Friday, March 9, 2012

Agedashi Tofu

Oh rainy days…

You are ever so wonderful and romantic.

I always love, love it when it rains. It feels as if each drop is orchestrated to help me ease my mind and let me skip reality and visit my beautiful, though rather somber and lonely, perfect world in my mind. I am a Virgo to the bone and not to max out the atmosphere I love the most would be a sad loss for me. I want to enjoy my rainy day, to savor it, to embrace it, and feel whole with it. To do that, I need to stimulate all my senses.

I have the quietness, that’s good. I open the windows wide to smell the fresh air and let the scent of water-kissed greenery permeates my living room. What I need is just something light and earthy to eat and drink.

If you know me well, I am a tofu worshipper. If I could, I would stop writing and cooking and just dwell in the art of making tofu. So for this glorious rainy day I have decided to make a tofu dish that is on my top 5 most favorite tofu dish, Agedashi Tofu.

This is basically a fried tofu with dashi sauce. I do not fry my food, but this one is an exception for its somehow not-crispy not-gooey outer skin which covers the silky soy goodness that makes this tofu dish special. I cannot get it by steaming my tofu. I mean, I have been called a no-fried food evangelist, but even an evangelist has a dark secret or two, right? Looking at the finally cooked and generously topped with katsuobushi* dish, I was glad I listened to my ‘dark’ side and fried my tofu. But I promise you I did not use too much oil and I put the tofu on paper towel  to have the oil partly absorbed. Tee hee.. 


For the tofu:
-1 block of mung bean tofu or a tube of silken tofu
-Corn starch
-Oil for (deep) frying.
For the tentsuyu sauce:
-3/4 cup kombu dashi*
-4 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 tablespoons mirin (essential, but optional)
-sugar, to taste

-Mix all the tentsuyu ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
-Pat dry the tofu with a paper towel, cut it to your favorable size, coat the tofu with corn starch.
-Heat the oil. Make sure it’s hot.
-Once it’s hot, fry the tofu until it turns golden.
-Put the tofu on a plate lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil.
-After the tofu is slightly warmer, put it in a small bowl, top it generously with katsuobushi (and grated daikon if you have some daikon at home), pour the sauce, and enjoy!

*Katsuobushi is dried bonito flakes
*Kombu dashi is a vegetarian stock made by boiling kombu (dried seaweed) in water. Just like that.
However, you can use any Japanese homemade dashi if you like.
Katsuobushi and kombu can be purchased now in big supermarkets so there is no need to go to a Japanese grocery store. Oh, if you find yourself too lazy to make the tentsuyu sauce, you can always purchase the bottled one. Another tip from me is, always be bold with seasoning. If you think you need more mirin and sugar, so put more! A tablespoon or two of sake would also add a lovely touch to your tentsuyu.

So there you have it, a simple, humble, earthy dish that would take you back in time and complete your beautiful mind. Have a cup of hot ocha to accompany you enjoy the sound of rain and not so distant thunder. And trust me, sometimes loneliness is meant to be savored. 

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