For over a thousand years, especially after the introduction of Buddhism in Japan, due to the general Buddhist precept of ahimsa (Sanskrit, to do no harm), it was illegal to eat animal meat in Japan. With this in mind, Japanese created tasty vegetarian dishes. Shōjin ryōri 精進料理 / ’devotion cuisine’ or ‘temple food’ is probably the healthiest food there is. Konbu / kelp and mushroom dashi stocks are used for this style of cuisine. To have a balanced meal with protein, tofu is an essential ingredient. The simplest tofu dish is yudofu / hot-tofu. This dish can be as simple as boiled tofu or you may add vegetables such as Napa cabbage, daikon / radish, leek or aromatic green herbs/leaves such as mitsuba, as shown below.
Hot-Tofu • Yudofu • 湯豆腐
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
When making large quantities of yudofu, a donabe/clay pot is used to retain heat while dining (above photo). It may also be cooked in a pot, especially small amounts.
• 5 cm/ 2″ square dashi konbu/dried kelp
• 200g/ 7 oz/ ½ package regular tofu cut in 4 or 6 pieces
• 2 Tbsp soy sauce – low sodium
• 2 Tbsp mirin (Mizkan honteri non-alcoholic mirin)
• 1 Tbsp dashi or water (dashi can be taken from dashi made in the saucepan**)
• 2 Tbsp bonito-flakes (optional)
A — In small saucepan, mix top 4 ingredients and warm (or microwave warm in a bowl)
B — In small saucepan, mix all ingredients and simmer. Don’t boil. Stir and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Strain out flakes. (This stage of bonito flakes is called okaka, usually eaten with rice, such as rice-balls)
• ¼ cup puréed daikon (pulps spooned/strained out of liquid)
• 1 Tbsp grated ginger
• 1 stem spring onion, ultra-thinly sliced
• 1 small packet of katsuobushi/bonito-flakes (this will be pescetarian not vegan)
◊ If kelp has too much whitish powder on it, do not wash and briefly wipe off excess powder with dry paper towel.
◊ **Fill small~medium saucepan half-way with water and add kelp. Put on low-heat and warm water for 15~20 minutes.
◊ Increase heat and bring water to a boil. Add tofu pieces (and vegetables, if desired). Cook on medium heat until tofu is well-heated and vegetables are wilted. Serve warm.
How to eat
Scoop pieces of well-heated tofu into a small deep dish, top with topping-of-choice (or all) and pour 2 Tbsp sauce over toppings.
~ どうぞめしあがれ • Douzo Meshiagare! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?