Tofu is a versatile ingredient you can enjoy in various ways, including as a cold dish straight out of the refrigerator. This Chinese cold tofu recipe is a perfect appetizer for hot summer days.
The standard way of cooking tofu is steaming, stir-frying, and braising. However, you can also serve tofu straight from the refrigerator as a cold tofu dish. There are many variations of cold tofu dishes throughout Asia, each with unique seasonings and toppings. For example, Korean season it with soy sauce and topped with sesame seeds, green onions, and red pepper flakes. Then, the Japanese cold tofu dish (Hiyayakko), made with silken tofu, is topped with katsuobushi (bonito flakes), green onions, grated ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
I prefer the Cantonese style, which features crispy fried shallots on top of the silky tofu.
1. Cantonese-style cold tofu with crispy shallots
Cold tofu with crispy shallots is a popular recipe in our family, especially when I am busy and looking for a quick meal. Since I always kept some crispy shallots in my kitchen pantry, preparing the cold tofu requires assembling the ingredients by adding the sauce and topping.
I usually use silky soft tofu with a creamy consistency for the best texture, which is perfect for a cold dish. You can choose regular tofu, which is easier to manage but will not deliver silken tofu’s velveting feeling and soft texture.
2. How to remove the silken tofu from the box
Removing the block of tofu from its packaging can be daunting, especially with delicate silken tofu that tends to stick to the plastic box. However, through my experience working in the restaurant over two decades, I have developed two simple methods to remove it effortlessly:
- Remove the plastic sheet that covers the tofu, then place the tofu upside down on a flat plate for 15 minutes. The excess liquid in the tofu will release onto the plate, causing the tofu to shrink and detach from the box, making it easy to slip off.
- If the above method fails, hold the unopened box of tofu upside down, and use a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the box’s four corners. Then run a sharp knife between the tofu block and the base of the box. Then peel off the plastic seal. Finally, overturn the tofu to let it slip from the box onto a plate.
Note: If you are concerned about the safety issue of consuming tofu directly from the packaging, steam it before serving instead of serving it chilled.
3. How to make fried shallot and shallot oil
The crispy shallots and the resulting shallot oil are the most important ingredients in the tofu recipe. I have a separate article about how to prepare it. Meanwhile, let’s show you briefly how to prepare it.
- Begin by cutting the shallots crosswise into rings.
- To ensure maximum surface contact with the oil during frying, loosen up the rings.
- Heat the oil to medium and carefully place the shallot slices into the hot oil. Ensure that there is enough oil to submerge the shallots for even frying. Maintain the temperature at medium heat and allow the shallots to sizzle slowly.
- The shallots are ready when they turn a golden brown color.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the shallots from the oil immediately.
4. How to serve the cold tofu with crispy shallot
I suggest using a high-quality premier-grade light soy sauce, the primary seasoning ingredient. Here are the steps:
- All you need is to mix the light soy sauce and oyster sauce in a small bowl to constitute the sauce. Then, pour the sauce over the tofu block, allowing the excess to flow onto the serving plate.
- Also, drizzle the shallot oil on the tofu.
- Lastly, add your preferred toppings. My favorite classic toppings are crispy fried shallots, thinly sliced spring onions, and fresh red chilies.
This Chinese cold tofu recipe is a simple dish ideal as a side dish. It goes well with other main dishes and can be served in a rice bowl.
5. The spicy cold tofu recipe variation
If you like this Chinese cold tofu recipe, try the spicy Sichuan-style variation, which is perfect for those who prefer spicy food.
Cut the tofu into slices about one cm thick, and arrange it in the serving bowl in a row.
Next, combine the light soy sauce, chili bean paste, and oyster sauce to make the sauce. Then, like Cantonese, drizzle the sauce over the silky tofu. In Sichuan restaurants, the dish is often served with thousand-year-old eggs, which is known as century egg tofu (皮蛋豆腐).
6. Other related tofu recipes
If you like this quick and easy tofu recipe, you will also appreciate other related tofu recipes on this recipe blog. Here are my recommendations:
- Salt and pepper tofu is a simple dish to prepare and burst with flavors from chili, peppercorn, garlic, and ginger. The tofu acts as a blank canvas, soaking up all the delicious seasonings and spices to create a sharp, flavorful taste that will leave your taste buds tingling.
- Guangxi stuffed tofu puffs, also known as “广西釀豆腐卜,” are a popular dish that is stuffed with minced meat and Chinese chives. The unique addition of Chinese chives adds a distinctive flavor that sets it apart from similar dishes.
- Eggplant and tofu are versatile ingredients that can be cooked in various ways. When cooked with Szechuan sauce, which is both spicy and savory, they absorb all the flavors to create a mouthwatering dish.
Chinese cold tofu recipe with secret ingredients (you won’t believe it!)
Try this Chinese cold tofu recipe with soy sauce! It's delicious and perfect for a hot summer day.
- 2 blocks of silken tofu
- 2 tsp shallot oil
- 4 tsp crispy fried shallots
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 fresh red chili
- Hold the unopened box of tofu upside down, and use a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the box's four corners. Then run a sharp knife between the tofu block and the base of the box. Then peel off the plastic seal. Finally, overturn the tofu to let it slip from the box onto a plate.
- Cut the shallots crosswise into rings. Loosen up the rings and deep-fry in oil over medium heat until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shallots from the oil immediately.
- Mix the light soy sauce and oyster sauce in a small bowl. Then, pour the sauce over the tofu block.
- Also, drizzle the shallot oil on the tofu. Top with crispy fried shallots, thinly sliced spring onions, and fresh red chilies to serve.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 415mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 30/4/2023
Monday 1st of May 2023
I have been making this for many years. It is coming into cool weather in SE Queensland, Australia so I probably won’t make this again until about September onwards.
Monday 1st of May 2023
Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.