HOT and muggy weather cries out for a mouthful of coolness and nothing does it better than chilled tofu.
"Picture provided by SPH"
The Japanese are famous for theirs – dressed with bonito flakes, seaweed and a light soya sauce – while some Chinese restaurants do a version topped with chilli, black shrimp paste and century egg, though this is hardly clean food with its pungent flavours!
Besides I am hankering after an old forgotten dish, which my grandmother used to whip up for lunch during a hot and sultry school afternoon.
Lunch would invariably be Peranakan, except it would be home-cooked food, that is, sans much of the elaborate flavours normally associated with such a meal. And cold tauhu, as we used to call it, was such a dish.
Our family recipe was plain tofu topped with chopped dried shrimp and ginger, then dressed with black soya sauce and vinegar.
It had no business to taste so good, but it did!
TOFU’s health properties are well-known. It contains high quality vegetable protein, calcium, unsaturated fat and valuable isoflavones that help lower the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
It also lowers rates of breast and prostate cancer and reduces menopausal symptoms including mood swings and hot flushes.
And all this really makes you look at tofu with new respect!
To encourage you further, cold tofu is extremely easy to cook, or rather, not cook. You serve it cold directly from the pack.
Since there is no oil in the dressing, this dish is ideal for weight loss or low fat eating.
The flavour comes from the dried shrimp and the black soya sauce, which is why you should use only the best. A swirl of rice vinegar and chopped fresh ginger gives a lift to the whole.
Cold tofu with dried shrimp and fresh ginger (For 4 as part of a meal)
- 1 pack of silken tofu
- 1 Tbs. dried shrimp
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
- 1 Tbs. dark soya sauce or to taste
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar or to taste
- Remove tofu carefully from the pack so as not to break it and drain on a kitchen towel on a plate in the fridge.
- In the meantime, wash dried shrimp quickly under a tap and chop in a food processor. Do the same with the ginger. This chopped mix makes the topping for the tofu.
- Place drained tofu on a plate. Top with the chopped shrimp and ginger mixture. Drizzle dark soya sauce and rice vinegar over and serve at once garnished, if liked, with fresh coriander leaves and sliced red chilli.
- A versatile dish, you could eat a whole cake to replace a meal if you’re on a diet, or cut it into smaller squares and offer it as a starter to a meal.