Silken Tofu with Soy Sauce and Chili Oil

[Photograph: Chichi Wang]

Note: Zha cai, pickled Sichuan mustard root, can be found in most Asian grocers either sold in bulk in the refrigerated section, or canned. Unused zha cai can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

About the author: Born in Shanghai and raised in New Mexico, Chichi Wang currently resides in Manhattan, where she divides her time between writing, cooking, and tracking down the best noodles in the city. Visit her blog, Mostly Tripe.

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Silken Tofu with Soy Sauce and Chili Oil

About This Recipe

Yield:4 as an appetizer, or 2 as a main course in a light meal
Active time:10 minutes
Total time:15 minutes
Special equipment:2 quart saute pan
This recipe appears in: Chichi's Chinese: Silken Tofu with Chili Oil


  • 1 (12-ounce) block silken tofu
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chili oil, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil, or to taste
  • About 3 tablespoons minced zha cai (see note above)
  • Chopped scallions and cilantro to garnish


  1. 1

    Bring a pot of water to boil. Gently add the block of silken tofu to the water and simmer until the tofu is warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the tofu.

  2. 2

    Scooping up rough slabs of the block with a spoon, divide the tofu evenly between 2 bowls, or among 4 if you are serving as an appetizer. Drizzle each portion of tofu with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon chili oil, and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil. Top with minced zha cai, scallions, and cilantro. Serve immediately.


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