Meera Sodha’s Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chiles

published Apr 29, 2021
Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chiles

Silken tofu is so named because it is passed through silk and is the most delicate of all the tofus both in flavor and texture.

Serves4 as a starter

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Credit: David Loftus

Silken tofu is so named because it is passed through silk and is the most delicate of all the tofus both in flavor and texture. This recipe is loosely based on a memorable encounter I had with a silken tofu dish at a restaurant called My Neighbours the Dumplings in east London. The fragility of the tofu contrasted wonderfully with a brute of a dressing: hot and sour with pickled chiles, salty with soy, and crunchy with toasted pine nuts.

Note: Buy fresh silken tofu if you can, but if you can only find shelf-stable tofu, make sure you cut carefully along the edges of the carton and open the pack gently so as not to break it up. Pickled chiles can be bought in jars from most supermarkets. Yours may be green, rather than red as in the picture.

Meera Sodha’s East is Kitchn’s April pick for our Cookbook Club. See how you can participate here.

Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chiles

Silken tofu is so named because it is passed through silk and is the most delicate of all the tofus both in flavor and texture.

Serves 4 as a starter

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces

    silken tofu

  • 2 tablespoons

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    white wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    soy sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon

    agave syrup

  • 1/2 tablespoon

    canola oil

  • 2

    green onions, green part only, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup

    pine nuts

  • 2

    pickled chile peppers, finely sliced

  • 1/4 cup

    finely sliced cilantro

Instructions

  1. Remove the tofu from its packaging, put on a plate, and leave for 10 minutes or so, then tip the water away. Place the drained tofu on a nice serving plate with a lip, as things are about to get saucy.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, agave syrup, and 2 tablespoons of hot water. Whisk with a fork to mix.

  3. Put the canola oil into a pan over a high heat and, when hot, add the green onions, pine nuts, and pickled chile peppers. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring every now and then, being very careful not to burn the mixture.

  4. Very carefully (as it may spit), tip the hot pine nuts into the sesame oil mixture along with the cilantro. Mix well, then pour over the tofu and serve.

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from East: 120 Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing. Copyright © 2020 by Meera Sodha. Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.