This Japanese recipe is a method of cooking tofu that transforms the lowly soybean curd into a really delicious and satisfying meal. Though tofu-detractors will probably say, “It tastes like nothing,” they could well be won over by the crisp coating, firm texture, and flavorful marinade. Mr. Tess was out of town this past week, and I endured a stomach bug for a few days. This recipe appealed to me because it’s easy to adjust how many servings to make, it’s easy to assemble a salad fresh on a second day, and it’s easy to digest. Enjoy. See another classic Japanese tofu recipe here.
Tofu Salad with Miso Dressing
Tofu Sarada Miso Doresshingu
I made only 1/2 of this recipe.
Marinate the tofu:
- 2 blocks firm tofu (about 22 ounces)
Note: packages of tofu do not seem to be standardized; for example, my favorite brand comes in 14 ounce packages and for this recipe, I’d use 28 ounces total—it will be more than you want for 4 servings, but the fried tofu is good at room temperature so you can have it for lunch.
- 3 1/2 ounces Saikyo miso (sweet white miso) or measure 7 Tablespoons
- 1/4 cup sake (rice wine)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 clove minced garlic (Ms. Shimbo says crushed)
Miso Salad Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, halved and smashed
- 1 Tablespoon Saikyo miso (or tamamiso sauce)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smooth French-style mustard (Ms. Shimbo: 1 tsp.)
- 1 Tablespoon komezu (rice vinegar)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Rub the inside surface of a medium bowl with the halved garlic. Add the miso and beat with a whisk as you add mustard, and rice vineger one at at time. Add the olive oil in drops and keep whisking to emulsify the dressing. After you’ve added the fist Tablespoon of oil, you can add more at a time. Season with tamari and salt to taste. Chill the dressing in a tightly covered container.
Frying the Tofu:
- 1/4 cup potato starch, or cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil for pan-frying
Remove the tofu slices from the marinade and use paper towels to wipe it off completely. In a flat-bottomed container, dredge the tofu slices in the potato starch, patting the slices to remove excess starch. Heat a skillet over high heat, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu slices, and cook them over medium heat turning them only once. Resist the urge to keep fussing with them with your spatula; the tofu will stick to the bottom for a while but when they are browned they flip over very easily. Remove from skillet to a plate for 5 minutes. Cut the tofu into 1/2″ strips.
- mixed salad greens for 4 people
Toss the miso salad dressing with the greens. Arrange the greens on serving plates and top with the fried tofu. I briefly cooked some asparagus spears, chilled them, and tossed them with the dressing as well. They were very pretty arranged between the tofu slices.
In my project book, Ms. Shimbo includes some deep-fried vegetables to be served with this salad. Because I was cooking for my own lonely self, I did not do this part of the recipe but will post the option for you here:
- 1/4 kabocha, seeded but not peeled, preferably, or 1 small sweet potato
- 1 medium lotus root, preferably, or 2 small potatoes
- 1 medium carrot
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
Cut the kabocha in half crosswise, then cut each half into thin lengthwise slices. Cut the lotus root and carrot into thin circles. In a large wok, heat 3″ of vegetable oil to 320°F. Add the vegetables to the oil in small batches. Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined rack. You can do this up to 3 hours ahead of time. Increase oil temeperature to 360°F. Fry the vegetables again for 30 to 60 seconds to crisp them. Drain. Sprinkle with salt while they are hot. Serve the chips on top of the salad.
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