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Vegan Yentafo เย็นตาโฟ

Yentafo, a favourite Thai street food dish, is easily recognised by its vibrant pink soup. The colour is derived from the red koji rice used to fermented the tofu that stars in the flavour profile of this noodle soup. Regrettably, a rising number of vendors omit this ingredient in favour of electrified pink food dye. The red fermented tofu, called tao hu yi, blended with the other ingredients in the recipe, lands you with a jar of concentrated umami-rich, slightly funky sweet and sour sauce to flavour your soup.
A noodle basket is highly recommended for cooking, especially if you are making more than one serving, as it allows a neat portioning of noodles per person. I always fry a few extra wontons to toss in any remaining soup.
Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 6 bowls


  • Two saucepans
  • Noodle basket (optional but recommended)
  • Cooking chopsticks (optional but recommended)


Yentafo sauce

  • 75 grams fermented red tofu 3-4 tablespoons
  • 30 millilitres brine from red fermented tofu 2 tablespoons
  • 60 millilitres passata ¼ cup
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon white rice vinegar not sushi rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons beetroot powder optional

Per single serving

  • 2 tablespoons yentafo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fried garlic in garlic oil see notes1
  • Good pinch salt
  • 250 millilitres vegetable stock see notes2
  • 1-2 tofu puffs halved into triangles
  • 1-2 vegan fish balls see notes3
  • 1-2 pieces mock squid see notes3
  • 50-60 grams dried thin rice noodles, soaked for at least 10 minutes in warm water or 80-100 grams sen yai noodles, depending on how hungry you are see notes4
  • ⅓-½ cup 2 inch pieces water spinach stems some leaves are fine too
  • ⅓-½ cup bean sprouts
  • Small broken off piece dried white fungus
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mix of one or more of spring onion, coriander, Chinese celery
  • Fried wonton skins see notes5
  • kruang prung of chilli vinegar, soy sauce or chillies soaked in soy sauce, sugar, prik bon see notes6


Make the yentafo sauce

  • Add the fermented tofu, brine, garlic, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and salt to a small saucepan. Cook on medium low for about 10 minutes, stirring often. When cooled slightly, blend until smooth. You can now add beetroot powder (or pink dye) if you wish for a brighter pink colour. Decant into a jar. This can be kept, refrigerated, for at least a week (realistically a few).

Per single serving bowl

  • Add the yentafo sauce, soy sauce, fried garlic in garlic oil, and salt to a serving bowl.
  • Fill a saucepan deep enough to submerge the contents of a noodle basket with water and bring to a rapid boil.
  • Add the tofu puffs, fish balls, mock squid, and white fungus to a saucepan with your stock (you can use the pan you used to make yentafo sauce – no need to rinse out). Bring to a boil and knock the heat down to medium low. If the fish balls and tofu puffs are frozen, they’ll need to cook for 5-10 minutes, until the fish balls float. Otherwise they’ll take a minute or so.
  • Place noodles, water spinach, and bean sprouts into a noodle basket. Plunge the basket into the boiling water and cook, agitating with chopsticks to ensure even cooking, for between 30-60 seconds. Pull the basket out of the water and shake the basket to offload excess water (if you’re not comfortable doing this without making a mess you can move the basket over a large bowl and shake within the confines of this splashproof space).
  • Tip the contents of the noodle baskets into the prepped serving bowl. Pour the contents of the stock pan over the noodles. Garnish with the fresh chopped herbs and a fried wonton or seven. Serve with chilli vinegar, soy sauce or soy sauce soaked chillies, sugar, and toasted chilli powder as condiments.


Thin soy sauce is a specific type of Thai soy sauce. To learn more about Thai soy sauces have a look at my Thai soy and seasoning sauce primer.
  1. Make your own fried garlic in garlic oil (gratiem jeow)
  2. The stock I use is my vegan Thai noodle soup stock recipe.
  3. In the UK you can buy vegan fish balls and squid from Veggie World. If you can’t find these items, just omit them and add some more tofu puffs, vegetables, or even fresh tofu.
  4. Should you wish to use fresh rice noodles, you can check out my sen yai recipe.
  5. You can use a storebought variety of wonton skins to fry or you can use my recipe for fried wonton skins (geow tod).
  6. In Thailand noodle soups are not complete upon delivery to the table, and require additional seasoning to suit the diner's palate. This soup, despite its bold flavour base, is no different. These three simple recipes, in addition to sugar, and will elevate your bowl to suit your preferences: