Ying's ideas of easy Chinese home-cooking

Celery and Extra FirmTofu Salad

芹菜拌香干

Usually during winter I would make stewed or braised meat or fish dishes with rich seasoning. But I would always prepare some veggie sidedishes. Sometimes I would fry vegetables with garlic or ginger, such as Bak Choy, sometimes I would make salads or light pickles. I would introduce some of them.

In this tofu recipe, you would need five-spices tofu. It’s rubbery and tastes spicy and salty. It doesn’t need cooking, only needs slicing and it’s good to fry or toss. If you can’t obtain this tofu or you don’t like its texture, you could make similar tofu with my recipe below.

Ingredients –
Extra firm tofu, 2 big pieces. Or two pieces of five-spices firm tofu;
Celery, half, similar amount as tofu;
Your old marinade, or bottled marinade sauce;
Salt;
Sugar;
Sesame oil;
Toasted sesame seeds;
Paprika or red chili flakes, optional.

How to do –
1. If you use five-spices firm tofu, then skip the following 3 steps. If you don’t, then follow Step 2, 3 and 4 for how to marinade tofu;

2. Take out the old marinade from your freezer and defrost. Don’t be confused. I mentioned many times that you must keep the old marinade that you used for marinade beef or egg in my previous recipes. Anyway, don’t worry if you don’t have that, just use the bottled Five Spices marinade sauce in Asian grocery store;

3. In a saucepan, put in the marinade and the tofu, bring to boil and simmer for five minutes;
4. Cool it down, put in a food box and store in fridge overnight;

5. Take out the tofu from fridge and cut into thick slices, about 2 to 3 millimeter;
6. I would like to pan-fry them double-sided till golden brown but it’s really optional. They are delicious without cooking;

7. Cut the celery into stick, similar size as the tofu slices;
8. Celery can be eaten raw but I would like it poached in water for a few minutes with a generous pinch of salt;

9. In a big mixing bowl, add in the tofu and celery. Season with 1tsp of salt, 1tsp of sugar, 1tsp of paprika or red chili flakes, 3tbsp of sesame oil and a generous pinch of toasted sesame seeds, I use both white and black ones;

10. Mix all gently with mixing spoon or toss them so that all seasoning ingredients coating evenly. If you find it difficult, put them in a big food box, lid on and shake gently;

11. It could be served warm and cold. I usually prepare a big amount, enough for 2 to 3 days. Don’t forget to store it in fridge.

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