In a large, non-stick skillet, over medium high heat, add half of the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, place the entire piece of tofu and pan fry till brown. It takes about 5 minutes to brown on each side. Turn it only once. Make sure each side is brown before turning. Remove from skillet and drain on parchment paper. When cool enough, cut in 1-inch cubes and set aside.
Using the same skillet, over medium high heat, add more vegetable oil if needed. When oil is hot, saute the garlic and onions. Then add the tomatoes and mix with the rest of the ingredients.
Pour the water and the fish sauce (patis) into the skillet. Add the shrimps and cook till they turn pink. Mash the tomatoes slightly with the back of the spoon. Continue cooking till tomatoes are soft for about 8 minutes.
Return the tofu cubes and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and black pepper.
Garnish with chopped scallions and parsley if desired. Serve warm as a side with other entrees.
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