Recipe: Asian Cucumber and Tofu Salad


What a beautiful result from changing out the non vegetarian items in a salad and replacing them with Tofu. Parts of Asia, from China to Thailand and Singapore, even Bali, have amazing salads of the freshest of vegetables with handfuls of herbs. This salad celebrates that tradition, with ingredients from Japan, China and S.E. Asia. It is a bit of work, truth be told, but it makes such a great salad to take to a large gathering, BBQ or picnic.

The vegetables are all slightly pickled, the tofu is marinated, and the herbs are plentiful. You will probably need to visit an Asian Grocery to locate some of the ingredients. If you have not used many Chinese ingredients, such as pickled lotus root or cloud ear mushrooms, rice wine or black vinegar, don’t let that put you off. Any friendly assistant at a Chinese grocery will help you. These are common ingredients in Asia, even if they don’t often appear in Western dishes.

This recipe is a little similar to Kylie’s Asian Herb and Sesame Salad, although they come from different sources. Both are worth trying if you enjoy slightly pickled salads. You might also like Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, or Slightly Pickled Mushrooms in Tamari and Sesame Oil.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – these are vegetarian recipes from our first blog, from 1995 – 2005. You might also like all of our Tofu recipes here and here. Or browse the SE Asian recipes here and here. All of our Salad recipes are here and here. Or spend some time to explore our easy Summer recipes here and here.

Asian Tofu and Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber and Tofu Salad

This came after a quick alteration of a salad with some non veg items into one with tofu. What a success!

200 g carrots, julienned 8 Cloud’s Ear fungus 10 g moss fungus
50 g daikon radish small handful of mint small handful Thai Basil
10 g dried black Chinese fungus good white vinegar 1 cup rice wine
1 medium onion, sliced thinly 500g Lebanese cucumbers, julienned 200g pickled or dried lotus root stems, soaked, rinsed and pat dried
10 g Vietnamese Mint 1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped finely 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
0.5 tspn roasted sesame oil sugar   2 tspn black vinegar
300 g tofu
1/2 tspn light miso 5 tspn lime juice
5 tspn sugar 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped finely 1 tspn mild curry powder
ground black pepper
Garnish 1 medium onion, sliced thinly 3 cloves garlic
100g roasted cashew nuts bunch coriander leaves, chopped

Beforehand: Combine carrots and daikon with 2 tspn vinegar and 2 tspn sugar, marinate for 2 hours, then drain carrots well.

Marinate tofu in rice wine and black vinegar for 1 – 2 hours, turn gently half way through.

Combine onion with 2 tspn vinegar and 2 tspn sugar and stand for 15 minutes before straining and patting dry.

Combine cucumber with 1 tspn vinegar and 1 tspn sugar and stand for 10 minutes before squeezing out excess liquid through a cloth.

Soak fungus for 20 minutes, drain well and pat dry. Slice if necessary.

A the time: Combine carrot, daikon, mushrooms, tofu, onion, cucumber, lotus stems, mints, basil, garlic, sesame oil  and chilli in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well.

Serve on plates, garnished with crispy fried garlic and onions,  coriander and cashew nuts. Accompany with prawn crackers or wonderfully white Chinese steamed rice.

Dressing: Combine all ingredients well. Allow to sit for 30 minutes or so.

Garnish: fry onion and garlic in oil until crisp.

Eat with a bowl of steamed rice, or on its own, or as a side salad.


This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, A Life (Time) of Cooking. It appears here as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes.

From the Salads and Side Dishes Series