Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chiles

This silken tofu with pine nuts and pickled chiles is an umami-rich appetizer that juxtaposes creamy tofu with a tangy dipping sauce, toasted pine nuts, and the warmth of chile peppers.

A piece of silken tofu with pine nuts and pickled chiles topped with cilantro in a blue ceramic bowl.

This recipe is loosely based on a memorable encounter I had with a silken tofu dish at a restaurant called My Neighbours the Dumplings in east London. The fragility of the tofu contrasted wonderfully with a brute of a dressing: hot and sour with pickled chiles, salty with soy, and crunchy with toasted pine nuts.–Meera Sodha

What is silken tofu?

Silken tofu is so named because it is passed through silk and is the most delicate of all the tofus, both in flavor and texture. Buy fresh silken tofu if you can, but if you can only find shelf-stable tofu, make sure you cut carefully along the edges of the carton and open the pack gently so as not to break it up.

Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chiles

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 2 to 4
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Remove the tofu from its packaging, place it on a plate, and let it rest for 10 minutes or so. Then tip the plate to let the water drain away. Place the drained tofu on a plate with a lip, as things are about to get saucy.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, agave syrup, and hot water.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the oil and, when hot, add the scallions, pine nuts, and pickled chile peppers. Cook, stirring every now and then, for 2 minutes. You may need to reduce the heat to avoid burning the mixture.

Very carefully and standing back, tip the hot pine nut mixture into the sesame oil mixture and add the cilantro. Mix well.

Pour the dressing over the tofu and serve.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Finally, a tofu dish with flavor! This dish was packed with so many beautiful and savory flavors! The combination of the white wine vinegar, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil gave this dish such a flavorful, tangy, smoky, and savory flavor! The peppers weren’t overpowering at all and give a subtle punch of heat to the dish. The toasted pine nuts gave an extra added punch of smokiness. The added cilantro and scallions also gave a hint of earthy flavor. Umami party for sure in your mouth!

And the final presentation of the dish itself was so beautiful and pleasing to the eye!

I bought Organic Tofu Silken from Nasoya. I couldn’t find pickled chile peppers so I used 2 pepperoncini peppers from the brand Divina. They’re hot chili peppers so it gave that hint of spiciness needed for the dish.

This dish was easy to make and packed with flavor. It was so delicious we just devoured it. My boyfriend, who dislikes tofu, ate most of it.

For the pickled peppers, I used the recipe suggestion to make my own. The recipe called to slice the jalapenos into small rings so when I went back to the tofu recipe it called for 2 pickled chile peppers so I eyeballed what 2 jalapenos would look like. It ended up being the right amount of heat.

I'd like to say this would be a wonderful snack or appetizer for 4 people but my boyfriend and I ate the whole thing.


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