Archive for tofu

Spongy tofu (in a good way)

This is the first time I’ve shown こうやどうふ (koyadofu) on this blog. It’s essentially freeze-dried tofu that can be re-hydrated for use in stir fries, soups, etc. I guess it could be Japanese astronaut food…except I think it’s pretty yummy. I sometimes take it in my lunch since I’m afraid of leaving regular tofu unrefrigerated when I’m at the gym before work. I just add some water and soy sauce or put it in soup. It is indeed spongy, which might turn some people off, but I quite like it.

You can see a picture of it “plain” here.

So for this dish, Yusuke began by soaking the koyadofu in water for about 10-20 seconds, then squeezed out all the water (fun!), and cut it into cubes.

He then boiled chopped snap peas for a few minutes with salt and then drained them.

He added back more water, plus:

  • dashi
  • soy sauce
  • mirin
  • sugar
  • salt

Next came chopped green beans along with the koyadofu.

The next addition was thinly sliced abura-age (deep-fried tofu sheets).

He let everything simmer for a while. Finally, he poured in beaten eggs and let them cook briefly.

The mirin and sugar gave this a lovely sweetish taste balanced by the soy sauce, which the koyadofu soaks right up!

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タコライス. Translation: taco rice.

This is one of the many examples of the Japanese tendency to embrace foreign concepts and make them uniquely Japanese (see also: curry, pasta, omu-rice etc. etc.). Based on Mexican-style cuisine, this particular dish is especially popular in Okinawa, so much so that you can even read about it on wikipedia.

Yusuke has been on a salsa and tortilla kick…too bad he couldn’t join me in Guatemala! Hence the desire for this dish.

Rather than using the typical ground pork, Yusuke instead used firm tofu. He also omitted the cheese and used asparagus rather than lettuce.

He began the cooking procedure by chopping white onions (suffering through the tears!). Next, he crumbled firm tofu by hand and sauteed both with olive oil.

After the onions became translucent, he added carrots, chopped into tiny pieces.

Next came the seasoning:

  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Some recipes call for worchestershire sauce or that taco seasoning stuff that you can buy in a package. But since this is タコライス, you definitely need soy sauce!

The asparagus was boiled separately, chopped, and added to rest of the mix.

Everything was then arranged on rice, topped with an over-easy egg, and served with salsa.

おいしかった / ¡muy delicioso!

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Revamped okonomiyaki

This was an attempt at a new okonomiyaki recipe, and it was highly successful!

The basis was medium-firm tofu. Yusuke squeezed the tofu between paper towels to draw out excess water and then smashed it with a whisk until it made a smooth paste.

He then assembled the “dough” and filling:

  • the tofu paste
  • shredded cabbage
  • chopped spinach
  • a tiny bit of bonito flakes
  • dashi
  • sea salt
  • 3 tbsp of katakuriko powder (that is, potato starch, sort of)
  • 4 eggs

He mixed everything in a large bowl and then separated it into individual pancake portions, which were grilled in a frying pan with a bit of canola oil.

We dressed them as usual with okonomi sauce, bonito flakes, and for Yusuke: mayonnaise.

So what made this different? No flour! It worked out quite well, although they were rather more fragile than the typical specimen.

The original recipe called for tiny shrimp and green onions, but as these were lacking from our fridge, Yusuke subbed in spinach.

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Garlicky lettuce wrap

Neglected blogs are sad. Fortunately, food chez nous is happy.

The original recipe that inspired this dish was for pasta sauce, but Yusuke modified it quite dramatically!

The goal of this dish was to use up leftover fresh garlic, so preparations began with 4 cloves: minced. He also minced white onions and sautéed them with pork and a tiny bit of oil.

Next, he added smashed tofu to the pan. (He used Soyarie brand silken tofu which is firmer than Japanese.) He let it simmer until the water content was reduced, at which he point he added a load of leeks.

The seasoning was added next: 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce, salt, and black pepper.

The mixture was transferred to fresh lettuce and wrapped up neatly. Yum!

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Leek donburi

Leek donburi

One of my favourite items in our csa basket over the past several weeks has been beautiful, beautiful leeks.

Above is pictured another cold-clearing dish. In Japan, as elsewhere, leeks are attributed with healing properties for colds. This page has a few other interesting home remedies. I have not yet experimented with a leek bandage…

To prepare the leeks, Yusuke began by cooking the green bits for a few seconds in boiling water. Then he shredded the green along with the raw white.

