Tofu, otherwise known as bean curd, is a very popular ingredient in Asian cooking. It’s a food derived from soy, and is made by curdling fresh soy milk, pressing it into solid blocks, then cooling it. The beauty of this ingredient is not only is it high in protein, it contains the nine key amino acids which are essential for life. It also presents us with, essentially, a blank canvas to which we can add a huge variety of flavours and textures when using it in recipes! The recipe below is not for the faint-hearted, and is packed with flavour and spice. If it’s your first time using Sichuan pepper, don’t get a fright when your lips and tongue start tingling from this unique ingredient! Enjoy this simple taste of Asia.
PREP TIME: 7 MINS
COOK TIME: 8 MINS / SERVES: 2-5 PEOPLE
1 box of silken tofu
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon black vinegar (Chinkiang, available at U-Plus)
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar dissolved in 1 teaspoon boiling water
2 tablespoons chilli oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
1 red chilli, chopped finely
1 heaped tablespoon salted black beans, chopped up (optional)
2 spring onions thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
2 tablespoons fried shallots
1. Get your silken tofu out of the box without breaking. This is probably the hardest part
of the dish! Gently use a sharp knife to cut open the top of the box and carefully tip onto a
plate. Make sure the plate is a size that can fit in a steamer, so you don’t have to transfer it again, risking breaking!
2. Very gently slice the tofu into 1cm slices. Set up your steamer, either using the wooden traditional one or simply set something up over a pot that you can pop the plate in and have a lid on it.
3. Steam the tofu for 6-8 mins until warmed through and gently pour the excess water from the plate.
4. While this is steaming, heat the two tablespoons of chilli oil in a small pot. Add in the ginger and cook on a medium-high heat before adding in the garlic, chilli, black beans and Sichuan pepper.
5. Cook for a further minute or two until the garlic’s softened, but not browned. Remove
from heat, add in the chopped spring onions and thoroughly combine.
6. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Tip in the
ginger mix and combine thoroughly.
7. Pour the warmed mix over the steamed tofu, sprinkle with the coriander and fried
shallots and serve immediately. This can be served with a little rice, or simply as a
starter for all to share.