This simple dish is so delicious as part of a shared meal, served with steamed rice and boiled Chinese broccoli. In this recipe, I've used soft tofu which is quite a bit firmer than silken, giving it more bite and textural match with the scallops. To make it vegetarian, just use tofu – I'd opt for silken if going meat-free – or steamed eggplant or zucchini strips. For a nice finish, add a sprinkle of ground roasted Sichuan pepper.
300g soft tofu
6 sea scallops
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp chilli oil
1 tbsp preserved radish*, finely chopped
1 tbsp preserved mustard greens*, finely chopped
2 tbsp fried peanuts, slightly crushed
2 spring onions, finely sliced in rounds
boiled Chinese broccoli, to serve
1. Cut the block of tofu lengthways into thirds, across 4 times, then cut it in half through the middle. You should now have 2cm cubes.
2. Arrange the tofu and scallops on a plate that will fit into a large steamer, and steam over boiling water for 5 minutes until the scallops are just cooking through and the tofu warm. Don't overcook the scallops.
3. Combine the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli oil and preserved vegetables in a small bowl.
4. Arrange the tofu on a plate and top with scallops, then pour dressing over. Sprinkle the peanut and spring onion over the top, and garnish with coriander sprigs. Serve immediately with steamed rice and boiled Chinese brocolli.
*Available in Asian grocery shops.
Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.