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Tuck Into a Comforting Bowl of Spicy, Silken Tofu

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Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This one comes from Abra Bennett, who created it in the spirit of eating more meatless meals.


Call me blasphemous, but the last thing I want to eat in January is salad. I understand the desire to set a new path after holiday overindulgence, but with record low temperatures outside, I want to light a bit of a fire in my belly, not eat bowlfuls of chilly greens.

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Luckily, Abra Bennett’s Silken Comfort Tofu is just right for a cold winter’s night and suitable for sticking to lighter dishes (and is a great Meatless Monday contender if that’s your thing).

New year, new tofu—er, you.
New year, new tofu—er, you. Photo by Bobbi Lin

We first featured this recipe eight years ago, when Jennifer Steinhauer (a.k.a Jenny, a.k.a. Jestei) wrote about the dish’s ability to convert tofu skeptics. It was time to visit it again, because reviewers call it “spectacular” and “truly amazing,” and don’t we all need more fantastic dishes to get us through January?

As Steinhauer noted, don't be discouraged if you don’t have all the ingredients exactly as written, the dish will be delicious regardless. For example, in the photo above, we added some shelled edamame for a little color, and copied AntoniaJames's tip of adding a splash of brown rice vinegar—so feel free to make this dish your own. The only non-negotiable is the Chinese peanut oil. As Abra Bennett explains:

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Chinese peanut oil (I like the Lion and Globe brand) actually tastes and smells like peanuts, unlike "regular" peanut oil that's quite neutral, which is why I specify the Chinese stuff for this recipe.

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Silken Comfort Tofu

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Serves 2, as a main course
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil, Chinese if possible
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chili-garlic sauce
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 pound silken tofu, cubed
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup basil chiffonade, use Thai basil if possible
  • chili oil for drizzling
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Do you have a favorite recipe in our archives that you think deserves a turn in the spotlight? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Community, Heirloom Recipes, Tofu