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Silken Tofu for a Sultry Day

On a warm day, this is as simple and delicious as it gets.


Bet you never thought you’d see the words, “tofu” and “sultry” together, did you?

After all, the bean curd doesn’t always get the love it deserves. But this easy-breezy dish might just make you a believer.

On a warm, lazy day, there’s nothing better than “Silken Tofu with Avocado.”

It’s from “Every Grain of Rice” (W.W. Norton & Company), the newest cookbook by Chinese cooking authority Fuchsia Dunlop. The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, includes 150 recipes for straightforward, Chinese home-style dishes. Included are helpful primers on Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques.

Cold dishes are traditionally served at the start of a meal. It’s actually a sly way to tide guests over with already prepared noshes while the host gets busy stir-frying the rest of the meal.

Dunlop writes that she first experienced a tofu-avocado dish like this years ago in a restaurant in the southern hills of Taipei, where the cuisine is influenced by Taiwanese street food, as well as Taiwan’s history as a Japanese colony.

Indeed, the flavors of this dish will remind you of a California roll, what with the avocado, soy sauce and hit of wasabi.

Just slice a block of silken tofu. Next, slice a perfectly ripe avocado half and fan it over the tofu. Drizzle with a mixture of soy sauce, wasabi and sesame oil. That’s it.

The first time Dunlop had this dish, it was topped with raw sea urchin. I could imagine garnishing it with slivers of nori, too.

The chilled tofu is so cooling on a warm day. And the texture of the creamy avocado mirrors that of the custardy tofu for a rather sensual pleasure.

Yes, “tofu” and “sensual” together in one sentence. You read it here first.

Silken Tofu with Avocado

(Serves 2-3 as a starter or first course)

7 ounces silken tofu

2 tablespoons light or tamari soy sauce, diluted with 1 tablespoon water

A hint of wasabi paste (optional)

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 perfectly ripe avocado, sliced

Turn the block of silken tofu out on to a serving dish. Cut the block into 1/8- to 3/8-inch slices, then push down gently so the slices lean towards one end of the dish.

Pour over the diluted soy sauce (with the wasabi stirred in, if you wish) and sesame oil. Top with avocado and serve immediately.

From “Every Grain of Rice” by Fuchsia Dunlop

More Cold Tofu Dishes: David Chang’s Cherry Tomato & Tofu Salad

And: Susan Feniger’s Chilled Soba Noodles with Spicy Orange Sesame and Tofu