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Green Bean Shiraae (Mashed Tofu Salad) いんげんの白和え

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     Shiraae or Mashed Tofu Salad is a classic Japanese dish made of tender green beans, creamy tofu, nutty sesame seeds, and savory miso. This vegan-friendly salad is super easy to make and can be on your dinner table in no time!

    Green bean shiraae in a Japanese ceramic.

    From pickled vegetables, western-style fresh salad to steamed vegetables, you can always find a colorful variety of vegetable side dishes in Japanese home cooking. They provide freshness and nutrients to a complete meal. Today I’ll show you how to make Shiraae (白和え) – a blanched vegetable dressed with flavorful mashed tofu. Refreshing and full of flavor, it’s a vegetable side that I personally make a lot year-round.

    What is Shiraae?

    Shiraae (白和え), pronounced [shi-ra-ah-eh], is a vegetable side dish with a mixture of mashed tofu, toasted sesame seeds, miso and a touch of sugar. Green vegetables such as green beans and spinach are blanched and seasoned with soy sauce before combined with the tofu mixture.

    It is one of the signature dishes from Shojin Ryori (精進料理), Japanese Zen Buddhist vegetarian/vegan cuisine. The tofu provides all the protein you’d need while the greens add freshness, color, and texture. Therefore, this dish is a vegan-friendly dish that everyone can enjoy.

    Besides green beans and spinach, you can use thin strips of asparagus or any seasonal vegetables you have. To keep things fresh, colorful, and fun, I sometimes make Shiraae in a combination of spinach, julienned carrot, konnyaku, and hijiki seaweed. For a more complex flavor, you can also flavor the dish with dashi and mirin.

    Green bean shiraae in black ceramic bowls.

    5 Tips to Make That Creamy Tofu Dressing for Shiraae

    The tofu dressing is made of 5 ingredients: tofu, sesame seeds, miso, soy sauce, and sugar. And a bit of salt to taste.

    1. Drain tofu

    It’s tricky how much you should drain your tofu, but you can always make the adjustment each time.

    You do not want to dilute your dressing with excess water from the tofu. At the same time, you do not want to remove the water completely as moist tofu adds tender texture to the dish.

    To find the balance, I usually drain for 15-30 minutes. If I want to shorten to 15 minutes, I would put something heavy on top of the tofu to facilitate the draining process. If I have 30 minutes, I would not put any weight and let it drain naturally.

    2. Toast the sesame seeds

    Yes, most of the sesame seeds sold in packages are already toasted. However, you can toast it again in the frying pan to bring out the more fragrance.

    3. Use white miso

    For the creamy tofu dressing, I like to use White Miso (Shiro Miso 白味噌) because the color and sweet flavor complement the mixture. Here’s one from Hikari Miso® Organic White Miso that I used in this recipe.

    Hikari Miso® Organic White Miso

    Hikari Miso has been my go-to miso for over a decade. You can find Hikari Miso® products in your local Japanese grocery stores and Asian markets.

    4. Mash the tofu till smooth and creamy

    Unless you prefer a chunky tofu texture, I recommend to smooth out the mixture until silky. When chilled, the mashed tofu gives a nice refreshing taste and it’s delicious!

    5. Season the vegetables with soy sauce before mixing

    Be sure to season the blanched vegetables with soy sauce first. This way, you can shake off any excess liquid before adding them to the tofu mixture.

    Green bean shiraae in a Japanese suribachi.

    Great Kitchen Tools for Mashed Tofu Salad

    If you like to make this mashed tofu salad regularly, it’s worth getting a set of Japanese-style mortar and pestle, called the Suribachi (すり鉢) and Surikogi (すりこぎ). The inside of the ceramic suribachi is combed to create spirals of fine, jagged grooves that efficiently mix, grind and mash ingredients with a wooden surikogi.

    Since the ceramic bowl has a beautiful rustic look, you could serve directly at the table. Planning to get one yourself? My recommendation is to go with a bigger Suribachi. Not only it can be used as a serving dish, but it also makes grinding a lot easier. With a bigger bowl, you don’t have to worry about spilling ingredients from the side.

    You can find suribachi and surikogi online on Amazon or MTC Kitchen.

    Green bean shiraae in colorful Japanese ceramic plates.

    More Side Dishes Similar to Shiraae (Mashed Tofu Salad)

    Looking for more vegan-friendly side dishes? Here are some of our favorites!

    Green bean shiraae in a Japanese ceramic.
    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.6 from 22 votes
    Green bean shiraae in a Japanese ceramic.
    Green Bean Shiraae (Mashed Tofu Salad)
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    5 mins
    Draining Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    30 mins

    Shiraae or Mashed Tofu Salad is a classic Japanese dish made of tender green beans, creamy tofu, sesame seeds, and savory miso. This vegan-friendly salad is super easy to make and can be on your dinner table in no time!

    Course: Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: green bean, tofu
    Servings: 2
    Author: Namiko Chen
    1. Gather all the ingredients. To store the leftover tofu, keep it in an airtight container and pour water until it covers the tofu. Keep in the refrigerator (change the water every day) and use it within a few days.

      Green Bean Shiraae Ingredients
    To Prepare Tofu
    1. Do not skip this step. You don’t want to drain the water from tofu completely, but it’s important to remove some moisture so the dressing doesn’t get too wet. Wrap the tofu with paper towels.

      Green Bean Shiraae 1
    2. Put the wrapped tofu on a tray or plate. Add another tray or plate on top of the tofu and put a heavy object on top to facilitate draining. Set aside for 30 minutes.
      Green Bean Shiraae 2
    To Prepare Green Beans
    1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Tear off the ends of green beans.

      Green Bean Shiraae 3
    2. Boil green beans until crisp-tender (please don’t overcook).

      Green Bean Shiraae 4
    3. Drain well and set aside.
      Green Bean Shiraae 5
    4. Cut the green beans diagonally into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces.

      Green Bean Shiraae 6
    5. Pour the soy sauce and toss together. Set aside for later.

      Green Bean Shiraae 7
    To Prepare Sesame Seeds
    1. Toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan, shaking the pan frequently, until they are fragrant and started to pop. Transfer to a Japanese mortar (suribachi).

      Green Bean Shiraae 8
    2. Grind sesame seeds with a pestle (surikogi).

      Green Bean Shiraae 9
    To Make Tofu Dressing
    1. Add sugar and miso.
      Green Bean Shiraae 10
    2. Mix well until sugar and miso are incorporated into the ground sesame seeds.
      Green Bean Shiraae 11
    3. Remove tofu from the paper towel. Break it into pieces with your hands and add to the sesame seed mixture.

      Green Bean Shiraae 12
    4. Using a pestle, mash and grind the tofu until smooth or to your liking.
      Green Bean Shiraae 13
    5. It’s important to taste the tofu and season with salt to taste. It should not be bland. Green beans will be added, so the tofu dressing should have good flavor at this stage.
      Green Bean Shiraae 14
    6. Mix all together until smooth.
      Green Bean Shiraae 15
    To Assemble
    1. Be sure to shake off any excess soy sauce from the green beans first. Any liquid from the soy sauce will only dilute the dressing. Then add the seasoned green beans to the tofu dressing. Combine well.

      Green Bean Shiraae 16
    2. Once combined, you can chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving, or serve immediately.

      Green Bean Shiraae 17
    To Store
    1. You can keep it for 24 hours in the refrigerator; however, I recommend consuming it soon.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 11, 2011. It’s been updated with new images and content in December 2019.


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