No cooking is involved, and only about ten ingredients are needed for this spicy cold tofu dish. It is a delicious addition to any Chinese meal (or have it as a quick meal on its own).
This recipe’s no-cook nature makes it particularly well-suited to the warmer months, though it can be enjoyed at any time of year. Thousand-year-old eggs, also called century eggs, are a traditional ingredient in this dish, but feel free to omit them if you don’t like the taste, can’t find them, or want to keep the recipe vegan.
What About Those Century Eggs?
They can be ignored if you don’t want them to. But it’s highly suggested! If they were omitted, the dish would be known as “cold-tossed tofu” (liángbàn dòufu). Tofu is added to the dish, giving it the name “century egg tofu” (pídàn dòufu).
Since adding eggs greatly enhances the dish’s flavor, we recently re-photographed the recipes to reflect this change.
There’s no such thing as a thousand-year-old egg, also known as a century egg. For weeks or months, they are stored in a mixture of clay, ash, and salt, which causes the egg white to turn a dark brown (almost black) color and the yolk to turn a greenish-gray color and a super creamy texture.
This dish, then, serves admirably as an introduction to the century egg. It has the flavor of eggs. To emphasize the egginess even more! However, the fluffy white and silky yolk make this egg so unique (which is now, uh, brown). The flavor has a touch of… let’s say, ripeness. Similar to the slightly sour aftertaste of a mild cheese-like brie.
The spicy flavors of the sauce pair wonderfully with the mild tofu and make for a delicious dish.
Use the tofu in the recipe if all this sounds too complicated or not to your liking. We can guarantee that it will taste great. But if you’re willing to give anything a shot, pídàn dòufu is worth a shot. While we used two eggs, you could certainly start with just one.
All right, are you prepared to make magic out of a block of soy milk that has coagulated? OK, let’s get to it.
- 1 pound silken tofu (or soft tofu)
- 1-2 peeled and cut into small wedges century eggs (optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons of scallion (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro and/or Thai basil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of spicy bean paste
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- Mix the bean paste, sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce in a small bowl. You should put in a third of the garlic and a third of the scallions. Combine everything in one big bowl.
- Extract the silken tofu from the packaging with care. To remove the tofu from the packaging, first, use a knife to cut through the plastic encasing it. Finally, invert it onto the serving bowl. The tofu should be cut into crosswise slices about 1/2 an inch (1.2 cm) thick. If you’re using it, put the century egg in a pretty pattern around the tofu.
- Sprinkle the remaining garlic and scallions over the top of the tofu and drizzle with the sauce. Chopped cilantro and/or Thai basil would be great as a garnish.
- At the table, mix the ingredients together.