Shredded Tofu Salad

Shredded Tofu Salad

When you think of Chinese food, you don’t usually think of cold or raw vegetable salads. That’s because most of what the world is familiar with is southern Chinese food – predominantly Cantonese cuisine, where vegetables are always cooked, either by blanching or stir-frying.

Shredded Tofu Salad

However, in northern China, you will find many varieties of cold salads. My favourite when I lived there was a raw shredded cabbage salad with thin slices of jellyfish (and sometimes shredded chicken too), tossed in a vinegar sauce. It’s a simple dish, but so delicious and refreshing.

Another popular cold dish is Shredded Tofu Salad (凉拌豆腐丝 liángbàn dòufu), which is one of my favourites, although I never thought of making it at home. That’s until I came across a 2-for-1 promotion at the Asian supermarket across the street from me, and I bought 2 packs of dried bean curd (tofu) strips.

Shredded Tofu Salad

This is a tasty, quick and easy recipe that’s great when you’re short on time but still want a healthy, protein-packed meal. It’s like eating low-carb, gluten-free noodles! The sauce can actually be made ahead of time and refrigerated. You can also add a bit more or less cucumber and carrots, depending on your preference. Of course, fresh tofu strips can be used too. I would still suggest blanching it for a few seconds before preparing the salad.

Shredded Tofu Salad

Did you make this recipe?

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170g dried (or 400g fresh) bean curd/tofu strips 
1/2 a small cucumber, julienned
1 small carrot, julienned
3 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped and divided
2/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
3 to 3-1/2 teaspoons chilli powder
6 to 7 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 teaspoon sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-3/4 tablespoons Zhenjiang/Chinkiang vinegar (镇江香醋)


1. First prepare the sauce by combining the chillies, garlic, half the cilantro, salt, sesame seeds and chilli powder in a small heat-proof bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then pour the hot oil into the bowl of ingredients. Add sugar, soy sauce and vinegar. Mix well. Set aside.

3. Boil some water in a large pot, and blanch the dried tofu strips for about 2 minutes, until softened (if using fresh tofu strips, blanch it for just a few seconds).

4. Remove tofu strips to a colander. Run it under cold water, and drain well.

5. Transfer tofu strips to a large bowl. Add in the cucumber, carrot and remaining cilantro. Pour the prepared sauce over. Mix well and enjoy!


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