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[Photograph: Maren Caruso]

For those not familiar with the versatility of bean curd, Andrea Nguyen's is the best kind of eye opener. With recipes like this White Tofu, Sesame, and Vegetable Salad, she eases readers into the realization that tofu is not just a pallid meat replacer. Instead it's an ingredient to be embraced, worked into all sorts of varied dishes, acting as everything from the main event to a base for an intriguing salad dressing.

Known as Shira-ae in Japan, this salad of crisp blanched green beans is dressed with a purée of firm tofu, toasted sesame seeds, umami-packed soy and dashi, and enough sugar to give it a pleasant underlying sweetness.

Nguyen prefers to keep her salad simple but we can't help wanting to try out this toasty, creamy dressing with all sorts of vegetables, especially spring asparagus, crisp radishes, or even fennel.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 'Asian Tofu' to give away.

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