To prepare the tofu, he dumped silken tofu in a pan and boiled them over medium heat. Then he drained the water and continued to cook the tofu until the water was drawn out. He smashed it into fine crumbles during the cooking process. Once the tofu was dry, he reduced the pan to low heat and then added:

  • soy sauce
  • katsuoboshi (dried fish flakes)
  • a tiny bit of sesame oil
  • sake
  • sea salt

The tofu mixture was then piled on top of rice, followed by the purifying leeks. Served with a pinch of shichimi pepper sprinkled on top.

(To help with my search results: domburi is also transliterated as donburi. Easier: 丼 or どんぶり)

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Edamame tofu

One of our recent csa food baskets came with a fantastic surprise: fresh edamame. We never see fresh soybeans in the grocery store here for some reason, so we were very pleased!

The first step was to boil the beans for about 5 minutes in water with about 4 tsp of sea salt. Next, they were shucked from the pods. This was my contribution to the meal (at least I’m good for something…).

In the meantime, Yusuke made a dashi stock with katsuoboshi (although kombu seaweed would also work). He combined 350 mL of water with dashi and 2 tsp agar powder, which he boiled until the powder dissolved. The agar is what creates the tofu texture.

Next, he poured the mixture into the blender with the beans and set it to purée. When finished, it was poured into custard cups and chilled in the fridge until firm.

Served with sea salt or soba sauce (めつゆ).

The difference in taste between fresh and frozen edamame is remarkable. This dish was very subtle, richer than standard tofu. In other words, fantastic.

N.B. It’s optional to use some kind of filter to strain the puréed beans, but in this case, it wasn’t needed.

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Summer salads

I didn’t write down all the details of these salads, but they sure were pretty. Here’s what I remember, although I might be wrong:

Above is a melange of lettuces with mushrooms and onions, topped with silken tofu and vinegar, over a bed of cold udon noodles.

Below is romaine lettuce with fresh tomatoes and slabs of tofu, topped with shredded nori seaweed. Yusuke mixed sesame oil and mayonnaise for his, while I opted for soy sauce.

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Lettuce wrap-ish

This recipe made use of the delectable romaine lettuce in our weekly organic food basket. Though tasty, however, iceberg lettuce probably would have been more suitable, purely in terms of physics. In other words, the “wrap” part of this didn’t work out so well.

BUT! It was delicious.

The wrap filling consisted of organic veggies freshly grown in Quebec:

  • juicy eggplants
  • carrots
  • tiny bok choy
  • firm tofu (もめんどうふ)

The first step was to chop everything into tiny pieces.

The cooking began with the eggplant sauteed in canola oil. The other veggies were added next and allowed to steam with a lid covering the pan. This procedure made the eggplant particularly melty when eaten.

Next, the following was added:

  • soy sauce
  • sake
  • miso
  • mirin
  • oyster sauce (a tiny bit)

The filling was then arranged on the lettuce leaves.

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Broccoli and tomato, tofued

Broccoli and tomatoes go so very well together, especially when there is tofu involved.

The recipe that inspired Yusuke on this occasion called for canned tomatoes, but we went with juicy fresh ones instead.

First, he scored the skin of 6 tomatoes and placed them in hot water so that the skin started to peel. He removed them and peeled the skin completely. Then he cubed them and removed the seeds.

Next, he boiled cut broccoli for a few minutes, just until the colour started to change.

In a frying pan, he let sizzled a bit of minced garlic in olive oil and then added cubes of firm tofu, frying them until slightly brown.

Next, he added the broccoli to the pan, along with strips of zucchini for a bonus. Then tomatoes were added last.

Finally, the seasoning:

  • dashi
  • soy sauce
  • sake
  • mirin

…all approximately equal parts (probably 1 tbsp each).

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Lettuce soup

Our summer organic food baskets have included lots of lovely iceburg lettuce grown here in Quebec.

I had never had lettuce in soup before, to the best of my recollection, but it was fantastic: very smooth and sweet. According to Yusuke, it’s common in Chinese cuisine, at least as it’s prepared in Japan.

So here are the assembly steps:

Boil the loosely torn lettuce for about 10 seconds and then place portions in the serving bowls.

Prepare a broth:

  • chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • cooking sake
  • minced ginger
  • tiny pinch of salt

Add cubed firm tofu and shrimp and boil until cooked.

Spoon into the bowls with lettuce and eat!

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