|Silken Tofu with Century Egg|
This was the lovely tofu dish I made for our Chinese lunch party. It is so very good, and incredibly simple to make. As I previously mentioned, it is literally just a block of cold silken tofu, topped with shallots, some different seasonings (soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, black vinegar), a chopped up century egg and some coriander. They're quite simple ingredients, but they pack a big punch. The soft, bland creaminess of the tofu is the perfect foil for the strong flavours. Because there's no cooking involved, and very little prep work, I thought it was an easy way to add another dish to an already crowded menu - no last minute steaming or stir-frying involved with this one!
I'd had this dish for the first time at Spice Temple the week before, and I remember being impressed by the creamy texture of the tofu and the intensely flavoured sauce.
|Spice Temple's Silken tofu and preserved egg salad with soy chilli dressing - $18|
The next day I went out and picked up two packets of silken tofu, and funnily enough, later that week in the Epicure, there was a Jill Dupleix feature on tofu recipes! Her "silken tofu with soy beans and chilli" looked especially tempting, and I made it for a mid-week dinner. It was so tasty and healthy, even more so because I had it with brown rice. (Recipe available here).
|Silken tofu with soy beans and chilli|
I struggled to get the tofu out in one piece, so I broke it up artfully (heh) with a spoon. Even though Jill Dupleix called it "silken tofu with soy beans and chilli", with its soy sauce, soy beans and soy bean curd, I tend to think of this dish as "Symphony of Soy". It takes a bit more work than the century egg tofu, as you have to cook the sauce and steam the tofu in this dish. Whilst it was great, I actually like the cold tofu better - it seems to lose its creamy texture when you steam it, and becomes more jelly-like.
So, back to the original dish. Here is the tofu - out in one piece, wahoo! My suggestion for getting it out safely is to simply peel back the wrapper and invert it onto a plate, giving it a little shake if necessary. Don't bother trying to use a knife to loosen the tofu from the sides of the packet, as you'll probably just end up cutting the delicate tofu and breaking it up. (Or that's what happens to me, anyway).
Having said that though, steeping them in the sauce mixture (see recipe below) does soften them and mellows the acridness. You don't really need to leave it for that long - a few hours is ideal, but just letting them sit while you prepare the rest of your meal will be fine.
|Shallots in sauce|
|Shell of century egg|
|Peeled century egg|
And that's it, really. Just chop up the eggs, and place them on the tofu with the shallots and sauce, finishing with some chopped coriander. It's an easy way to add another dish to your meal, or as a meal in itself with some rice if you don't want to do a lot of cooking. But don't just make it because it's easy - make it because it is very, very good.
Silken Tofu with Century Egg
My version of a classic Chinese recipe, adapted from TasteHongKongIngredients1 shallot1 tsp sesame oil1 tsp black Chinkiang vinegar1 tsp soy sauce1 tsp sugar1 x 200g pack silken tofu1 century eggSmall bunch fresh coriander, roughly choppedMethodPeel and very finely slice the shallot (a mandoline will make this easier). Place in a small bowl. Add the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar and stir to combine. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate while you get on with the rest of your meal (3-4 hours is ideal, but don't worry if you can only give it 20 minutes or so, it will still be good).Unwrap the tofu, drain off any excess water and carefully invert onto a serving plate. If you can get it out in one piece - YAY! If it happens to break, then gently break it up with a spoon to make it look pretty.Peel and roughly chop the century egg and scatter it over the tofu. Pour over the sliced shallot with its sauce. Sprinkle with fresh coriander to serve.Serves 2-6, depending on what else you're eating with it