Oct 13, 2013

Agedashi Tofu with Perfect Rice

Lately I’ve been cooking so many homey meals, Fall meals, spicy Asian meals, Mexican meals, etc that my husband and I felt like we just needed a time out. Japanese food is great for that.

I love making Japanese meals, and don’t do it enough. It takes meals like this to remind us that delicacy and deep flavor are as much a virtue as the intense and hearty qualities we’re used to.

While I can’t attest to the authenticity of this meal, I can say that it is at the very least heavily inspired by my favorite Japanese flavors and ingredients. I may not be super well versed in the culinary traditions of Japan, but I try my very best!

Agedashi Tofu 
Adapted from Agedashi Tofu from Just One Cookbook
  • 1 cup vegetarian dashi (Azeliaskitchen.net has this great post full of vegetarian dashi. I’m partial to Shiitake Dashi.)
  • 1 nickle sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
1. Cut your tofu into 8 equal pieces. Sprinkle the tofu pieces with salt and dredge them in the rice flour. Set aside.
2. In a heavy bottomed skillet heat your oil over medium heat to about 350 degrees.
3. While your oil is heating combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Cover the pan to keep the sauce warm until serving.
4. When the oil is ready pan fry the tofu until golden brown on all sides.
5. Remove the ginger from the sauce and divide the tofu between 4 bowls (2 tofus per bowl). Pour an even amount of the warmed sauce over the tofu in each bowl, about 1/4 cup each. Top with the grated celery, sliced scallion and a generous sprinkle furikake. 
6. Serve with a hearty serving of cooked greens and rice.

Do you want to know the secret to perfect great tasting rice? According to my experiences and The Internet there are 3 key components to rice perfection:

1. Quality rice. Organic rice makes a difference, you guys. It just does. If you eat rice often, you will notice!
2. Rinsing. Rinse, rinse, rinse your rice! Rinsing rice removes starch, dust and any other impurities. The result is a cleaner tasting rice.
3. Resting after rinsing. I don’t know why, but you just need to do it. Place the rinsed rice in a fine colander and let it rest for about 30 minutes before cooking normally.

UmamiMart.com has an awesome tutorial on rice preparation that explains the whole process in greater detail!

Things to note:
  1. Soaking is an extra bonus step to amazing rice. In my opinion, a thorough rinse is enough, but a lot of people insist on soaking. Try both!
  2. My go-to rice is a 1-1 combination of medium grain white and brown rice. This combo cooks up perfectly on the Regular setting in my fuzzy logic rice cooker.

Just to ensure that we didn’t feel too healthy, we each had a piece of mochi for dessert! I question the authenticity of peanut mochi, but this was the only one we could find that was vegan and lacked artificial coloring. We both approve!