凉拌菜 - literally means cold-mix dish, and they are very popular in the summer. They are normally appetisers consisting of blanched vegetables or cooked meat, which are mixed together with nuts and herbs, to be served at room temperature. Both jellyfish with sesame oil and "bang bang chicken" are types of 凉拌菜.
Soft tofu is perfect for making these cold starters. It can taste great by just adding ingredients as simple as chopped preserved vegetables, spring onion, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and sesame oil. I am using century egg as the main topping in this recipe, and adding extra crunch with some celery. Soft tofu generally does not require cooking, but I would always blanch it whole in hot water for a few minutes before using it. You can also steam it.
Tofu with century egg
1 Century egg
300g Silky soft tofu
1 stalk of celery, cut into short and thin strips
A couple of Celery leaves
1 stalk of Spring onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp Toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Sesame oil
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
Remove shell of the century egg, and then cut it into 8 segments. Place tofu on a serving plate. Carefully arrange 6 segments of the egg on top of the tofu. Chop the rest of the egg into small pieces.
Place the celery on top, followed by the chopped century eggs and sesame seeds. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, and then sprinkle the spring onion and celery leaves to decorate. Heat vegetable oil over a high heat, and then add a splash to finish.
Spicy version: Add 1 tsp ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns and 1 chopped red chilli on top of the century egg. Add 1 tsp of chilli oil together with the soy sauce and sesame oil for extra heat.