Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chillies

Meera Sodha
Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chillies in a black bowl
Serves 4
Print recipe
  • Prep time 13 mins
  • Cook time 2 mins
  • Ready time 15 mins

The delicate texture of the silken tofu contrasts wonderfully with the hot and sour pickled chillies to create a flavoursome Indian-style dish.

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  • 400 g silken tofu
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoon light soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • ½ tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 2 spring onions, green part only, finely chopped
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 2 red pickled chillies, finely sliced
  • 10 g fresh coriander, finely sliced


Remove the tofu from its packaging, put on a plate and leave for 10 minutes or so, then tip the water away. Place the drained tofu on a nice serving plate with a lip, as things are about to get saucy.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, brown rice syrup and 2 tablespoons of hot water. Whisk with a fork to mix.

Put the rapeseed oil into a pan over a high heat and, when hot, add the spring onions, pine nuts and pickled chillies. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring every now and then, being very careful not to burn the mixture.

Very carefully (as it may spit), tip the hot pine nuts into the sesame oil mixture along with the coriander. Mix well, then pour over the tofu and serve.


Additional notes

Recipe taken from East: 120 Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing by Meera Sodha, published by Penguin Books, priced £20 in hardback

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“Silken tofu is so named because it is passed through silk and is the most delicate of all the tofus both in flavour and texture. 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 chillies, salty with soy and crunchy with toasted pine nuts.

Note: Buy fresh silken tofu if you can, but if you can only find long-life tofu, make sure you cut carefully along the edges of the carton and open the pack gently so as not to break it up. Pickled chillies can be bought in jars from most supermarkets.”

Note: The over-harvesting of pine nuts, particularly in the Russian far east, can cause damage to the ecosystem and wildlife so it’s advisable to check where the pine nuts you buy are sourced and choose a certified sustainable option where possible – or use walnuts, cashews, pistachios or almonds instead.