Tag Archives: Tofu

Tofu Recipe: Aburaage

ABURAAGE-1
(Aburarage Soup)

Aburaage is basically a deep-fried thin slice of tofu.
It does offer a very versatile option as it can be used as it is, or open as a pouch it becomes the base for inari sushi and many other variations!

Here is a simple recipe:

INGREDIENTS:
Tofu (firm Momen tofu type): 1 large piece/block (Icho in Japanese)
Thick Towel
Cellophane paper
Long wooden disposable chopsticks (wari-bashi)
“Piano string”, or the equivalent
Water drainer
Oil
Oil thermometer (up to 200 degrees Celsius)

RECIPE:

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Make identations or marks on the chopsticks every 5 mm up to the height of the tofu block.

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Tie “piano string” around chopsticks as shown on pic first at 10 mm height (or higher up to 15 mm if you wish), and cut tofu by sliding chopsticks along the cutting table (it should easy, but make sure you cut tofu evenly!)

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Tofu being soft, it is not easy to manipulate.
Later, when you will manipulate it, the best way is to first turn over the whole onto your open palm and have each slice slide away.

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Before manipulating the tofu, first put a 500g weight (anything over a thin wodden plank if you don’t have asushi weight) on top of the tofu for 2 hours to get as much water off as possible.
Transfer slices onto thick towel and leave them there for an hour.

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First frying step: fry tofu slice at 130 degrees Celsius (make sure to keep the temperature constant!) for 6 minutes. This will allow for a uniform heating.

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Second frying step: bring oil temperature to 160 degrees Celsius.
If tofu contains too much water or if you fry in a single step, it will fail to achieve the right shape and quality.

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Aburaage will usually be a bit hard upon frying.

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To make it soft, wrap it in xellophane paper and and heat inside electric oven. As soon as water comes out of aburaage inside the cellopahne paper, take the whole out and unwrap aburaage.

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The aburaage should be soft by then.

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Check if the aburaage needs a second frying (according to your liking).
if you fry it at 130 degrees, it will reduce as the one on the right in the picture.
If you fry it at 160 degrees you will obtain an aburaage like the left one on the picture (longer one).

ABURAAGE-13
To properly open it, cut in half, and then cut inside to form a pouch!

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Vegetarian Japanese Cuisine: Fried Tofu and Vegetables

fried-tofu-vegetables
Pic kindly upgraded by Jay Gustafson!

The other night, the Missus thought that some healthy food was in order, that is as much for herself as for me, what with her drinking wine and me savouring my Japanese sake!

She used already deep-fried tofu cubes called “nama-age” bought at the nearby supermarket, cut them to bite-size, saute them on a non-stick frypan as they were (no need for oil) with a liberal amount of pizza cheese and served them with a good measure of freshly chopped thin leeks. All the while on another pan she fried slightly boiled renkon/lotus roots slices with eringi mushrooms cut lengthwise and half-cut Brussels sprouts with some olive oil, a litle salt, pepper and a spicy seasoning mix.
Once ready she added themhot on the same plate.

So simple and tasty!

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Tofu Recipes (1): Fried Namaage with Cheese and Ponzu


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This is I hope the first installment of a long series of simple recipes with tofu. Some will be vegan and vegetarian, some vegetarian like this one, others for omnivores!

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This particular one is one one of the Missus’ favorites.
She uses on full “namaage tofu”, tofu that was deep-fried whole and that you can buy either fresh at a Japanese market or packaged.

She cuts the tofu in equal-sized bite pieces about 1 cm thick and fry them in a non-stick pan. No real need for any oil as what is contained in the surface of the tofu will be sufficient.
The point is that she fries them only on side. While they cook she lay a thin piece of mild/processed cheese over each tofu piece, add some black pepper, and cover with a glass lid. When the cheese has nicely melted over the tofu, she takes off the lid, sprinkles the whole with ponzu and fries for another minute. She serves on a dish with the sauce and liberally sprinkles the lot with chopped thin leeks!

Great snack with Japanese sake or beer!

Vegan and Vegetarian Japanese Cuisine: Tofu (2)-Varieties


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zarudofu
“Zarudofu”, my favourite variety of tofu just filtered out in a “zaru/basket”. You just eat it with a spoon on its own. No seasoning needed!

This is the second article dedicated to some of the many varieties of that celebrated food, tofu. A third article is in preparation as for recipes!

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Okinawa Tofu

Tofu comes in various degrees of firmness.
The softest are “Zaru dofu” (see pic above) and Okinawa-style tofu.

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“Kinu Goshi Tofu”

Next come “Kinu Tofu/Kinu Goshi Tofu”/Silk-sieved tofu. It can be used for almost any recipe, although you might have to press it as it contains a lot of water.

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“On Tofu”

“On Tofu” is similar to “Kinu tofu”, but it has been conceived as it its name indicates for being eaten hot or warm instead of cold.

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“Momen Tofu”

“Momen Tofu”/”Wool Tofu” contains less water, is firmer and is perfect for “Nabe/Japanese Pot-au-feu”.

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“Yaki Tofu”

“Yaki Tofu/Grilled tofu” (not to be confused with deep-fried tofu) is usually “Momen tofu” grilled to give it the “gratine” look. Tasty, it is particularly interesting when sauteed with vegetables and so forth in Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Thai food.

