Contains: Soy, legumes, nightshade seasoning. Is: Quick and easy, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, served room temperature.
I had planned to make a different and pan-fried tofu recipe, but discovered I only had the silken (which I’d bought back when I planned to make Mapo Tofu – but right now I don’t have all the ingredients – which brings me to the fact that most Chinese recipes I’ve seen online use a firm tofu, not the silken – but the dish of Mapo Tofu I had in Flushing, Queens, New York a few years back was definitely made with silken tofu). You should see the other (pan-fried, firm) tofu recipe here later this month. I will go for creating the Mapo Tofu sometime this summer.
I am making a recipe using HALF the block of tofu. You can always double my ingredients and either 1) eat the rest later, or 2) share with a partner, or a friend or two. Perhaps 3) serve it as a snacking side alongside the main course.
The Asian Lunar New Year: This is now the Year of the Ox. Each nation that celebrates it, celebrates in its own way, and from three days to fifteen. The New Year is considered to start with the second new moon after the winter solstice.
China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, (parts of) Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam celebrate the lunar New Year, but in Malaysia and the Philippines it is mostly celebrated by those of Chinese ancestry. If I’ve missed any country, let me know in the replies. (Yes, this month I am including recipes from countries that don’t celebrate the Lunar New Year; i.e., Japan. And the dates for some other southeast Asian countries fall later in the season.)
As with the more Western New Year’s on January 1st, it is a signal to start afresh. People clean their houses, and prepare to celebrate. Usually this time is a date where families travel large distances to be with each other (but this will most certainly be muted here in 2021). Foods associated with luck are commonly served – fish, long noodles (these equate to long life) and so forth.
The Year of the Ox: “It is less known that the Chinese zodiac calendar refreshes every sixty years: the animal years are repeated five times – once for each element (wood, earth, fire, metal, and water). This year is thus the year of the Metal Ox. Oxen are highly valued in Chinese culture for their agricultural role. Those who are born in the year of the Ox are said to have characteristics of trustworthiness, modesty, and determination – almost to the point of stubbornness. Recent birth years of Oxen include 1961, 1973, 1985 and 2009.” – https://blog.linguistica-international.com/chinese-new-year-the-year-of-the-ox-what-does-it-mean-for-you/ In which they mention that some other cultures have differing interpretations of the ox. To carry on with this theme: “The connotations of an ox vary across Eastern cultures. For example: it is common for an ox to appear in Korean proverbs, particularly as an altruistic figure that replicates their real-life role of serving mankind; Buddhists see the ox as a true representation of Buddhist nature as depictions of the ox often display them as struggling to pull themselves (or a cart) down a path that symbolizes religious practices”.
And they conclude regarding 2021, and those born in the Year of the Ox: “Oxen may well feel extra pressure this year in their roles of responsibility. They will need to manifest their naturally calm manner as well as using all available external sources to ensure great success. After such a bleak year, a restrained and apprehensive approach towards the New Year very well might bring great rewards for Oxen that remain true to themselves.”.
I guess we can say, Farewell to the Year of the Rat! (Hopefully. I don’t follow astrology, East or West, but having responsibility and success manifest in our lives is indeed a positive.) And, seriously, there’s no reason you can’t make this time a symbolic way to make things change and be better in your own life!
This recipe comes from: 5-Minute Silken Tofu With Green Onion Couldn’t Be Easier — Garlic Delight. I made a half recipe, and used the pepper flakes rather than the oil.
In any case, for ALL who celebrate – Happy Lunar New Year!
Prep Time: 5 minutes.
Cook Time: None.
Rest Time: 5 minutes.
Serves: 1 or 2, depending upon what with. Best as a side for one.
Leftovers: Yes, possible, but should be eaten shortly.
Chinese Silken Tofu, Simple and Uncooked
- 1/2 block silken tofu, brought to room temperature. (This is approximately 6 ounces / 170 grams, depending on source). Double everything for twice as much…
- 1 – 2 stalks of green onion, chopped thin.
- 1/2 tablespoon tamari sauce – I used low sodium gluten-free.
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil. Mine was a hot sesame oil.
- Chili oil or pepper flakes, to taste. I used the latter, with the Korean variant to hand.
- 1/4 teaspoons or so of toasted sesame seeds.
Remove any liquid, pat relatively dry, and slice the tofu into rectangles.
You can place these on a bed of greens, such as the green parts of baby bok choy, but as I lacked them, I omitted this entirely. Not essential, but I would have preferred it.
Scatter everything over the top to cover.
Allow to sit for around 5 minutes, then eat. Silken tofu does not eat well with chopsticks; you will need a spoon. Feel free to mash the tofu around a bit – this improves the seasoning capability here.
The spiciness works well with this – without it, this dish would be terribly bland. The sesame oil was also appreciated.