Here's a vegan tofu salad I made today with green beans and some leftover fried tofu that had been sitting in the fridge since yesterday. It's a very simple dish but it tasted so good, I thought I would share.
A few years ago (in a past job) I was lucky enough to spend some time on an extended assignment in Kuala Lumpur. As a vegetarian in Malaysia, I quickly came to love a Malaysian dish called Tahu Goreng. This is a gorgeous salad which traditionally features cucumber, beansprouts and fried tofu with a spicy peanut sauce.
Of course, I didn't have most of this to hand today but I did have the fried tofu and enough ingredients for a good peanut sauce. I lightly steamed some green beans and combined these with the tofu and some sliced spring onions. The result was addictive. My tofu salad didn't last long...
This is enough for lunch for 2.
450g/1 pound of tofu
cornstarch or cornflour to coat
peanut or sunflower oil for frying
100g/½ cup of peanut butter
125mls/½ cup of water
2 fresh red chillis, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
3 cloves of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of soy sauce, preferably Kecap Manis
a good handful of green beans, about 100g or 2/3 of a cup
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
Cut the tofu into medium sized rectangles and toss in cornflour or cornstarch to coat. Next heat a thin layer of oil in a pan or skillet and when it is good and hot, carefully drop in the tofu. Fry for a few minutes, turning regularly until golden brown. Remove from the pan, drain on paper towels and allow to cool.
For authentic Tahu Goreng, the tofu is deep fried but I didn't do this. In fact, I had fried my tofu the day before which made this dish extra quick and easy. Fried tofu does keep very well so it is worth frying up some extra whenever you cook it. Alternatively, Asian supermarkets often sell pre-fried tofu which is another easy option. (Read more detailed frying instructions if you are not used to cooking tofu.)
Trim the green beans and cut them in half. Steam them for about 5 minutes until they are cooked but still nicely firm. I use a simple inexpensive silicone steamer for cooking small amounts of vegetables like this because it's quick, convenient and preserves the colour, texture and nutrients so well. When the green beans are cooked, quickly rinse them under cold running water to cool. Set aside.
Next make the sauce. Put the peanut butter, water, chilli, brown sugar, garlic, kecap manis and rice vinegar in a small pot and set over a low heat. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Keep the heat low - hot bubbling peanut butter can be a bit hazardous! Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Mix the tofu, green beans and spring onions together in a bowl. Spoon over some peanut sauce or serve the sauce separately in a small bowl. The sauce will be quite thick. That's ok. It is very much a sauce rather than a thin Western style dressing.