If you were stuck on a desert island and you could only have one little restaurant on that island, (which sounds like a pretty sweet little desert island), what would be the one cuisine it would serve? For me, I think that answer would have to be Thai. I have an obsession with rice noodles, green mango salad makes me weak in the knees, and my favourite condiment is soy sauce. Not to mention I think this whole meal and palm tree deal would go quite well with a Margarita and the Bob Marley Legend album that would accompany me on my desert island.... Ok, so I threw in some other cultures there, but to me that would be a pretty sweet little island. If you visit an island like this, please bring me with you!
And now I look outside my window and frown at the 12 degree misty rainy day. Here's hoping summer will get here soon! In the meantime, some fresh, healthy, Thai-inspired salad has been bringing out the sunshine in my life.
This recipe is a little fussy. I admit it. Loud and clear. Did you hear me? This recipe is a little fussy. I am not a fan of making a fuss in the kitchen, but sometimes, it is just worth it. It really is, and when it's really worth it, I promise, I won't lead you astray. I have been eating this salad every single day since I first came up with it. That's five days in a row now, and I see no point in breaking this pattern. It's my new addiction, and really, if you are going to get addicted to something, I highly recommend salad.
There is a lot of chopping in this salad. That's really the whole fussy part, just a lot of chopping. So if you have a mandoline, you should use it. I'm not talking about serenading me with a little musical string instrument while I chop. There is a big difference between a mandolin, and a mandoline. Note the "e". If you don't already know, a mandoline is a slicer used for finely, evenly, and quickly slicing anything to your heart's content. Including your fingers. So be careful and use a hand guard!
I have the Benriner Mandoline Slicer. You can easily slice anything super thin, and it comes with different blades so you can also cut veggies into matchsticks.
One of the beauties of this salad, is that it doesn't really matter if you are missing an ingredient or two. It's not the end of the world if you are out of cucumber, or perhaps short on radishes, you're not a fan of tofu, or just feel like skipping it. As long as you have most of these ingredients, and are able to top it all off with the peanut sauce, you're all set. So put on your desert island playlist, and start the chopping!
First start by rinsing, pressing, and then marinating the tofu with the soy sauce. I like to cut up the whole block into large-ish pieces getting about 16 pieces out of a block of tofu. Marinate 4 piece of tofu in 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, or marinate all 16 pieces in 3 tablespoons of tofu, and save the rest for later. Let the tofu marinate for 15 minutes or longer.
Grill the tofu. I do this in a grill pan, but you could do it on a BBQ, or if you don't have access to either, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and fry for a couple minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.
This is my enormous salad bowl. This is what I consider one serving of salad, but I realize not everyone likes to eat a trough of salad like I do, so to warn you, this makes one monstrous salad. I love it. No dainty little side salads for me. I just put my mandoline right on top and start slicing away. First the cabbage.
Next carrots. I used the matchstick blade here, but you could also slice them in rounds.
Then red bell pepper.
Then green onions. These I chop these with a knife as I find it's easier.
Then I chop some cilantro.
And some peanuts. Excited yet?
Then mix all your peanut sauce ingredients together, except for the lime wedge.
Place your tofu on top. Serve the dressing on the side with a squeeze of lime. Admire all of your chopping glory, and then don't be surprised when you don't want to share a single bite of your enormous salad.
Peanut Thai Salad with Grilled Tofu
For the salad:
- ¼ block (about 90g) extra-firm tofu, cut into 1.5" cubes
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (gluten-free if preferred)
- ⅛ red cabbage, thinly sliced
- ½ carrot, peeled and sliced
- 3 inch piece cucumber, sliced
- 2 radishes, sliced
- ¼ red pepper, sliced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
For the peanut dressing:
- ½ clove garlic, minced
- ½ inch piece fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 wedge lime
- Put the tofu into a small bowl with 2 teaspoons soy sauce and let the tofu marinate for 15 minutes or longer. Once marinated, grill the tofu. I do this in a grill pan, but you could do it on a BBQ, or if you don't have access to either, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and fry for a couple minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.
- Layer all the veggies into the bowl, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, radishes, red pepper, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts. Top with the grilled tofu.
- Make the peanut dressing by mixing all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Dress the salad to taste.