Showing posts with label tofu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tofu. Show all posts

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Fried Tofu 油揚げ 豆腐

aburaage tofu

With that golden, withered skin aburaage tofu looks like it should be as crispy as fish & chips, but instead it's moist and floppy with a texture that reminds me somewhat of chewy french toast. It's a horrible scam, but I've come to love these thin slices of twice fried tofu anyway.

Allegedy a favorite food of the fox spirits kitsune, aburaage tofu is the key ingredient in kitsune udon and a frequent addition to other soups and nabe dishes. Specially cut aburage pouches are filled with rice to make inarizushi, or stuffed with other ingredients such as natto, vegetables or meats and re-fried.

If you want to give it a try, just cut off a few thin strips and add them to a bowl of miso soup. Most people suggest rinsing or simmering the tofu to remove excess oil, but I must confess that occaisionally I'm lazy and skip this step. Packets of aburaage live alongside the fresh tofu at every Japanese supermarket, often accompanied by their more block-shaped fried tofu cousin atsuage, and cost around 80yen per sheet.

Quick Vocabulary Lesson - abura (油) means oil and age (揚げ) means fried, thus aburaage tofu = tofu fried in oil. Learning the kanji for frying can help you identify all sorts of delicious treats at the izakaya, such as chicken kariage.

Further reading and recipes - Make a side dish with hijiki seaweed (scroll down), kitsune udon, a salad, or read about the history of aburaage on Wikipedia, if you're adventurous, you could even try making your own from fresh tofu or enjoy the slightly different agedashi tofu, fresh tofu that is battered, fried and served immediatly in a dashi broth.

Monday, 26 February 2007

winter kinoko goodness: mushrooms and tofu in the ricecooker

warm kinoko goodness

This steaming bowl of brown rice, maitake and shimeji mushrooms and agburaage tofu was inspired by one of those god awful 'Surviving In Japan' booklets everyone was trying to give us when we first arrived. It strikes me as somewhat unusual (and dare I say inauthentic?), since the recipe involves cooking everything jumbled up together in the rice cooker with some soy sauce and sake**. The Japanese cooks I've met so far have largely been rice cooker purists, strictly reserving the appliance For Rice Only. However, it was the easiest thing in the world to throw together, and filled the apartment with the delicious earthy smell of mushrooms steaming, and for that I am grateful.

Recipe: Mushroom and Aburaage Tofu Takikomi-Gohan
Serves four as a side.

2 cups rice, rinsed
2 cups water
A few handfuls of mushrooms, rinsed
1 sheet aburaage tofu
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP sake

  • Add rice and water to rice cooker bowl, then top with chopped mushrooms and finely shredded tofu.

  • Drizzle with soy sauce and sake, giving a gentle stir to evenly distribute, close the lid and press start.

You're done! The cooking time will vary depending on amount of mushrooms and variety of rice used, etc, but allow around 40 minutes.

** Amy points out in the comments that this cooking method is known as takikomi-gohan (boiled with rice), and Google suggests it's actually quite popular. Heh. I guess some of the people I know are way too in love with their rice cookers.