Is anyone else having trouble believing that we're currently residing in the season of Summer? I don't know about you, but I feel like I've only bared my legs to an unsuspecting world a handful of times since Autumn and ordinarily, well....it would have been more like four or five handfuls (poor world). Not that I'm complaining. I hate summer. I always find miserable weather inspiring, and heat and sunshine just...laze inducing. So really, this is a fitting farewell before I brave the oppressing burn of Southern India.
Anyway, I'm sure that at least once in the next month or so while I'm away a moment will arise in each of your lives when the thought of cooking or eating anything involving heat will induce nausea. What follows will be just the thing for that day. This recipe is also for my friend Tim who has recently acquired a vegan housemate and asked for advice on what to feed her. Tim: this. Or, if we're to dip into my small archive, you could also go with this or this, or even this, sans egg and butter.
This recipe really is gorgeously cooling, and almost unsettlingly attractive for a food-stuff. It's all coy in pink and green; I half expected it to jump of the plate, give me a flower and do a little curtsey. It would be just the thing for a post-gluttonous boxing day lunch, and would also make a very classy entree at a summer dinner party. The boy and I enjoyed it all the same as a light main course with some rice and steamed boc choy to the side, on an almost warm night earlier this week.
Silken Tofu with Pickled Ginger, Cucumber and Mint
Adapted from the Longrain Cookbook: Modern Thai Food
1 400g packet silken tofu, carefully sliced (I picked up a locally made one from Choku Bai Jo in North Lyneham shops - delicious!)
1/2 Cup Coriander leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 a small red chilli, finely diced
1 lebanese cucumber
2 tablespoons Pickled Ginger (available at Asian Supermarkets)
1 spring onion, finely sliced on a sharp diagonal
1 tablespoon Japanese soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon finely sliced (or morta and pestle pounded) ginger
fried shallots, for garnish
Combine all dressing ingredients and set aside.
Cut your cucumber in half, lengthways. Turn each peice on its side and finely shave into thin half-ribbons, using a sturdy vegetable peeler, thusly:
Combine the cucumber with the herbs, ginger, chilli, and spring onion, and pile artfully atop the tofu.
Drizzle with the dressing, and sprinkle over the fried shallots.
Enjoy, preferably with Jasmine tea served in pretty little cups. Pure class.