TOFU WITH THOUSAND-YEAR EGGS
SERVES 4 AS A SIDE DISH
The name of this dish makes it sound much more sensational than it really is; however, what’s bizarre to one culture may simply be everyday grub to another, as thousand-year eggs are to the Chinese. Rather than a millennium, these eggs are preserved for a few weeks in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hull. This process transforms the duck eggs so that the yolk turns a dark greenish-gray color with a pronounced creaminess and the smell of sulphur and ammonia, while the white becomes translucent, darkened, and jelly-like. This assembled dish requires no actual cooking, but it carries extraordinary flavor and is a great complement to Turkey Congee.
1 pound soft (“silken”) tofu
2 preserved duck eggs (also called “century eggs”), peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
2 scallions (green and white parts), thinly sliced
Cube the tofu by slicing it in half horizontally; then slice it lengthwise once and crosswise twice so that you end up with 12 pieces. Arrange the tofu slices on a serving plate, and top with the quartered duck eggs. Just before serving, drizzle with the soy sauce and sesame oil, and scatter the cilantro and scallions over the top.