Sometime last year I suddenly became enamored with the idea of eating dumplings. They are just so cute and self-sufficient, and I wanted them in my belly. As a vegetarian, I've never had dim sum or traditional dumplings because they usually have meat in them. I tried the only veggie option at a local spot in Oakland and promptly (and arrogantly) decided I could do it better myself. Initially I planned to use the pre-made wonton wraps, as I figured the dumpling dough would be complicated. Turns out its literally just flour and water....so I decided to make that myself too. When it comes to prep, you technically just need a steaming contraption along with something to make the dumplings not stick. Traditionally, a bamboo basket is used to steam the dumplings and they are lined with cabbage leaves to prevent sticking. The type of steamer can actually affect the taste of the food - so I opted for bamboo to enrich the flavors rather than use my stainless steel steamer basket that might give a bit of a metallic taste. Equipped with a shopping list and an unwarranted level of confidence, I set off to the Chinatown market!
This summer I finally hit that stage of adulthood where you actually crave vegetables and fresh produce. Personally, it's a bit of a milestone for me since my inner child has always been #teambread. Something about the busyness of summer travel and more eating out than I had expected left me craving homemade, fresh salads that would help me feel lighter and cleaner. Therefore, I've decided to share a short summer salad series! This will be the first.
I'm a big fan of herbs and citrusy notes so I found myself leaning towards Vietnamese and Thai flavors for the salads. Here's a quick and easy Thai inspired salad I threw together after a weekend of way too many carbs in Portland. It is extremely filling because of the tofu and peanuts but doesn't give you that post-lunch mental fog. If you need something a bit denser, feel free to add in some vermicelli noodles. Enjoy!
(Makes 1 serving)
Add a 1/2 tablespoon of sesame seed oil to a frying pan (I use the ceramic non-toxic Green Pan which enables me to use very little to often times no oil) and let it heat. Drain and cut the super firm tofu into small 1/2-1" cubes and add them to the pan. Let them get nice and crispy, and you can even sprinkle a little chilli and garlic powder if you like, but it's not necessary. Flip the tofu a few times until most or all sides are a golden brown color and have crispy edges. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables and mix them well. (See photo above for suggested slicing/shapes). Add in a tablespoon of yuzu sauce and as much lime as you want, and toss. I love the tartness so usually end up using a whole lime. Lightly mix in a handful of the tofu, top with the peanuts, and enjoy!