Simmered Spinach and Fried Tofu

Horenso to Atsuage no Nibitashi

Greens! Mr. Tess loves greens and I’ve not been cooking them lately. This home-style Japanese recipe is a fine way to prepare a hearty healthy green side dish. Ms. Shimbo suggests using mustard greens rather than the more common spinach, and it certainly provides more flavor and texture. I think rainbow colored chard would be interesting to try as well.

Greens simmered with tofu

Simmered Spinach and Fried Tofu
Horenso to Atsuage no Nibitashi
serves two
page 259

  • Japanese Greens simmered with tofu1 atsuage (fried tofu)
    • or 2 abura-age (fried thin tofu sheets)
      or shelled clams, or crisp, cooked bacon
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    • This seemed like too much oil!
  • 14 ounces (1 large bunch) spinach
    • or mustard greens—remove the thick tough stalks and veins
  • 1 1/2 cups dashi (Japanese fish stock)
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 1 Tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Sichimi togarashi (seven-spice powder)

If you are using atsuage, cut it in half horizontally, making 2 thin rectangular slices. In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil, and cook the fried tofu, turning it once, until both sides are golden. Press with paper towels to remove excess oil. I sliced the atsuage into strips after frying it because it’s easier to eat smaller pieces of food.
If you are using abura-age, rinse it with boiling water. Dry and cut it into 1/4″ wide crosswise strips.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spinach for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Drain, and cut it into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.
Shortly before serving time, put the dashi, mirin, shoyu, and salt into a medium pot, and place the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and add the fried tofu. Bring the liquid to a boil again and cook for 2 minutes, until the tofu is heated through.
Add the spinach, and bring the mixture to a boil again.
Remove the pot from the heat. Serve the dish hot, sprinkled with seven-spice powder.

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