This is a play on Chinese Chicken Salad (the kind you can’t get in China but is all over the rest of the world—I’ve seen it in the US, Germany, Belgium, and France). The dressing is incredibly easy and tasty, and I find myself using it for all kinds of things far beyond this salad.
The Teriyaki Tofu recipe that follows is NOT for a single serving. It’s just not practical to make only one serving’s-worth. The good news is that you can use these little bites in all kinds of creative ways. I keep them in a little sealed container and snack on them—they’ll keep for more than a week unless you chow down on them, like I do. I like to eat all the little bits of garlic and ginger that have been soaking and baking too. You can probably smell my breath from here…
For the Salad:
¾ cup cabbage, chopped or shredded (any color, but I like a mix)
½ carrot, shredded, grated, or sliced
1 green onion
1 very small sweet potato, baked or steamed (optional)
3 artichoke heart quarters, cut in half lengthwise (optional)
¼ cup baked teriyaki tofu (recipe follows)
¼ avocado, sliced lengthwise thinly
1 TBLSP cilantro, chopped finely
1 ½ TBLSP sprouts, bite-sized (pea sprouts, mung bean, or radish)
3 TBLSP crispy noodles
1 tangerine, peeled and segmented
1 TBLSP sunflower seeds
1 TBLSP peanuts
For the Dressing:
1 TBLSP tamari soy sauce (you can use regular, no problem)
1 TBLSP white or yellow miso
1 TBLSP mirin
1 TBLSP rice vinegar
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
- Layer the salad elements or place them in an appealing pattern in a bowl or plate. Or, you could just toss ‘em all in there, let ‘em fall where they may.
- Put all the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk, or, better, put them into a sealed container and shake vigorously.
- Pour the mixed dressing over the salad and devour!
Teriyaki Tofu (not for One—there will be left-overs)
1 container (14 ounces, or whatever is about a pound) firm tofu
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
2 TBLSP mirin or sherry
1 TBLSP granulated sugar
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or put through a garlic press
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or put through a garlic press
- Slice the tofu into thin slabs. I like mine about a quarter-inch thick by half an inch wide by two inches long, but do what suits you or your recipe. There will be left-overs after the Chinese Kickin’ Salad.
- Place the rest of the ingredients (soy sauce, mirin, sugar, ginger, and garlic) in a bowl large enough to hold the tofu and for the tofu to be turned a few times. Stir it all together until the sugar dissolves.
- Place the tofu slabs in the sauce and turn them a few times to make sure that every side of the tofu is covered. I use my hands, as the tofu is pretty soft and can break easily. If you’re more fastidious than I am, you could use a wooden spoon.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for half an hour or longer. Turn the tofu over every 15 minutes. I’ve never left it longer than 3 hours, as the tofu didn’t seem particularly more affected than it had at half an hour. Marinating the tofu makes it form a little skin that you can’t really see, but when you bake it, it stiffens in a way that baking plain tofu doesn’t do.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the tofu in a SINGLE layer on a non-stick cookie sheet (not on parchment paper, and don’t grease the sheet unless you want greasy tofu). I do it in neat rows because then I can tell which I’ve turned throughout the cooking process. Feel free to be more wacky than I am.
- Pour any unabsorbed soy sauce mixture liberally over the tofu. (There will be plenty.)
- Bake for 20 minutes, and then pull the pan out of the oven and close the oven door. Turn each piece over and return it to the oven. (I use a pair of forks because I find that tongs weren’t delicate enough. Don’t use your hands here, though, okay? It’s hot.) The undersides will be wet and soft and the topsides will be starting to firm up. Some of them may break during this process, as they’re still very soft. Most of them won’t though.
- Bake for another 15 minutes and then pull the pan out of the oven and close the oven door. Turn each piece over and return it to the oven. Again, the undersides will be wet and soft and the topsides will be starting to firm up.
- Bake for another 10 minutes and then pull the pan out of the oven and close the oven door. Turn each piece over and return it to the oven. Again, the undersides will be wet and soft and the topsides will be starting to firm up. Yup. That’s the third time and the undersides are still wet! Don’t fret. The key is that when the leftover sauce is pretty much all evaporated, the tofu is most likely done. Until then, keep giving them 10 or 20 minute visits to the hot oven and flipping them over.
- Remove them from the oven and let them sit cooling until they’re room temperature. They will be fairly firm on both sides once they’re cooled. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
I use these little bites in wraps, salads, tofu scrambles, and as snacks all by themselves. I find that marinating tofu in anything, from plain soy sauce to salad dressing, and then baking it, has this nice firming effect. Yummy!