Thanksgiving is coming up soon and it’s a happy time as families get together. I’m also spending Thanksgiving with my husband’s family in Taiwan and it’s pretty warm here in Kaohsiung (高雄), Taiwan where I stay. It’s a bit difficult for me to imagine American Thanksgiving and the beauty of autumn at the moment with the A/C blasting all day in 78F (26C) weather.
Here is a light and healthy vegetarian tofu recipe that might come in handy for the next few days after the big Thanksgiving feast – it’s called Hot Tofu (Yudofu 湯豆腐).
This dish is unbelievably easy and the only ingredients you need are just dashi kombu and tofu. I’ve seen dashi kombu in the Japanese isle of typical Asian markets so hopefully you are able to find it easily. If you don’t have an Asian market nearby, you can order online as well.
Basically the idea is to make stock using dashi kombu, and then throw some tofu in. Yes, that’s it! Of course you are welcome to add any vegetables to add extra nutrition and color; however, today I kept it simple by adding Japanese herbs called Mitsuba to enjoy the simple flavor of tofu. It would be the best if you can purchase fresh tofu or make your own tofu!
How do you eat it? There are many sauces that go well with warm tofu. You can use soy sauce, ponzu, sesame sauce, or sauce made with miso. Today I made a special soy sauce-base sauce with bonito flakes (katsuobushi) to add more dashi flavor instead of just soy sauce (this sauce is not vegetarian). I also sprinkle scallions and shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 flavor chili pepper).
- 1 Momen Tofu (in the US it’s called “regular” tofu, which is between silken and firm)
- Mitsuba or any green vegetable you like for color
- About 2 inch Dashi Kombu
- 1 Tbsp. sake
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Gently clean the dashi kombu with a damp cloth (DO NOT WASH) but leave the white powdery substances which contribute to the umami flavor in the stock.
- In donabe (Japanese clay pot), put dashi kombu and pour water till 70% full. Let the kombu soak for 1-2 hours. Or you can soak the kombu while cooking on the lowest heat for 15 minutes if you are in a hurry.
- Meanwhile, make sauce. Put sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan.
- When boiling, add bonito flakes (katsuobushi).
- Mix well with chopsticks and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the sauce into a small serving dish. You don’t have to strain; it’s okay if some bonito flakes go into the sauce.
- These leftover bonito flakes have nice flavor and you can use it as filling for Okaka Onigiri.
- When the kombu dashi stock is ready (after 1-2 hours), bring the stock to a boil on medium high heat. Once boiling, add sake and salt.
- When boiling again, cut the tofu to any size you like (a whole tofu, halves, 6 pieces, etc) and put it in the kombu dashi stock.
- When tofu is heated through, add mitsuba. If you plan to use other vegetables, make sure are they cooked thoroughly.
- Serve with the sauce and toppings of your choice while the tofu is hot.
Be careful… Don’t burn your tongue!