Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens 油揚げと青菜の煮浸し

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  • This Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens is a great side dish to keep handy in the refrigerator as a part of your meal prep. Make ahead and let it soak up the delicious dashi broth for additional flavors.

    A white Japanese ceramic bowl containing Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens.

    When it comes to meal planning, especially a Japanese style Ichiju Sansai (one soup three dishes) setup, I admit that I’m guilty of giving most of my attention on the main. I realize it shouldn’t be that way!

    A fresh-tasting vegetable side like this Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens (油揚げと青菜の煮浸し) is sometimes the best part of the meals! Not only it contributes to the overall nutrients but it also goes well with many Japanese and Asian meals.

    Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

    • Easy and fast to prepare.
    • Simple 5 ingredients!!
    • Can make ahead and serve when you need one more dish to complete your meal
    • Taste better the following day!
    • Versatile with ingredients – I’ll share the substitution ideas below.
    • Healthy and full of nutrients.

    A white Japanese ceramic bowl containing Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens.

    What You’ll Need:

    You’ll need only 5 simple ingredients to make this vegetable side dish:

    1. Aburaage (Japanese deep-fried tofu)
    2. Greens of your choice – Today I used Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)
    3. Dashi
    4. Soy sauce
    5. Salt

    The most important ingredient here is dashi (だし) – Japanese soup stock. If you have never heard of dashi, please read this post where I explain what it is and how you can prepare it – from making all from scratch (takes only 30 minutes!) to using the instant method.

    I don’t recommend substituting dashi with other types of broth. It is what gives the authentic “Japanese” flavor.

    More about the dashi below.

    A pyrex container containing Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens.

    The Key Ingredients and Substitutions

    Let’s talk about the 3 main ingredients and what else you can use as substitutions for this recipe:

    Aburaage (Fried Tofu Pouch)

    Aburaage (Japanese Fried Tofu Pouch) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    The Japanese fried tofu pouch can be hard to find if you don’t live close to a well-stocked Japanese or Asian grocery store. You can use Chinese crispy tofu puffs that are square and fried. It’s pretty close to Aburaage, except for the size and shapes.

    You can also use firm tofu (I still recommend deep-fried tofu over regular tofu as it has more flavors!), fish balls (cut in half), fish cakes, or other protein of your choice.

    For variations, you can also try it with Atsuage (thick fried tofu) or Chikuwa (fish cake with a hole in the middle), or Satsuma Age (fried fish cake, sometimes mixed with seafood or vegetables).

    Greens

    Komatsuna | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    In this recipe, I use Komatsuna, Japanese mustard spinach, which you can find in Japanese grocery stores or local farmers market. However, you can definitely make this dish with different greens such as:

    • Spinach
    • Bok choy
    • Cabbage
    • Napa cabbage
    • Lettuce
    • Mizuna

    Dashi (Japanese Broth)

    5 different types of dashi in a jar and their ingredients.

    I use Awase Dashi, with kombu and katsuobushi in this recipe. That’s my go-to dashi unless I state otherwise.

    For vegan/vegetarian, please use Kombu Dashi (I think Shiitake Dashi is a bit too strong unless you dilute more or combine with Kombu Dashi).

    Dashi is the main flavor in this simmered dish; therefore, I highly recommend making your own dashi or at least use a dashi packet (my favorite brand) to make good, tasty dashi.

    A white Japanese ceramic bowl containing Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens.

    3 Quick Tips Before You Start Cooking

    1. Always add dense ingredients or parts first – When it comes to leafy greens, there are denser (bottom) and leafy parts. Don’t cook them together. The denser parts need a head start before you toss in the leafy greens so they are cooked at the same time.
    2. Simmer gently – Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes (depending on the ingredients).
    3. Let it steep – You can serve the dish immediately, but I highly recommend steeping. Let cool at the counter until it’s at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying it. We reheat it before serving, or serve at room temp or chilled (which I prefer).

    Itadakimasu!

    I would serve this dish with Teriyaki Salmon, Kabocha Miso Soup, brown rice, and some pickles. Have fun making different variations of this versatile side dish!

    A white Japanese ceramic bowl containing Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens.
    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    5 from 2 votes
    A white Japanese ceramic bowl containing Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens.
    Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Chill Time
    3 hrs
    Total Time
    3 hrs 20 mins
     

    This Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens is a great side dish to keep handy in the refrigerator as a part of your meal prep. Make ahead and let it soak up the delicious dashi broth for additional flavors.

    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: aburaage, komatsuna
    Servings: 4 (as a small side)
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens Ingredients
    2. Cut off the bottom of your greens and cut them into 2 inches (5cm) pieces.

      Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens 1
    3. Cut the aburaage into 3/8 inch pieces (1 cm).
      Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens 2
    4. In a medium saucepan, add dashi and aburaage and bring it to a simmer. Once simmering, add soy sauce and salt.

      Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens 3
    5. Mix all together and then add the dense parts (stems) of the greens.

      Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens 4
    6. Mix all together and cook for 1-2 minutes, and then add the tender parts (leaves) of the greens.

      Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens 5
    7. Mix together and simmer on low heat for 3 minutes (depending on the ingredients). Transfer the dish (with cooking liquid) to an airtight container and let cool to steep.

      Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens 6
    To Serve and Store
    1. You can serve right away, but I recommend resting the dish for overnight. You can keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat before serving, or you can serve at room temp or chilled (which I prefer).

      A pyrex container containing Simmered Fried Tofu and Greens.
    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.

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