Monday, 16 January 2012

revolutionary tofu

At my workplace we have some very traditional food coming out of the kitchen, traditional in the sense of since the Cultural Revolution. A lot of the dishes we eat at work became common during the CR because they're fast, simple and nutritious, making use of the ingredients to hand and the conditions available. I plan to make a whole blog post about the food that gets dished up in the work cafeteria, which has been integral to introducing me to a whole lot of Northern Chinese food that I'm just completely unfamiliar with (being familially from a Southern province; and worse, being more immediately South-East Asian).

I've become a bit obsessed with this tofu dish, which made an appearance on my first trip to the cafeteria. I eagerly look forward to each reappearance, and finally I gave it a go recently. It's so simple it doesn't need a recipe, though I found a reference to it in The Cultural Revolution Cookbook, a cookbook I would seriously consider buying except it's still got a whole lot of meat in it.

cr tofus

sesame tofu with spring onion
recipe helped by the cultural revolution cookbook

This makes a great side dish or salad to a flavoursome meal. I've been eating it in winter but look forward to serving it as a summer salad. I know it sounds plain and boring (and the picture doesn't help) but the sesame oil does something magical to the tofu that makes it very moreish. You may want to adjust the amount of sesame oil you use depending on your tastes, and you could also sprinkle some sesame seeds on the top.

1 x 300g block of firm tofu
1 or 2 stems of spring onion
2 teaspoons sesame oil

method: In the microwave, heat the tofu whole (and drained and rinsed) until it's pleasantly warm to the touch; should need no longer than a minute. Alternatively, soak the tofu in hot water for a minute or two. In the meantime, slice the spring onion small and on an angle, along the bias. Use the green and the white parts! Combine the sesame oil, spring onions and salt. Dice the tofu into chunks about half an inch across, and mix the oil through a little roughly - the tofu can break apart somewhat. Serve warm.


leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Nice and simple! Seems like it might be quite nice as a cool dish as well.

em said...

One day while still in RMIT, I craved for tofu so much that I bought a block from the Indon grocer @ Barkly Square, microwaved it on campus in my own container, and ate it with one soy sauce fishie from the cafeteria. I would have doused it in sesame oil if there was a sesame oil fishie too. :p

steph said...

@leaf - i like it as a 'room temperature' dish, though i'm intrigued about serving it chilled.

@ em yesssssssss soy sauce fishies make everything better.