Silken tofu with pickled mustard greens

Silken tofu with pickled mustard greens

Suan cai dou hua

Every Grain of Rice
Chris Terry

This is an unassuming but marvellous dish, a gentle marriage of soothing tofu and delicate pickles in a savoury broth. Eat it with a spoon as you curl up on the sofa, or ladle it over your rice and let the white grains soak up its juices, enjoying the contrast of the bright green spring onion with the understated jade-and-ivory of pickles and tofu. At its most basic, made with a vegetarian stock or even water, it’s the epitome of old-fashioned, rustic cooking, although a good chicken stock makes it more luxurious. You can even add chicken slivers, if you want (see the variation below).


Quantity Ingredient
30g pickled mustard greens
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
ground white pepper
300g silken tofu
1 1/2 teaspoon potato flour, mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons spring onion greens, finely sliced
300ml chicken stock
or 300ml vegetable stock


  1. Cut the pickled greens evenly into slivers.
  2. Heat the oil in a seasoned wok, add the slivered greens and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the stock, bring to a boil and season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Use a spoon to scoop large pieces of the tender tofu into the water. Let it warm gently and absorb the flavours of the stock.
  3. When the tofu has heated through, adjust the seasoning if necessary. Then give the potato flour mixture a stir and, in a couple of stages, add enough of it to thicken the stock to a lustrous gravy (mix it in by pushing the tofu gently with the back of a wok scoop or ladle rather than stirring, so you don’t break it up completely).
  4. Tip into a serving bowl, scatter over the spring onions and serve.


  • Silken tofu with chicken slivers and pickled mustard greens: Slice the pickled mustard greens as in the main recipe above. Cut one small chicken breast (150 g) evenly into fine slivers, add a marinade of 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon potato flour, 2 teaspoon cold water and 1 teaspoon cooking oil and mix well.

    Follow the instructions above to make the main recipe, but don’t scatter over the spring onion greens.

    Clean the wok, season and add another 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil. When hot, add the marinated chicken slivers and stir-fry to separate. When they are just cooked, spoon them on to the prepared tofu dish, add the spring onion greens and serve.
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