I love the freshness of cucumbers and when the weather turns warm and I’m not feeling particularly hungry, I’ll make one of my mom’s favourite summertime snack salads: cucumbers and tofu in sweet chili sauce. It’s simple, fast and refreshing.
The sweetness of of the sauce and the crunchiness of the cucumbers are fantastic together. Cubes of atsuage tofu add textural contrast next to the crunchy cucumbers.
Atsuage is pressed Japanese style deep-fried tofu. It’s sold in most Asian grocery stores and if you haven’t tried it you should, it’s extremely versatile. It’s a medium firm tofu and even Mike, who isn’t a tofu fan, thought that the texture was good.
Normally my mom makes this salad with store-bought sweet chili sauce, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I did a quick search on Google and found a fabulous recipe on shesimmers.com. I didn’t have any red jalapeno or serrano peppers so I substituted bird’s eye chilis. I ended up with a less red chili sauce, but the flavour was still sweet, spicy and addictive.
Sweet Thai Chili Sauce Recipe slightly adapted from shesimmers.com
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bird’s eye chilis
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 table spoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Blend the garlic, chilis, sugar, and salt until puréed. In a saucepan, bring the sugar mixture, 3/4 cups water and white vinegar to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer for about 3 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Mix the cornstarch with the 2 tablespoons of water to create a slurry and whisk the slurry into the sauce and continue to simmer for another minute or two. The cornstarch will thicken up the sauce. Let cool and enjoy
Cut the cucumbers and tofu into bite size pieces and toss with the sweet chili sauce. Enjoy!