Celery and Pressed Beancurd Salad

This is a simple cold dish that is quick to put together for an extra side dish or take along for a picnic.

Pressed beancurd, called doufu gan (sort of translates into “tofu jerky!”) is literally tofu that has been pressed to squeeze out excess moisture. The result is a firmer texture that some people compare to meat, although the flavor is of course different. Pressed tofu comes in a variety of flavors – for this dish you can play around with the flavors, but plain is the most common type used. You can easily substitute baked tofu, now readily available in most conventional markets, for this ingredient.

ingredients:

  • 6 large stalks celery
  • 1 square pressed beancurd (or baked tofu)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste

dressing:

  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil

method:

  1. While you prepare the celery and beancurd, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Wash and pat the celery dry; slice thinly on the diagonal or cut into strips (1/8×1/8×2 inches).
  3. Slice the beancurd approximately 1/8″ thick, then cut the slices into strips (1/8×1/8×2 inches.)
  4. Blanch and shock the celery for 1 m (shreds) – 2 m (diagonal slices). It should still be very crunchy.
  5. Combine the celery, beancurd, and salt in a bowl and allow to rest until 10 m before serving.
  6. Drain the accumulated liquid, add the dressing ingredients, and mix gently.
  7. Adjust seasoning and serve.

do ahead:

You can prepare the recipe through step 5 up to one day ahead of time. Keep the bowl in the refrigerator until you’re ready to drain the liquid and mix in the dressing.

variations:

Chinese home cooks will often add some rehydrated dried shrimp to add a seafood flavor – if you would like to try this, rehydrate the shrimp in hot water until soft, then drain and cut into small dice before adding.

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