Soft tofu is chilled, drained, then dressed with a beguiling green oil fragrant with fried coriander leaves. It makes for an utterly refreshing starter to an Asian meal. Some recipe tips: it is important to heat the oil to smoking point before frying the herb to ensure a crisp finish. The herb oil can be made in advance and stored in the fridge till needed. I do this as a matter of course for leftover coriander leaves. The oil can also be used to flavour fish or pork.
Recipe serves 8
Preparation time: 2 hours + 10 minutes
Cooking time:5 minutes
3 cakes of soft tofu
1 large bunch coriander leaves, chopped
½ cup vegetable oil
1½ teaspoons salt
1. Remove tofu cakes from packet and leave for a few hours on kitchen towels on a plate in the fridge to drain.
2. In the meantime, make the coriander oil by heating the oil in a wok. When smoking, fry chopped coriander leaves till they begin to crisp up. It should not take more than a few minutes if the oil has been heated well.
3. Add salt to the leaves to season.
4. Remove crisped leaves and oil, which is now full of flavour, from wok and leave aside to cool.
5. When ready to serve, place cold tofu on a plate and top with the chopped herb and oil.
Food writer and author of eight cookbooks – ‘Mad, Madder and Maddest About Food’, ‘Home Cooking’, ‘Singapore Heritage Food’, ‘Taste, Eat to Live’ and ‘Modern Nonya’ – Sylvia Tan has covered every cuisine, from home-cooked Singapore food and healthy Asian to Peranakan cooking. Her column ‘Eat to Live’ in The Straits Times newspaper focuses on healthy cooking. A former deputy news editor for The Straits Times, she is frequently called upon to write and gives talks on Singapore food heritage. She is now a freelancer.