Asian vegetarian Tofu Ribbon Salad
The first time I had this dish was in London. I was wandering around China Town looking for a quick fix of Asian food. I ended up in Baozi Inn, which is a simple café on the edges of China Town offering Northern Chinese food. I ordered some Baozi. These soft white buns are filled with meat and then steamed. As a side dish I ordered Tofu sliver salad. I was extremely curious to try the salad, as I never had it before and I love trying new things. It turned out to be strips of tofu “skin” mixed with strips of carrots and cucumbers in a deliciously, garlicky sesame oil dressing. I was hooked!!! Unfortunately I could not find this dish here in Barcelona, so I decided that I needed to recreate this food experience.
I was searching the Asian food shops here on the look out for tofu products. I came across all sorts of soy bean products. The usual soft, firm, smoked tofus, fried tofu sponges, marinated flat tofu… But then I found the real thing sheets of of tofu skin.When soy milk is being boiled, a skin forms on the surface. These skins are then collected and dried. It can be used fresh, dried or fermented.
It seems there are many varieties around. The Japanese call these sheets Yuba.Other terms are: QianZhang Tofu, Dou Pi or Fuzhu Tofu. Some are transparent, crinkled sheets, some are more like sticks. What I found in Barcelona are some kind of dried sheets, but not totally dried. They come in the refrigerator section and are soft sheets which look like filo sheets but are thicker and not so dry. They need some some soaking in water and boiling before further usage, to soften them first.
Afterward you can cut the sheets in to ribbons like Pasta. You can use these soja ribbons like Pasta in stir-fries or any other way you like. The sky is the limit! For more information check out this link. http://food.chinahelps.com/590
Tofu Skin Salad with a Sesame and Soy Sauce dressing
Preparation time: 30 minutes serves 4 as a side dish
200 g tofu Skin Sheets
200 g carrots, cut into fine strips
200 g cucumber
5 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar (white or dark)
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sesame paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tbsp ginger, grated
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 pieces spring onions cut into fine circles
If the Tofu Skin sheets are very large (27x 36 cm) then cut them into 4 squares. Put 2 squares on top of each other and roll them up. Cut the rolls with a knife into very fine ribbons (like pasta).
Put the tofu skin ribbons into boiling, salted water and “cook” for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
In the meantime cut the carrots into very fine strips of ca. 4-5cm length. Cut the cucumber in half and take out the seeds in the middle. Then cut the cucumber also into very fine strips.
Blanch the carrot strips for max. 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water.
For the dressing mix the vinegar with the sugar untill dissolved. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix all well untill you have a smooth dressing.
Mix the tofu skin ribbons with the vegetable strips and the dressing. Marinate For about ½ hour before serving. (marinated longer, tastes even better) Sprinkle with sesame seeds and spring onions.