would like to cook this in an electric Instant Pot. Do you have any suggestions for cooking time and setting?
    Thank you

    1. I haven’t tried steaming it in the Instant Pot, but I would try steaming for about 5-7 minutes.

  6. 5 stars
    Thanks for another magical recipe! I made this today and it will be a weekly dinner item from now on, for sure! Guys, you need to make it!

  7. Thanks for putting this out there! We are awaiting results of our experimentation. Not following the recipe exactly, making modifications but it’s good to know there is have a standard that actually works.

    Hong

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Thomas:
    A craving for Banh mi brought me to your spectacular website today, I love everything about it and wanted to thank you for giving me the base of an Indonesian snack recipe I’ve been searching literally years for. Google translate was a major help but the recipes weren’t vegan. It’s a form of deep fried squares of tofu stuffed with basically the same ingredients used here with the addition of bean sprouts and without the Chao if my taste buds remember correctly. Shredded leek was used instead of green onion, the name of the snack in the Indonesian deli that no longer sells it was a generic ‘tahu isi’ but it wasn’t the kind with pre-fried tofu puffs stuffed with a filling, it was the homogeneously veggie larded tofu loaf version you shared here, battered and deep fried, a panko coating would work brilliantly here too.
    Happy 2022! Thanks to you mine has started off deliciously!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much for your kind words! Ohhh, that “tahu isi” sounds so delicious, I will definitely check it out!
      Happy 2022 to you as well 😉

  9. 5 stars
    This was very delicious. When I let it sit (then chilled) to firm up and then brought to room temperature for eating – I had my doubts, but it came out perfectly and with no modifications needed. Definitely needs a soy sauce based sauce for dipping though.

    1. Us Vietnamese don’t normally eat that on it’s own. We use it in a dish calls “cơm tấm bì sườn chả chay” – that roughly translates to broken rice with vegan “bì” comprised of shredded fried tofu, some fried shredded potatoes, glass noodles and coated in toasted rice powder, “sườn” is grilled marinated vegan pork and “chả” is the tofu loaf, along with shredded carrot & daikon pickles, sautee green onions and a Vietnamese dipping sauce – typically equal parts of Lime/lemon juice, sugar, warm water and vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce which is still good but wont have the authentic taste & smell) add pounded garlic and chili to taste but my personal reference is slightly less sweet and more tangy and salty so i’ll typically use:
      1-1.5Tbsp sugar (i’ll start off at 1 and add more if needed)
      2Tsp warm water
      2Tsp vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce)
      2Tbsp lime/lemon juice (u can also start off less and add more as needed)
      Mix until sugar dissolves then add pounded chili & garlic. Swap out garlic for ginger if needing a ginger dipping sauce – for other dishes)

  10. Question about the prep time shown. Everything is soaked, washed, chopped, the glass noodles are cooked, and then you start your 20 minute timer? Is there some reason people want to believe it takes almost no time to cook? I would love a realistic estimate of the time involved here. You cant just pretend theres a sous chef who preps everything for you.

    1. Veggies are not chopped, however I do not count the soaking time as this is “prep time”. This recipe is quite easy, and while I may have underestimated a bit the prep time, I doubt it will take you more than 35 minutes to do the whole preparation. And I have no sous-chef either 🙂

    2. This looks wonderful. Unfortunately I can’t find medium tofu, only firm/extra firm or the super soft. Is there any way firm would work, or will the texture be too wrong? I’ve used the firm to make western style tofu loaves, but I suspect the texture of your loaf is different.

      1. Hi Peggy,
        Firm tofu will work. Each brand uses a different name for a different firmness. What I call medium is usually sold as firm tofu.