This spicy cold tofu dish is a Chinese supper staple, with fewer than ten ingredients and zero cooking time. It’s perfect for a quick meal on its own or as part of a larger spread.
Due to the lack of cooking, this dish is best served warmly but is delicious year-round. Thousand-year-old eggs, also known as century eggs, are a traditional element in the dish, but you can omit them if you don’t like them, can’t find them, or want to keep the recipe vegan.
Because it doesn’t call for any actual cooking on my part, I’ve been making this a lot in my college apartment. Tofu and scallions may be found in the refrigerator, while garlic and scallions could be stolen from the common kitchen area.
About the Century Eggs…
They are optional. Still, you should check it out. For the sake of brevity, let’s call this meal liángbàn dufu, or “cold-tossed tofu,” without the scallions and chives. When prepared with them, the dish is referred to as (pdàn dufu), or “century egg tofu.”
There’s no such thing as a thousand-year-old egg, sometimes known as a century egg. The whites turn a dark brown (nearly black) color after being stored in a clay, ash, and salt combination for a few weeks or months, while the yolks turn a greenish-gray color and maintain a highly creamy texture.
Therefore, this dish is a great place to start if you’ve never had a century egg. Like an egg. Eggier, if you will. But what sets this egg apart is its nearly bouncing white and smooth yolk (which is now brown). The flavor has a touch of… let’s say, ripeness. Very similar to the somewhat ammoniac aroma of a mild cheese like brie.
The spicy sauce complements the mild tofu beautifully.
Forget about me, and just use tofu in the recipe if all this sounds too complicated or not to your liking. It’ll turn out quite tasty. You should give pdàn dûfu a shot if you’re willing to give anything a shot at least once. To ease into it, we used two eggs, but you could start with only one.
- 1 pound of silken tofu (or soft tofu)
- 1-2 century eggs (peeled and cut into small wedges, optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons of scallion (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of spicy bean paste
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- Combine the bean paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir in a third of the minced garlic and a third of the scallions. Integrate everything together.
- Silken tofu needs to be handled with care as it is unwrapped. The plastic wrap must be cut away from the tofu before the block can be removed from the packaging. When ready to serve, flip it over onto a bowl. Cut the tofu into crosswise slices about 1/2 inch (1.2cm) thick. If you’re using it, put the century egg in a pretty pattern around the tofu.
- Put the tofu on a plate, drizzle the sauce over it, and then sprinkle the remaining garlic and scallion. To dress it up, sprinkle on some chopped cilantro and/or Thai basil. Mix it everything together at the table, then dig in!