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Japanese Chilled Tofu (Hiyayakko Recipe) 冷奴

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    Hiyayakko or Japanese Chilled Tofu is a perfect appetizer or side dish that you can whip up instantly! You’ll love how smooth and silky it tastes. For many fun variations, feel free to switch up the toppings. Serve the tofu on a hot summer day and enjoy it with a cold beer. 

    Hiyayakko (Japanese Chilled Tofu) on a blue plate.

    Hiyayakko (冷奴) is Japanese chilled tofu that is served as an appetizer or side dish. The smooth silky and creamy texture of the tofu helps to cool the body and makes a delightful respite on a sweltering day. It’s a popular dish to serve in the summertime along with Edamame. I remember my grandpa always started his summer meal with a glass of cold beer next to these two dishes.

    Hiyayakko (Japanese Chilled Tofu) on a blue plate.

    How to Enjoy Hiyayakko

    To make Hiyayakko, we use silken tofu which has a creamier and velvety texture compared to regular tofu. Silken tofu also contains a lot more liquid, so you need to drain the tofu for 10-15 minutes prior to serving. Before you bring it to the table, have a quick check at the dish. If you see any water being released from the tofu, gently tilt the serving plate and discard the water.

    We usually top the chilled tofu with katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), green onions, and grated ginger. For a vegan or vegetarian version, you can definitely skip katsuobushi and top with tomatoes or other vegetables.

    Right before you eat, you would drizzle a little bit of soy sauce, Ponzu, or Mentsuyu (noodle soup base) over the tofu.

    Hiyayakko (Japanese Chilled Tofu) on a blue plate.

    Have Fun With Various Toppings!

    Hiyayakko is very versatile and you can be creative with the toppings and seasonings. As the chilled tofu is mild in taste, it complements an amazing range of flavors and textures. A touch of sweet, salty, tangy or spiciness can add so much zing to a simple dish. I also like putting Kimchi on my Hiyayakko too. It’s simple and quick – another delicious tofu recipe to add to your arsenal!

    Hiyayakko topping on a plate.

    Hiyayakko on plates.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.63 from 16 votes
    Hiyayakko (Japanese Chilled Tofu) on a blue plate.
    Hiyayakko (Japanese Chilled Tofu)
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Total Time
    5 mins

    Hiyayakko is a Japanese chilled tofu appetizer and it’s usually served during the summertime.

    Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: tofu
    Servings: 4
    Author: Namiko Chen
    1. Drain the tofu for 10-15 minutes by wrapping a paper towel around or over a flat bamboo sieve. You do not need to press the tofu in this recipe as you don't want to retain some moisture in the tofu. Be gentle when handling since silken tofu is more fragile. Once the liquid is drained, cut it into 4-6 pieces.

    2. Put each piece of tofu on a serving dish. Top the tofu with your favorite toppings. Before you bring it to the table, have a quick check at the dish. If you see any water being released from the tofu, gently tilt the serving plate and discard the water.

    3. Drizzle soy sauce or other sauce of your choice right before you enjoy.

    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Update: This post was originally published on August 17, 2019. The photos and recipe were updated in November 2013. The content was updated in September 2019.

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