Spicy Tofu Salad

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

I love the texture of this pressed tofu with the sour fruitiness the tamarind gives the dressing. It’s perfect with a big spoonful of steamed rice.

You can be very precise when cutting the vegetables for this salad, or much more rustic. I like to add some chopped cooked king prawns to this dish — if you want to jazz it up, some white-cut chicken, or a prawn and chicken combination would be great as well.


  • 150 g ( oz) marinated pressed tofu, cut into 6 even pieces
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 small Lebanese (short) cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1 small carrot, cut into julienne
  • 100 g ( oz) bean sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and crushed


  • 3 long red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 red shallots, chopped
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons grated palm sugar (jaggery)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • tablespoons tamarind water


To make the dressing, pound the chillies, shallots and sea salt to a paste in a mortar with a pestle. Add the peanuts and continue to pound until smooth. Add the palm sugar, soy sauce, tamarind water and 2 tablespoons water, mix well and check for balance.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until just smoking (180°C/350°F). Dry the tofu with paper towel and then deep-fry for 1–2 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and leave to cool.

Toss together the cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, peanuts and tofu in a bowl. Add the dressing and toss again before serving.