QUICK DISH / VEGAN / GLUTEN-FREE
April 12th, 2021
A slight twist on the classic Chinese homestyle spinach salad; the shredded tofu skin brings an interesting texture and a subtle aroma to this healthy and tasty side dish.
Tofu Skin: Tofu skin is commonly used in vegetable salad and soups in Chinese and Japanese cooking to add texture and volume. Since tofu skin doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own (apart from a very subtle cooked soy bean aroma), you can add it to almost anything, as long as there is plenty dressing or cooking liquid to flavor it.
Like fresh tofu, tofu skin is a minimally processed soy product (I will write a post about it shortly). You can buy fresh or dried tofu skin at most Asian supermarkets. For this recipe I used dried tofu skin rolls. Rehydrate the dried tofu skin in lukewarm water for a few minutes before using.
Spinach: Use whole spinach sold in bunches for this recipe. When whole spinach are blanched, the loss of water-soluble nutrients is negligible. Blanched spinach will be free of the harsh taste and bitterness of raw spinach, but retain the tenderness, color and volume. It is an entirely different story when blanching shredded spinach or spinach leaves sold in bags – the cut off point of every single stem and leaf will be leaching the natural juice and nutrients, and the spinach is likely to be reduced to an unappetizing mush.
SPINACH AND TOFU SKIN SALAD
VEGAN / GLUTEN-FREE
MAKE 2 servings PREP: 5 min BLANCHING: 2 min
- 200g whole spinach, washed
- 1 large or a few small sheets of rehydrated tofu skin
- For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp each of extra virgin olive oil,
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp peanut butter or Tahini (optional)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds
- salt to taste if necessary
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil on high heat. Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of warm water if needed to help thinning the peanut butter or tahini.
- Drop half of the spinach, stems in first, into the boiling water and push the whole spinach under the water. Stir a few times until the stems are soft and bright green, about 1 minute. Immediately transfer the spinach into a large bowl fill with cold water to cool. Repeat the process to blanch the rest of the spinach. Drain the spinach, gently squeeze out excessive amount of water with your hands if needed.
- Transfer the spinach onto a chopping board, cut a few times to break the long stems. Shred the tofu skin. Transfer all the ingredients into a salad bowl, mix and serve.
- If you don’t have toasted sesame seeds and need to toast a small amount for this recipe, just heat a pan (the heavier the pan the better), then add raw sesame seeds, toss constantly until some of the seeds turns golden, about 15 to 30 seconds. Immediately transfer to a bowl and let cool.