Tohu Thoke | Burmese Shan Tofu Salad

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Yields: 2 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 40 Mins

Burmese Shan tofu originated from the Shan people. Although it is called tofu, it has nothing at all to do with Chinese tofu. Instead of soybeans, this Burmese tofu is made from besan or chickpea flour. The flour is cooked with water into a thick paste and then left to set.

Shan tofu is matte yellow in colour from turmeric powder. It is jelly-like but firm and looks rather like a block of cheese. If you are walking along the streets of Burma and see street vendors with giant yellow wheels on their stalls, it’s actually Shan tofu!

I made my tofu in the middle of the night so the colour is a little bit weird. For a clearer idea of the technique, please see this Youtube video. I like to link to authentic creators because it’s important that they get credit when we make their traditional food.

One of the many ways to use Shan tofu is in this absolutely delicious tohu thoke (တိုဖူးသုပ်) or tofu salad. It is difficult to Anglicise Burmese pronunciations as there are no across the board translations as yet. This is the way to spell it that I find brings up the most results.

This tohu thoke is the absolute sum of its many parts. Nutty toasted ground peanuts, fragrant fried garlic and shallots in oil, fresh kaffir lime and coriander, sweet-sour-spicy chilli garlic vinegar. All these components are tossed with the silky and creamy chickpea tofu. The end result is a mouthwatering salad that you will not be able to stop eating.

Tips

  • You can also use dried chickpeas. Soak them overnight, then drain and grind with a little liquid into a puree.
  • For softer tofu, use a 1:3 flour to water ratio.
  • Don’t stop stirring your chickpea paste once it’s on the stove or it will form clumps.
  • You can add a little salt in your chickpea tofu if you like. (I didn’t but many do.)
  • Use a large mixing bowl when making the salad so it is easy to mix without breaking the tofu.

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Ingredients

0/16 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the Shan tofu
  • Tohu thoke

Instructions

0/14 Instructions
    For the Shan tofu
  • Put 1.5 cups of water on the stove to boil.
  • Meanwhile, put 1 cup of chickpea flour, turmeric, salt (optional), and 1 cup of water in a mixing bowl and whisk until completely smooth and combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the boiling water through a strainer to remove any lumps.
  • Turn the heat down so that it continues to boil but more gently. DO NOT STOP STIRRING! You might have to change from a whisk to a spatula halfway through.
  • When the chickpea flour paste starts to come away from the sides and stick to the spatula, like a very very thick pancake batter, it is ready.
  • Pour it into a heat-proof container and cool. If you are in a cold climate you may leave it to set outside. Otherwise, it can go in the fridge after cooling for about two hours.
  • For tohu thoke
  • Finely chop or mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add the bird's eye chillies, white vinegar, and sugar to the garlic in a bowl.
  • Pound/grind the peanuts and roast without oil until browned. Mine got a bit burnt because I was busy talking instead of paying attention to the stove! Set aside for later.
  • Cook the garlic over low heat in 2 tbsps of oil until golden brown. Set aside the garlic IN THE OIL for later.
  • Cook the shallots over low heat in 2 tbsps of oil until golden brown. Set aside the shallots IN THE OIL for later.
  • Chop up the coriander and finely dice a kaffir lime leaf.
  • Slice the Burmese tofu into long thin slices about 1.5" across. I used about 3/4 of the block of tofu that I made.
  • Mix the tofu with 1 tbsp fried garlic and oil, 2 tbsp of fried shallots and oil, 2 tbsp of peanuts, 2 tbsp of chilli-garlic vinegar mixture, 2 tbsp of vegan fish sauce, and all the coriander and kaffir lime. Taste and adjust to your preference.
  • Plate and top with more fried shallots and coriander.

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