Silken tofu with soy-sauced tomatoes is a quick summer dish that comes together with only a little heat and effort. Fresh tomatoes are sautéed with olive oil and soy sauce, dolloped over cool and creamy tofu before being drizzled with sesame oil and scallions. Light, refreshing, and just enough for those sultry afternoons.
This is a quick summer dish that capitalizes on juicy tomatoes and requires the stove to be turned on for just a few minutes. My favorite part is the contrast of temperatures— the warm, savory tomatoes over the cool, custardy tofu. You’ll lose those temperature and texture contrasts if you swap in firm or extra- firm tofu, but spooning the tomatoes over slabs of grilled or pan—fried tofu is a worthwhile variation.—Lucas Volger
Silken Tofu with Soy-Sauced Tomatoes
- 1 cup (8 oz) halved cherry tomatoes or chopped plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (12 ounce) block silken tofu* chilled
- Toasted sesame oil
- Thinly sliced scallions (optional)
- Thinly sliced fresh basil (optional)
- In a small saucepan or skillet over low heat, combine the tomatoes, soy sauce, olive oil, and many grinds of black pepper.
- Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, just until the tomatoes start to soften and juices collect in the pan, 4 to 7 minutes.
- Carefully cut the tofu into 2 wide slabs (or 4 smaller ones) and place on plates or in shallow bowls. Divide the warm tomatoes on top. Add a judicious drizzle of toasted sesame oil, then sprinkle with scallions and basil, if using. Serve immediately.
*What's the difference between silken and regular tofu?Silken tofu is so named because it's 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. Both silken and regular tofu can be found in soft, medium, firm, and extra-firm consistencies.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Super-fast and satisfying method to swap in for a summer salad. I loved how the pairing of sautéed tomatoes and soy worked with the tofu. This is also way simpler that my usual approach to having a fresh block of tofu (shaving veggies, layering and grating). It has not only the clean flavor of the tomatoes, against the custard-like texture of tofu, but the soy, and then sesame oil gives it that next element.
I was generous with the pepper, and since my tofu was a larger weight, I was generous with the tomatoes, and it made a complete lunch for two. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, use larger ones, cut up (mine were about 2½” diameter, vine-ripened). This silken tofu with soy-sauced tomatoes will definitely be in my rotation as a go-to healthy meal.
Chilled silken tofu topped with an aromatic accompaniment is a classic Japanese dish called hiyayakko. It’s particularly popular in the summer when the heat and humidity discourage your appetite or heating up your kitchen. I’ve eaten plenty of it growing up, usually just with chopped scallions, grated ginger, and a drizzling of soy sauce. I really liked this new pairing with warm tomatoes and a little sesame oil.
Silken tofu is, in a way, our fresh mozzarella cheese—I interpret this version of hiyayakko as Japanese Caprese salad—this silken tofu with soy sauce tomatoes would make a very nice light lunch or dinner, or a lovely side dish. It would be extra special if you have great in-season tomatoes from a farmer’s market or your own garden.
Originally published April 24, 2021