Steamed silken tofu with black vinegar and chilli oil

Serve this tofu dish hot or cold.
Serve this tofu dish hot or cold. Photo: William Meppem

I love silken tofu: the texture is sublime warm or cold, and this dish works well served either way. Add a steamed fish, some rice and greens and you’ve got a great shared meal. As a bonus, this recipe’s sauce is very adaptable and equally delicious poured over a juicy grilled steak.


250g silken tofu

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 spring onion, finely chopped

4 pieces fresh cloud ear fungus*

4 tbsp pickled mustard greens*

3 tbsp shaoxing wine

4 tbsp fresh chicken stock

2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp palm sugar

1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced

60ml (¼ cup) chilli oil

pinch of roasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns


1. Cut the tofu into quarters, then transfer them carefully to a plate. Put the plate into a steamer over rapidly boiling water for 6 minutes, or until the tofu is heated through.

2. While the tofu pieces are steaming, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a wok until just smoking, then add the garlic, ginger, shallot, fungus and mustard greens and stir-fry until fragrant. Pour in the shaoxing, stock, Chinkiang vinegar, oyster sauce and palm sugar. Boil until the sauce is smooth and shiny, about 3-5 minutes. At the last moment, add the cucumber slices.

3. Pour the hot sauce over the tofu, drizzle over the chilli oil and finish with a sprinkle of Sichuan pepper. Serve immediately.