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“Yawarakaage or Yawarakai Aburaage”

Tofu can be bought cooked/deep-fried in many manners.
“Yawarakaage” is tofu deep-fried into a thin sheet which can be opened as a pouch like in:

inari-tofu
“Inari”

“Inari” is “Yawarakaage”, which has been first marinated in mirin, soy Sauce and sugar. Do ask about its preparation as some companies or individuals add dashi, which is usually not vegan or vegetarian!

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“Namaage”

“Karaage Tofu/Deep-fried Tofu” comes in many forms.
The above “Namaage/Deep-fried raw” is the most common.

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“Kinu Namaage”

“Kinu namaage” is great for the contrast between a solid outside and vey soft inside.

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“Ganmo” and “Kyo-Ganmo”

“Ganmo” is Tofu that has pressed to almost dry, then broken into very small lumps to which one added cooked carrots, Hijiki sweet seaweed, grated yam, a little sugar (not always), shaped into a ball and lightly deep-fried. Great, heated again with vegetables and a swet and sour sauce, or in whatever recipe you might imagine. “Kyo-Ganmo” is the smaller Kyoto-Style variety. Ganmo should be made exclusively with vegetal matter, but do ask if you are not sure!

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“Tofu Doughnuts”

Yes, you have read it, “Tofu Doughnuts”, very popular with kids!

Other varieties:
-“Okara” is hard-pressed, almost dry tofu sold broken into very small lumps.
-“Yuba” is the “skin” appearing on top of the pan when tofu is being prepared. Very popular served cold with all kinds of ingredients.
-“Koya” is hard-pressed tofu sold marinated. Now, as it contains fish stock dashi, it is not suitable to vegans or vegetarians.
-“Kuro goma tofu” or “Shiro goma tofu” (Black and white sesame curd) are not made with soy beans but sesame, although they make for great food for vegans and vegetarians.

There are many other “fancy” varieties, but I cannot guarantee their suitability to vegans or vegetarians!

Enjoy!

Vegan and Vegetarian Japanese Cuisine: Tofu (part 1)-Preparation


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zarudofu
“Zarudofu”, my favourite variety of tofu just filtered out in a “zaru/basket”. You just eat it with a spoon on its own. No seasoning needed!

As promised, here is the first posting about tofu.
This article concerns the home-making of it.
The next article will introduce different kinds of tofu and recipes!

Ingredients (for one large piece, one cho/丁in Japanese)

Soy beans: 2 cups (360cc)
Nigari: 2 large tablespoons
(Magnesium chloride is an important coagulant used in the preparation of tofu from soy milk. In Japan it is sold as nigari (the term is derived from the Japanese word for “bitter”), a white powder produced from seawater after the sodium chloride has been removed, and the water evaporated. In China it is called “lushui”.. Nigari or Lushui consists mostly of magnesium chloride, with some magnesium sulfate and other trace elements. It is also an ingredient in baby formula milk).
Water: 5 cups (twice and a half the volume of soy beans)

Utensils:
One large pot
One large clean cloth pouch to press tofu through
One bowl
One mixer
One thermometer
One large piece of gauze to filter water off shaped tofu
One large wooden spoon
One wooden tofu-shaper case

RECIPE:
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1) Preparation: soak soy beans in water overnight

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2) Preparation: Mix nigari with 1 cup of water and set aside

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3) According to its size, Pour the whole or part by part soy beans and water (1) and make paste as fine as possible. If mixer runs at an even pace without crushing beans into paste, add more water. The paste obtained is called “namago” (生呉)

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4) Pour the bean paste into a large pot with an equal amount of water. Heat stirring all the time. The paste will come to a boil suddenly. Switch off fire. Switch on low once the paste has settled for 10 minutes and take off fire.

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5) Pour paste into the cloth pouch and press. Right of the picture is tofu paste before pressing. Left is pressed out tofu

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6) Solidifying (coagulating) with nigari.
Stir tofu over light fire. When the temperature has reached 75~80 degrees Celsius pour in nigari slowly and stir all the time. The solid matter will sink to the bottom and accumulate. The coagulation will be complete when liquid above tofu has become transparent. Stop the operation and let rest for 15 minutes.

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7) Arrange the gauze inside tofu a tofu shaper case which should have small holes to let excess water run out.

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8) Cover with lid with a weight (or glass of water) of about 250 g and further press out water for 15 minutes

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9) Delicately empty tofu in basin filled with called water and leave it there for an hour to take out excess nigari. Store in refrigerator.

Vegetarian & Vegan Cuisine: “Mukashi Mushi Pan”/Old-Fashioned Steamed Bread


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Although I’m neither a vegetarian or vegan, I make a point to introduce anything I discover here which might help friends out!

Fukasawa Foods in Shibakawa Cho at the foot of Mount Fuji produces all year round an incredible array of soba/buckwheat noodles, udon/wheat flour noodles, ice-creams, cakes and I don’t know what else.

Now, all their food is organic. No artificial fertilizers are used for whatever they grow or buy, and no additives or preservatives are used in any of their product, which means all have to be properly stored and eaten quickly.

Vegans will be happy to know they use tofu instead of any dairy product.

This particular cake called “Mukashi Mushi Pan” or Old-Fashioned Steamed Bread was made with wheat flour, tofu, brown sugar, raisins, salt, vegetable oil.
That is all!

One cake could have easily been held inside your palm, but it was very fulfilling and delicious!
They have other varieties made with pumpkin and other vegetables.

Fukasawa Foods
Fuji Gun, Shibakawa Cho, Naibo, 3895-8
Tel.: 0544-65-0143
Closed on Tuesdays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)