Pour the oil into a wok and heat to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds.
Add the tofu, cooking it in 2 batches to ensure the oil stays hot, and deep-fry until crisp. Remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and transfer to kitchen paper-lined tray to drain.
Carefully, transfer the deep-frying oil into a deep bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon oil in the wok.
Now add the garlic, Asian shallots, and chile to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and fish sauce, stir and allow the tomatoes to break down.
Add 3 1/2 fluid ounces/ 100 ml water to the wok, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the crisp tofu, spring onions, and black pepper, folding it all together, and simmer for no longer than 1 minute as we want to keep the crisp texture of the tofu.
Garnish with coriander (cilantro).