Now that it’s getting closer to summer, one of the easiest dishes you can make is cold tofu.
You don’t even have to cook. Just grab stuff from your fridge.
The Japanese version is called hiyayakko (冷奴) and the Chinese version is called liang ban tofu (凉拌豆腐). Same thing.
Get some good tofu
What type? Silken tofu.
- Look for silken tofu! You want the softest, creamiest, most delicate tofu.
- I recommend checking out a local Asian store.
- I’ve looked at Trader Joe’s, Kroger, etc. and the ones here in Richmond either don’t carry silken tofu or have some weird non-Asian brand where the texture is completely off.
Common US Asian Mart tofu brands
- I’ve tried Hong Kong tofu, Chinese tofu, Korean tofu, Japanese tofu and definitely the best is Japanese Morinu tofu.
- Morinu silken tofu had this super creamy texture that we really liked.
- It also comes in this paper carton which means that it comes out as a perfect block vs. all the plastic container ones being molded into the shape of the container.
- Otherwise, House Foods (Chinese) or any of the Korean ones are good.
- These should all be in the $1–2 range. Tofu’s cheap.
So first off, you can do whatever you want! I watched some Japanese YouTube videos and there were some pretty crazy combinations. So you’re allowed to go crazy too.
Some ones I’ve made or tried:
Her Name is Han’s Black Sesame Tofu
Okay this is what started it all. Pulkit and I went to Her Name is Han in NYC in 2019 or something and their cold tofu was so good. (Their lunch tray thing and the kiwi sowuju and pretty much everything there is good btw — would highly recommend!)
- “Black sesame dressing” — you can just use normal tahini /sesame paste + soy sauce + water to thin it down so it coats the tofu nicely.
- When we got it, it had fried shallots or something on top. Pictured are fried parsnip and beet.
Simple Japanese Hiyayakko
- Soy sauce
- Water to thin out your soy sauce (you can do just soy sauce which is delicious but you’ll be really thirsty afterwards haha)
- Sesame oil for that fragrance. Just a touch though.
- Grated ginger if you have ginger and like ginger
Spicy Liang Ban Tofu
- Doubanjiang (Chinese spicy bean paste — it’s pretty salty/concentrated so don’t use too much)
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Homemade chili oil
- In retrospect, should have thinned it out with some water but it’s whatever