This pretty dish is very easy to make and requires minimal preparation. It can largely be done in advance so this is perfect for casual entertaining. The combination of sweet prawns, smooth tofu and the mellow, vinegary dressing is sublime.




Skill level

Average: 3.6 (14 votes)


  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) cooked medium–small tiger prawns (shrimp), peeled, leaving tails intact, and cleaned
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) block silken tofu
  • 1 small handful coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to serve

Hot–sour dressing

  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/ ¼ cup) light soy sauce
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/ ⅓ cup) black rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp chilli oil, or ready-made, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 185 ml (6 fl oz/ ¾ cup) chicken stock 
  • 3 cm (1. inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely shredded or very finely sliced
  • 1-2 tsp chilli flakes, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the hot–sour dressing, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, oils, sugar, rice wine and stock in a bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes. Set aside.

Cut the prawns in half lengthwise. Drain the tofu well, taking care not to break it. Carefully cut the tofu into 1 cm ( ½ inch) thick slices and lay them neatly in a large bowl. Scatter the prawns over the tofu, then pour over the dressing. Garnish with the coriander and serve immediately.


Image and recipe extracted from The Real Food of China by Leanne Kitchen & Antony Suvalko, published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $69.95). Available in stores nationally and at the SBS Shop.