See how the vegetables garnished around the tofu steak add appetizing colors… white from the hamburger steak, black from the shiitake, red from the carrot, green from the snap peas, and yellow from the pumpkin (photo did not do the yellow color justice). For many centuries, ‘five colors’ have been essential components in ‘washoku’, the Japanese cooking. Five colors together in one dish is a distinctive rule in washoku. Eye-appeal is always taken very seriously. Being conscious of using these five colors also creates a nutritional balance. The colors also stimulate the appetite.
“Five” is a key number when it comes to washoku. There are many rules that emphasize ‘five’. What comes along with ‘five colors’ is ‘five’ tastes’… senses of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and also, umami from soy sauce. If a meal has five tastes, we can enjoy it to its fullest without getting bored with the taste. Also, pay attention to the five cooking methods: grilling, simmering, frying, steaming, and serving raw. By taking these five methods into account, pleasurable differences can be enjoyed in texture and temperature. Utilizing ‘five’ rules, a beautiful meal with various textures and flavors in nutritional balance can be created …. five tastes, five colors, and five cooking methods. That’s the key to successfully mastering Japanese cooking.
This is a healthy variation of the Japanese western-style standard, made with tofu and low-fat ground chicken instead of beef or pork. By steam-frying these hamburger steaks in a frying pan, they’ll come out nicely light and juicy. The sauce, puréed daikon radish and ponzu  gives them a deliciously light, clean flavor. For sides, using the ‘five color’ concept makes for a beautifully colorful spread, perfect for spring!
Tofu & Chicken Hamburger Stake • 豆腐 と 鶏肉 の ハンバーグ ステーキ-
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com), inspired by Chef T. Saito
• 300 g/ 1 block firm or extra firm tofu
• 340 g/ 12 oz ground, lean chicken
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• 120 g/ ½ medium onion, finely minced
• 3 Tbsp panko/Japanese bread crumbs
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 ~ 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 300 g/ 11 oz daikon radish
• 7 fl oz ponzu 
 How to make homemade ponzu for this recipe
• 3½ Tbsp dashi or water
• 3½ Tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1 Tbsp mirin (Takara honteri non-alcoholic mirin)
• 4 Tbsp soy sauce
◊ To press the moisture out of the tofu, cut the tofu in half, laterally. Place the pieces flat on a cutting board lined with paper towel. Place another paper towel over them and place another cutting board on top. Place weight, such as a large bowl filled with water on the top cutting board. Set aside for 30 minutes. (Approximately ½ ~ ¾ cup of liquid is released.)
◊ In a bowl, add ground chicken, salt, pepper, and knead thoroughly. Crumble up the tofu in the bowl and continue kneading. Add panko and knead. Add beaten egg and knead. Then add minced onion and knead thoroughly.
◊ Divide the meat mixture into 6 parts. Between your palms, roll each segment tightly into a ball and then form into oblong patties. Make a small dent in the middle of each patty and place on a greased tray.
◊ Add oil to a large fry-pan (that has a lid) and preheat on medium. Add the patties. Fry them until the bottoms brown. Flip the patties, cover the fry-pan, and reduce heat to a tad lower than medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes until patties have cooked through.
◊ To make the daikon sauce: Purée the daikon radish, drain excess daikon liquid, and add ponzu. Pour over the hamburger steaks when serving.
◊ Sides served here to complete the 5 colors: Shiitake mushrooms briefly fried in butter, sugar snap peas blanched in salted boiling water and shocked, oblique cut (らんぎり/ran-giri) carrot glace, and kabocha squash peeled, cut, boiled, drained, mashed and seasoned.
~ どうぞめしあがれ • Douzo Meshiagare ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?