This is a very easy dish that is quick to make and uses just a few ingredients, yet is far more flavourful than you would expect. Steaming is an underappreciated technique, but it really brings out the flavour of the ingredients.
I use Thai soy sauce for this recipe; it’s lighter (in colour) and saltier than Chinese soy sauce. If you don’t have it, use Chinese light soy sauce.
Cut each block of tofu into four slices, then lay them flat on a heatproof dish that will fit all of them in one layer.
Cut the ginger into thin slices, then finely julienne the pieces. Mince the garlic cloves. Lay the ginger and garlic over the tofu.
Heat water in the bottom of a tiered steamer (or heat water in a wok with a low-footed rack placed in it). When the water comes to a boil, put the plate holding the tofu in the steamer, cover with the lid and steam over a medium-high flame for five minutes.
While the tofu is steaming, cut the spring onions into 2.5cm (1in) lengths. Mince the bird’s-eye chillies. Put the soy sauce, sugar and lime juice in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
After steaming the tofu for five minutes, scatter the chillies and spring onion over the top, then steam for one more minute.
Take the dish from the steamer and use a paper towel to soak up the moisture that’s collected around the base of the tofu. Pour the sauce over the ingredients and add the fresh coriander, if using, then serve immediately.