This is an updated version of my recipe that I first published in March 2014.
Soft tofu is a very common ingredient in Chinese cuisine. Growing up, I ate countless plates of braised soft tofu, with dried shrimp, green onions, and Mama Lin’s secret brown sauce. I also loved eating soft tofu for dessert. There is a delectable Chinese dessert called doufu hua (豆腐花), which is made only with soft tofu, water and sugar. But it wasn’t until I lived in China years ago, that I started eating soft tofu as a savory appetizer.
As it turns out, these chilled tofu appetizers are common dishes that many restaurants in China serve. Soft tofu is sliced into small planks and topped with a ton of minced garlic and a savory sauce, usually made with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. This dish is so easy to prepare, and I make it often when I just want a light meal.
MASTERING MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Cooking the garlic: To prevent the garlic from burning, I pour hot oil over the minced garlic. Whenever I do it the other way around (adding garlic to the pan of hot oil), I always burn the garlic.
10-Minute Tofu Appetizer
- 1 12-ounce package soft or silken tofu
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil, or any neutral oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, use tamari if gluten free
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 stalk of scallions, finely chopped
- toasted sesame seeds
- Remove the tofu out of the package and drain the water. Slice the tofu into 1/4-inch slices. If you want more bite-sized pieces of tofu, you can chop it into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Place the minced garlic in a small bowl.
- Heat the safflower oil in a small saucepan for about a minute over medium heat. When the oil is hot, turn of the heat. Pour the oil over the garlic. You should be able to hear the garlic sizzle.
- Add the soy sauce (or tamari), rice vinegar, and sesame oil to the garlic oil. Stir to combine.
- Pour some of the garlic sauce onto the tofu. You can use as much of the sauce as you like. Top tofu with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.