Nyonya-Style Tofu Salad

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

I love this dressing and often build salads on these foundations, adding prawns or some boiled pork or barbecued quail. It’s also great on just lettuce or, for that matter, anything you want to put it on. The two main ingredients of this chapter come together in this dish. The boiled egg should be firm as it plays an important part in the texture. This salad is also nice with some julienne of carrot thrown in or daikon radish or bean sprouts.

Look for the balance in this dressing — you have hot, sour, salty and sweet all working together here.


  • 150 g ( oz) firm tofu, cut into 1 cm (½ inch) cubes
  • 1 free-range or organic egg
  • 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthways, deseeded and finely sliced on the diagonal
  • ½ long red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 spring onion (scallion), sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis
  • ½ teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chilli oil


To make the dressing, pound the shrimp in a mortar with a pestle until fine. Mix together the ground shrimp, kecap manis, sugar, ginger, peanut oil, vinegar, sesame oil and chilli oil, along with the tofu and set aside for the flavours to mingle.

Cook the egg in boiling water for 8 minutes. Drain and run under cold water, then peel and quarter lengthways.

Arrange the cucumber slices and egg over a serving plate. Spoon the tofu and the dressing over the top, sprinkle with the chilli and spring onion and give it a good grind of pepper to serve.