Malaysian tofu, cucumber, and peanut salad

Total Time
25 min
20 min
5 min
This refreshing meatless salad is a wonderful portable option for lunch on the go or for weeknight dinner. We opted for dark sesame oil since tofu so readily absorbs flavor, and the darker the sesame oil, the bolder the flavor. Don’t skip pressing the tofu. The goal is to remove as much liquid as possible so that it will brown nicely as it cooks in the skillet. To save time, use preshredded carrots, available in 12-ounce packages in the produce section of the supermarket. To turn this main dish salad into a side dish, omit the tofu and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. Then add 4 cups of shredded napa cabbage, toss, and let stand 1 hour—and you’ve got Malaysian coleslaw.


Low-fat tofu

¾ pound(s), firm

Dark sesame oil

2 tsp

Ginger root

1 Tbsp, fresh, peeled and minced


2 medium clove(s), minced


1 medium, peeled, seeded, and sliced

Sweet red pepper(s)

1 medium, seeded and thinly sliced

Shredded carrot(s)

1 cup(s)

Uncooked scallion(s)

2 medium, finely chopped


3 Tbsp

Rice vinegar

2 Tbsp

Fish sauce

2 Tbsp, (nam pla)


2 Tbsp, fresh, chopped


½ oz, dry-roasted, salted, chopped


  1. Wrap the tofu in paper towels and place on a plate. Top with a heavy saucepan and let it stand for 20 minutes to press out the excess liquid. Cut the tofu into 1⁄2-inch cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tofu and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, scallions, honey, vinegar, fish sauce, cilantro, and the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the browned tofu; toss well. Serve at once, sprinkled with the peanuts. Yields generous 2 cups tofu mixture and 1 tablespoon peanuts per serving.