A Beginner’s Guide to Making Bun Dau Mam Tom: Step-by-Step Recipe & Tips

Bun Dau Mam Tom is a classic and beloved Vietnamese dish that combines fried tofu, shrimp paste, and a variety of fresh herbs and vegetables. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy a savory and flavorful meal.

If you want to learn how to make this tasty dish, this beginner’s guide will provide a step-by-step recipe and tips for making Bun Dau Mam Tom. From selecting the right ingredients to the final presentation, this guide will help you create a dish that will tantalize your taste buds.

With a few simple steps, you can create a dish that will be the highlight of your next meal. So, let’s get started and learn how to make the perfect Bun Dau Mam Tom.

Ingredients And Tools Needed

First, let’s look at the ingredients and tools needed to make a delicious Bun Dau Mam Tom.

For the tofu, you’ll need firm tofu that has not been pre-seasoned. For the shrimp paste, make sure you get the fermented kind. Other ingredients include:

  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Chili pepper
  • Lime
  • No
  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • minced garlic

For the tools, you’ll need a

  • deep-frying pan,
  • a large bowl
  • a baking sheet
  • a mixing bowl
  • a knife
  • a spatula
  • a measuring cup
  • and a strainer.

Preparing The Ingredients

There are a few important steps when it comes to preparing the ingredients. First, let’s look at the tofu. You want to make sure the tofu is firm and not silken or soft. You can tell the firmness by pressing down on the tofu. If it feels soft or spongy, it needs to be firm.

You can do this by wrapping the tofu in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and pressing down it for about 15 minutes.

Now, let’s look at the shrimp paste. You can find fermented shrimp paste in most Asian supermarkets. It comes in a jar or tin and is either red or grey in color. Make sure you’re using the fermented kind and not the non-fermented kind because the latter will not give the same taste and texture in your dish.

Fermented shrimp paste is salty and has a very strong smell, so make sure you are using it in moderation in your dish. You’ll also want to mince the garlic and finely chop the chili pepper and scallions.

Making the Sauce

This is a step that many people miss when making this dish. A good sauce is key to making a delicious and balanced dish. Start by mixing a few tablespoons of water with the minced garlic, and chopped chili pepper.

Then, add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Next, add the fermented shrimp paste. Make sure to use just a small amount as it is quite salty. The sauce should be a little bit on the thicker side, but if it is too thick, you can add a little bit of water.

Once the sauce is ready, transfer it to another bowl and add the crushed coriander. Let this sauce sit for 10 to 15 minutes so the flavors can mingle and come together.

Frying the Tofu

Before frying the tofu, you should drain the water from the tofu. You can do this by placing the wrapped tofu in a strainer or colander and pressing down on it with a spoon.

This step is important because excess water will cause the oil to splatter. Once the water is drained, you can transfer the tofu to a baking sheet and place it in the oven for about 10 minutes.

The tofu should be golden brown in color, and it should have a crispy texture. Before frying the tofu, heat the oil in a deep-frying pan for about 3 minutes. Once the oil has reached the right temperature, transfer the tofu to the frying pan and fry it for about 3 minutes on each side.

Make sure to fry the tofu in small batches so the oil does not get overcrowded. Once the tofu is golden brown, take it out of the frying pan and place it on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Serving the Bun Dau Mam Tom

Once you’ve completed the dish, you can serve it for lunch or dinner. It is best to serve it when all the ingredients are fresh and seasonal. This way, you can enjoy the best flavors.

If you serve the dish for lunch, you can serve it with steamed rice. If you serve it for dinner, you can serve it with boiled rice.

Tips for Making the Perfect Bun Dau Mam Tom

Here are some important tips for making the perfect Bun Dau Mam Tom.

First, make sure you use the right types of ingredients while making this dish. Make sure the tofu is firm, the shrimp paste is fermented, and the vegetables are fresh.

Another important tip is to make sure the ingredients are chopped and ready to use so you don’t lose any time while cooking. You can also make the sauce and the tofu before frying the tofu.

Once you’ve prepared the ingredients, it’s easier to assemble the dish. In addition, you can use a large plate or bowl to make everything look more presentable.


Bun Dau Mam Tom is a popular Vietnamese dish that is made with fried tofu and shrimp paste. It is an easy dish to make, but it requires some preparation and the right ingredients for the best flavor. If you use these tips, you’ll be able to make a delicious and authentic Bun Dau Mam Tom.

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