Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fried Tofu Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Until 12 years ago our family was not particularly fond of tofu. Nobody liked the texture, there was no taste to it and dishes I made just seemed boring. All of this changed when we were invited to a friend's home in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and sampled her Asian fried tofu appetizer. We were hooked. Since then I have experimented with various spices and condiments to make tofu dishes more appealing. Below is my version of a spicy tofu salad adapted from a recipe in "The Cooking of Singapore" by Chris Yeo and Joyce Jue.


1/2 tsp mashed garlic
2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smooth peanut butter, but you could also use the crunchy kind)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp lemon or lime juice

1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 pound tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
3 finely grated carrots
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced. Take about 6 cucumber slices and sliver them. Keep separate.

  • Bring dressing ingredients to room temperature.
  • Measure 1/2 cup of peanut butter into a small bowl.
  • Combine minced garlic, soy sauce, tamarind water, ground roasted peanuts, sugar, sriracha sauce and lemon or lime juice and mix well. Add to peanut butter and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat sesame oil in non-stick frying pan and fry tofu slices until lightly browned, about 2 - 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and cut into 1/2 inch cubes when cool enough to handle.
  • To assemble salad, put several cucumber slices on a plate, add desired amount of tofu cubes, spoon some spicy peanut dressing over tofu and top with shredded cabbage, grated carrots and slivered cucumbers.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

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